The Strength card signifies mental, physical, and emotional power over trying circumstances. It frequently appears as a comforting omen when the querent feels as though they are being buffeted by the vicissitudes of life and need the inner resources to confront the trials set before them.
These trials may take the form of an illness, hostility from others, or perhaps even the querent's idiosyncratic foibles. Whatever difficulty Strength represents in a reading, it is a call to action to fortify one's personal reserves and meet challenges with courage and integrity.
Strength is numbered 8 in the Major Arcana and, in accordance with Kabbalistic principles, the number 8 is the number of miracles and transcending the limitations of the physical world. The number 8 also bears a striking similarity to the occult symbol of the moebius which represents the interminable flow of the universe and the transmutation of energy from one form to another. From these observations, we can understand that the Strength card signifies that the querent is being urged to loose themselves from the fetters of their present limitations by using the firm knowledge that they have the ability to be more than what they currently are.
The Strength card is associated with the sign of Leo which is ruled by the sun in astrology. The sun governs personal vitality, ego, and reputation. The sign of Leo rules the fifth house of the zodiac wheel which encompasses creative talents, romance, children, theatre, and artistic endeavours. These associations cement the principle that the Strength card symbolises transcending current constraints through the astute use of one's personal resources and ingenuity.
In the Rider Waite deck a female figure dressed in white is shown taming a lion. The Lion represents ego, pride, vanity and brute force, while the colour white symbolises moral purity and integrity of character. Through this imagery we can understand that by being upstanding and virtuous, a number of pitfalls can be overcome. The archetypes of the lion and the virtuous individual remaining unharmed by the lion is one that has recurred throughout history in various cultural mythologies. Androcles in Greek mythology and Daniel in the Old Testament are two notable examples, demonstrating that purity of character will protect one from the most savage circumstances. In energetic terms this is also true as it is said that the more morally upright and loving a person is, the less that strife and violence in their outer reality will be able to affect them, or even arise in the first place.
In a love reading the Strength card can represent that a person of interest is a difficult creature to tame and that the querent is continually having to "be the bigger person" and use gentle but subversive tactics to entice them. More negatively, the Strength card can be indicative of a person of interest who has a bloated ego and expects the other partner to put all the effort into the relationship. In its most positive aspect, the Strength card can show that the querent will win over the object of their affections because of the purity of their character, and that their moral integrity will induce their love interest to lower their guard and be receptive to love.
In a work or career reading Strength signifies persistence and extinguishing one's inner critic to reach goals. It does not foretell guaranteed success but that the querent will battle any obstacles to the best of their ability and will draw on personal reserves to do so. In a negative context, the Strength card can foretell physical and emotional burnout because of a heavy work load.
Timing: Timing is dependent on card position within a spread but the period governing Leo may be pertinent.
Major Arcana: Card 8
Planetary Influence: Leo, 5th house of astrological wheel
Positive Aspects: inner resources, taming one's darker side, persistence, moral purity, integrity, courage, breaking personal limitations
Negative Aspects: manipulation, physical burnout, failing health, one-sided effort in a relationship