Alternative Names: Fortitude, Force
Astrological Sign or Planet: Leo the Lion
Hebrew Letter: Teth
Key Meanings: Patience, tension, and strength
The Strength card in Tarot is about energy and courage. It is a card of bravery and fierceness, much like a lion’s hot and roaring energy. In addition, it also symbolizes an unafraid woman. She is undaunted, indomitable, and steadfast. The basic symbols of the Strength card are a woman with a lemniscate (a figure eight on its side symbolizing eternal life and eternity) hovering over her head, a lion, and a chain of roses.
Upright Meaning: When Strength appears in a reading, you are exhibiting moral courage and fortitude. You have learned to work in harmony with your own instinctive nature, to listen to it and hear its whisperings. As in tales of the hero’s journey, the seeker often meets with animals, representative of the instinctive realm, who guide and help him on his way. Strength indicates that you have come through difficulties and learned to rely on inner strength to solve your problems.
This is a time when faith in yourself will pay off, when your position is strong because you have made yourself strong through suffering trials and tribulations without being defeated by them. It is a time to let people around you know who you are—especially anyone who has been dominating you.
The indication is that it is the feminine principle that does the work of reconciling the mental-rational facility with that of the intuitive-instinctive nature. The feminine is always in closer touch with nature than the masculine. Whether the reading is for a man or a woman, the same meaning applies. The lesson is that we do not conquer our animal natures by brute force (which is the typical masculine mode of approach to obstacles) but by gentleness and feeling our way into rapport with the instinctive side.
Depending on the placement of the card in the spread and the question being asked, Strength indicates that what is required in the situation is for spiritual strength to replace or overcome physical strength.
Reversed Meaning: When reversed, Strength turns to weakness of will and avoidance of risk, conflicts, and decision-making. This can refer to you ignoring your instincts altogether or allowing fear of conflict to stop you from taking action. This avoidance is holding back your personal growth; in this situation, you can only learn through experience. Whatever you resist persists, so take charge and take on the challenge.
Strength reversed is an obvious message about weakness, so be aware that indolence and overthinking can be more exhausting than confrontation.