Major Arcana The Strength Card
The strength card was originally numbered as the 11th card in the Major Arcana deck, now it stands as the 8th card. Long ago, this card is called the Fortitude before it adopted the name Strength. Moreover, this card is called Lust in another deck which is the Thoth Tarot deck. Along with the other cards in the major arcana, this card is used in both game playing and divination.
The card was given a constant distinguishing design all throughout its history and even other counterpart decks. The dominating figures in the design are always a woman and a lion. The woman is depicted to always look calm and collected. Underlying the composed and gentle facade, the woman still holds a dominating aura over the lion.
There are tarot decks where the design has the woman clasping the jaw of the lion. This is highly famous in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. Another additional design to this deck is that there is a kind of geometrical shape, which is often referred to as a lemniscate, that is hovering above the woman’s head.
There are other variations to the design too. Aside from the one in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, there is also a design which draws the woman to be sitting on the lion. Other designs has one of the woman’s hand upon the lion. Some decks also feature only one of the dominating characters.
Many alternative decks, such as the Flemish Deck by Vandendorre, sticks to the original numbers of the Strength (named as La Force in the said deck) and the Justice (named as La Justice in the said deck) which is eight and 11, respectively. For the Vikings Tarot, the illustration is mainly about Thor lifting a Midgard Serpent.
The Strength Card Interpretations
For an interpretation, this card often depicts discipline and control. The lion, one of the dominating characters, represent the primal part of the mind. The woman, on the other had, depicts the higher parts of the mind. The Justice card basically gives a sign for a person to keep his own emotions and impulses on check. It also provides a sign for one’s internal conflicts.
This card is said to be capable of working against a person too. For one, this may refer to the possibility for the person to lose control over his impulses and desires. There is also an association between the card and the person being swallowed up by his excessive pride and some unwarranted anger.
As it is a card with a lion in its illustration, the Strength card is closely related to the Sun. Therefore, it is understood that the Strength card is a solar archetype.
This card is oftentimes associated with the myth of Arachne. Arachne was the person who challenged the goddess Athena to a weaving contest. Arachne emerged as the winner for the said contest. Athena was able to accept the defeat. However, Arachne bragged to everyone how she had defeated the goddess so Athena turned her into an eight-legged spider. The curse was not a revenge on Arachne for her victory but a lesson for her excessive pride.