8:   Strength

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The Strength tarot card
BOTA (Builders of the Adytum)
The Strength tarot card
Universal Waite

1.   Inner strength (strength of character; strength of convictions; self control).

2.   The taming of someone's "animal nature."

3.   Patience.

4.   Unconditional love; love that conquers hate.


The Chariot wields power over others - Strength has to do with power over oneself.

This card may be saying, "Remember that willpower you have? Maybe it's time to start using it."

The Strength card encourages you to discern between self-interest and enlightened wisdom.

Above her head is a lemniscate, the symbol of infinity. &nbap; The lemniscate also shows up in the Magician and the Two of Pentacles.

The illustration in some early decks pictured Hercules.   The first labor of Hercules involved the Nemean lion.

In some early decks, Strength was key #11 and Justice was key #8.

By way of imagery: Notice that (in the Universal Waite illustration) she seems to be trying to keep the lion's mouth shut.   Perhaps the lion represents one's tendency to say the wrong things, and Strength gives one the ability to remain silent.

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Here's what Arthur Edward Waite says about this card (in The Pictorial Key to the Tarot):

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.