I love going to the circus. Even now when I'm an adult, I love watching the daring, brave, and strong performers follow through on amazing stunts. Only once did I ever see a lion tamer. She commanded the lions with nerves of steel. Never once did she give off the feeling that she was frightened. Surprisingly, she never assumed the role of a hard, cruel taskmaster – while she was undoubtedly in control every second of the performance, she had found a sort of kindred energy with the lions. The whole audience knew that if she were to suddenly become frightened or show hesitation that the lions would take advantage of it, but she never faltered. She simply directed the lions, told them where to go and what should be done, and even gave them a treat or two. This is the energy of the Strength card.
The card shows a woman all in white, with a flowery crown on her head and belt on her waist. At her feet is a lion, just as fierce as any. The woman has her hand resting gently yet firmly against the lion's head, and another hand at his mouth. The woman is opening the lion's mouth. Not prying it open, not forcing... just opening it, as easily as she would open her own mouth. Her face holds a look of compassion.
The Strength stands for, unsurprisingly, strength. It can mean physical strength, of course, but it more often refers to internal strength. Strength of mind, strength of will, strength of spirit. Determination and courage can outdo muscle strength any day of the week.
There is a deeper, more intricate layer of meaning in the Strength card that can be hard to define. When the woman on the card opens the lion's mouth, she does it with a control that is more like guidance than force. This is the type of control we need to seek in our own lives, and the Strength card insists we pursue it. Control that is not forced, not pushed, but eased into. Closer to persuasion than control.
This card will also ask of you a sense of understanding and empathy. If you watch a lion tamer talk, they will always emphasis how important it is to understand the power and potential danger when dealing with lions. They also will casually note that they are “big kitties”, and that they love the animals. These tamers honor the creatures they work with, and honor can only be attained through understanding. That is something that the Strength card may ask you to seek.
Questions to ask yourself when pulling this card: How strong are you on the inside? What can you do to foster your strength and determination? Do you consider yourself to be a solid, composed person? Can you welcome an empathetic attitude into your life?
Strength is a very unique card – there are few others that can really be compared to it. The Chariot card shows strength of will and determination, much like the Strength card, but it does not convey that specific form of persuasion rather than brute force. The Nine of Wands is another card that Strength can work alongside well – the Nine fosters a determined state, but focuses more on endurance and perseverance.