In some decks, Strength is number eleven, switching places with Justice. However, this change doesn’t effect the meaning and my deck places Strength as the eighth card of the Major Arcana. Eights represent infinity because they resemble the sideways symbol for infinity. In fact, most Strength cards will have the lemniscate symbol included in the artwork.
- Symbolism: Determination
- Element: Fire (see Tarot Elements)
What I See:
I definitely get a sense of courage looking at this card. Not everyone has the guts to embrace a cougar — figuratively or literally. Yet I also get a feeling of quiet strength. Some of the strongest people I know are the ones made so by hardship or adversity. I see a balanced woman who has integrated all aspects of herself, and is at peace. And it’s a warm card, Fire element, with its bright yellows making me think of a spring/summer day. I’m reminded to be passionate, spontaneous, and creative.
Light (upright) Reading:
Embrace the wilder, more instinctive, side.
- Keywords: Self-Confidence, Patience, Inner Strength, and Courage.
Shadow (upside down or reverse) Reading:
Beware that anxieties don’t take over the situation.
- Keywords: Despotism, Vanity, Arrogance, and Insolence.
There a number of stories you could retell from Daniel in the Lion’s Den to Beauty and the Beast. How about wildlife conservation? A lion tamer/circus. Leader of the pack. This card definitely gives me a shapeshifter vibe, how about working that into your plot? A wild child…Ooo, how about a retelling of Tarzan?
“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” could be an interesting twist. You could explore the wheel of the year, there are eight points. Or how about regeneration? (According to Kenner, eights also represent the eternal spiral of regeneration.) Perhaps, past lives?
- Themes: Courage, Stamina, Perseverance, Chi Energy/Life-force, Embracing Inner Wild Woman/Man, Power to Turn an Adversary into a Friend, Passion, or Sexuality.
Sometimes the lady and sometimes the lioness.
- Archetype: Enchantress, Witch, Passion, or Anima (the unconscious female element of the male) — Vogler refers to this as the Shapeshifter.
The Shapeshifter archetype is also a catalyst for change, a symbol of the psychological urge to transform. ~The Writers Journey by Christopher Vogler
- Mythical Figures: Sekhmet, Bastet, Europa, Beauty and the Beast, and Hercules.
The personality enneagram, a nine-pointed array of personality types, might also be a useful reference for character building.
Strength is E8: Boss, Top Dog, Challenger, and/or Confronter
- Self Image — I am strong
- Passion — Lust
- Virtue — Simplicity
- Narcissistic Trap — Justice
- Avoids — Weakness
- Speaking Style — Challenging or Unmasking
E8 people are instinctive, spontaneous, and intuitive. Their “gut” feeling is the center of their awareness. They are often direct or territorial. They are concerned with power, ruled by aggression, and may be troubled by self-doubt or self-blame.
Additionally, look up one of the Fire signs (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) for personality traits.
Writing takes courage. In fact, writing takes more fortitude and strength than most people can muster. ~Tarot for Writers by Corrine Kenner
Image: Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert from Llewellyn Worldwide