(The above image is a copy of The Strength card in a standard Rider-Waite Tarot deck. The 5 symbols pointed out above are explained below.)
The Strength card illustrates exactly what you might think, strength. In the card, a woman and a lion stand at peace in the middle of a field. Strength doesn't come from one figure over another but rather strength comes from the harmony between the two figures.
For more information about The Strength card, check out A. E. Waite’s description here.
Point 1 – WOMAN IN WHITE
The woman in white is a representation of strength and purity. She commands the wild beast, not by force, but by wisdom. The woman appears to be a reiteration of The Empress, though without royal authority. She walks among the natural world, relying on her intelligence to keep her safe.
Point 2 – RED LION
While the woman is composure, the red lion is raw passion. He is wild and ferocious, only tamable by the woman’s steady hand. The lion’s head is on the woman’s lap, suggesting sexual energy. The red lion is an ancient symbol for the element of fire and as a manifestation of the will.
Point 3 – THE BACKS OF THE TWO FIGURES
The position of the two figures illustrate the harmony of opposites found in most of the Tarot cards. The woman is bent downward while the lion is bent upward. Together, they form the yin and yang symbol. The woman’s intellect is balanced by the lion’s passion; that is why they can exist without violence. Together, they are the lovers, the sphinxes, and Boaz/Jachin.
Point 4 – INFINITY
Above the woman’s head is an infinity symbol. This is an immediate call back to The Magician. Instead of using the holiness granted by the infinity to make things happen, like The Magician does, the woman in white uses it to prevent things from happening, namely violence from the red lion.
Point 5 – TAROT NUMBER
In the world of Tarot, some say that The Strength card is number 8 while others say it is number 11, switching with The Justice card. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn first suggested that the card should be numbered 8 in order to correspond to the zodiac sign Leo, represented by the red lion. This blog uses the Rider-Waite deck as its standard, so we have placed it as number 8.
An Upright Strength, naturally, represents strength. The type of strength however differs from some of the other tarot card interpretations. While The Chariot or The Emperor illustrates outer strength, this card illustrates inner strength. The power comes from within you. It comes from your patience, your wisdom, your ability to talk things outs. Be confidence in the steel trap you call a mind.
An Upright Strength can also signal you to control your passions. Like the woman in the card, tame the animal urges within you. Do not give into anger or guilt. Have your head up high and remain composed in all situations.
A Reverse Strength represents an imbalance. Perhaps your inner strength is clouded by over confidence or arrogance. Take a moment and reexamine your motives. Asks friends for their opinion and readjust. A Reverse Strength can also illustrate a lack of self-confidence. Meditate on your previous experience and self-actualize your psyche. Be kind to yourself and seek out encouragement from friends.
For more Tarot Card Meanings, check out our blog here.
About the author: John Taylor is a content writer and freelancer through the company Upwork.com. You may view his freelancing profile here. He has a B. A. in English, with a specialty in technical writing, from Texas A&M University and a M. A. in English from the University of Glasgow. You may view his previous articles about Tarot here and his LinkedIn profile here.