Strength Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretations
Just over 100 years ago Tarot went through a revolutionary change with the publication of the Rider Waite Smith (RWS) tarot deck. Up until this point Tarot had followed a structure and format based on the Marseilles Tarot. The cards in the Minor Arcana had no pictures and were closer to playing cards with pips than to the fully illustrated deck of cards that the RWS deck introduced. In addition to this radical evolution Waite and Smith also swapped the positions of two of the Major Arcana cards. Prior to the RWS deck Strength was card 11 and card 8 was Justice.
The majority of modern Tarot decks have continued with this altered numbering in the Major Arcana even though the reason Waite gave, which you can read below, was "for reasons that satisfy myself" which doesn't give much insight as to why it was so important to him or Pamela Smith. Tarot has a well ordered structure based on the foundations of the classical elements and numerology. The 8th card of the Major Arcana, according to the symbology of numerology, should have a meaning and interpretation of power and control. For this reason Strength is numerologically better suited to position 8 than Justice. In addition to this Justice as card 11, which reduces to 2 in numerology (1+1=2), links it directly to Judgement which is card 20 and also reduces to 2 (2+0=2). Therefore swapping these cards corrected and improved the overall structure of Tarot significantly.
As with all the cards in Tarot's Major Arcana Strength represents the mastery of the elements in combination with the numerology. It's worth reviewing the cards numbered 8 in the Minor Arcana to understand what it is this card has mastered. The common traits of the number 8 are ambition, discipline, practicality, being realistic and in control. Tarot's Strength card is mental strength (Swords, air and intellectual challenges), emotional strength (Cups, water and emotional issues and needs), physical and/or financial strength (Pentacles, earth and the material including health) and strength of resolve and ambition (Wands, fire and energy).
In the RWS deck the woman depicted in Strength has an infinity symbol placed like a halo above her head. This will be to remind us that the number 8 is an upright infinity symbol and that the laws of karma apply. Any action will have an equal and opposite reaction as the closed looped always returns. She is depicted as using gentle force to open the mouth of the lion. When you are in a position of strength over another remember to treat them as you would want to be treated yourself.
Strength is the card of physical well being, strength of will and controlling the inner beast. Mankind's dominance over the animal kingdom through the use of his superior intellectual strength. Impulsive animal instincts need to be controlled with strength of mind and will. In a very simple interpretation it can represent a pet or animal. Good physical health is a common theme with this card, it often represents good health if health is of concern and a focus in a reading. Surrounding cards will indicate if this health is at risk or how it can be achieved.
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THE PICTORIAL KEY TO THE TAROT
By Arthur Edward Waite (1911)
A woman, over whose head there broods the same symbol of life which we have seen in the card of the Magician, is closing the jaws of a lion. The only point in which this design differs from the conventional presentations is that her beneficent fortitude has already subdued the lion, which is being led by a chain of flowers. For reasons which satisfy myself, this card has been interchanged with that of justice, which is usually numbered eight. As the variation carries nothing with it which will signify to the reader, there is no cause for explanation. Fortitude, in one of its most exalted aspects, is connected with the Divine Mystery of Union; the virtue, of course, operates in all planes, and hence draws on all in its symbolism. It connects also with innocentia inviolata, and with the strength which resides in contemplation.
These higher meanings are, however, matters of inference, and I do not suggest that they are transparent on the surface of the card. They are intimated in a concealed manner by the chain of flowers, which signifies, among many other things, the sweet yoke and the light burden of Divine Law, when it has been taken into the heart of hearts. The card has nothing to do with self-confidence in the ordinary sense, though this has been suggested--but it concerns the confidence of those whose strength is God, who have found their refuge in Him. There is one aspect in which the lion signifies the passions, and she who is called Strength is the higher nature in its liberation. It has walked upon the asp and the basilisk and has trodden down the lion and the dragon.
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© Phuture Me Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.