Strength (VIII) Upright

(Card Descriptions Based On Original Rider-Waite Colors – Still Under US Games Inc. Copyright)



(To Follow)

Moving on from The Chariot we encounter Strength and another approach to control. Here we see a woman dressed in white with a garland of flowers tied around her waist and flowers in her hair. Her white dress is symbolic of the purity of her motives. Above her head is the infinity symbol suggesting things without beginning or end, the cycle of all life, that what goes round comes round, that this time too will pass. A lion stands in the foreground. The woman appears to calmly open and close the mouth of the apparently vicious lion. Her face is serene and she shows no signs of fear. The yellow background suggests the intellect at play. The lion is completely red representing extreme passion.

This card stands for inner strength. The Lion is symbolic of our own animal instincts, our desires, our passions, our jealousy, our rage, our lust. He traditionally represents our shadow-self, the side of us that we generally keep to ourselves, the shadow that society and respectability demand we keep under control. Each and every one of us has a shadow self and at times, when conditions are favourable, this animal, our lion, escapes or is glimpsed.

In psychology, it is through acceptance of our shadow self, by acknowledging and embracing it that we keep it under control. By denying our shadow self we create in effect, the caged animal whose fury, aggressions and passions seeth and grow out of control. When this shadow or lion manages to escape the consequences can be very disturbing.

The woman in this card sootheS the lion with her loving touch. She does not fear him for if she shows any sign of fear, he may get the upper hand and devour her. The Lion in turn, is calmed by the woman’s gentle touch. He shows his trust by allowing her get so close. He knows she means him no harm and she in fact is his friend. They appear to live quite peacefully side by side. The woman controls the beast through the power of reason and through love via the heart. She may be secretly terrified of what she is doing but she is prepared to face her fears, to take the risk, to feel the fear and do it anyway.

The lion also symbolises all the emotions and fears that were experienced in The Chariot. In The Chariot they were subdued by sheer will power and force. Here in Strength, fears and emotions are faced head-on and with courage. This woman is showing her inner strength, her confidence, and  exceptional courage under the circumstances.

Inner strength is shown in many ways. A description of the Strength card I came across in a book some years ago has always stayed with me. It referred to the inner strength that is needed to get up in the morning and face each day after your child has lost their battle with cancer. The inner strength and courage to face people with children the same age as your child who is no longer here. The inner strength required to go on.

The inner strength that was required of the people who lost their families, homes and livelihoods, to tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, war and famine. The inner strength needed to face life after your child has been snatched and murdered. The list goes on and on. These people inspire us and give us hope.


The Strength card along with The Sun and The Queen of Wands represents the sign of Leo  and part of their lesson in life is to find inner-strength.  Leos often appear to be brave and bold outwardly but often feel lacking in confidence, fearful and with low self-esteem. In fact Leos do inherently have great inner strength, they just have to believe in themselves a bit more and to put their inner strength to the test.

When the Strength Card comes up in a reading it would suggest that your own inner strength is being put to the test. It asks you to calm down and not just react to a situation. It reassures you that no matter what is going on, no matter how dreadful the situation may be, you do have the inner-strength at your disposal to handle the situation and to survive through it. Strength asks you to feel the fear and do it anyway. To put your doubts aside and show fortitude and courage. Others may be relying on you to bring them through a difficult time.

It also questions where your strengths lie. Maybe you should examine this area of your life and assess your own strengths and how best they could be applied to your life or the situation concerned for the good of all. Are you fearful of putting yourself forward for a promotion or to start your own business. You need to calm the fears of failure and rejection. Find the pride of the lion in yourself and step forward. Others may be inspired by your courage.

This woman has great power in her hands and she may suggest that you too have great power at your disposal and are well in control of the situation. By keeping your cool, you have successfully come through any difficult situation at present. By not rising to the bait you can keep a volatile situation under control. Others are calmed by your approach to the situation. A calm approach can often be more powerful than an aggressive one. You may be showing or have the ability to help others through difficult times by using loving understanding. You may be acting as a mediator in a potentially explosive situation. Great perseverance and endurance are suggested.   Using reason rather than anger.  Sometimes the Lion’s pride and self-importance make this difficult to achieve.

You may be standing up to a long time adversary or bully. You discover the power within .  You may be struggling with a big problem or working hard to control your anger and rage.  You may be putting all your heart into a situation or project.  A love of animals, especially cats is often indicated.

In a relationship this may represent a Leo. Leos often have the reputation of being unable to combine both a successful career with a successful relationship. Usually one will suffer at the expense of the other. If you are experiencing difficulties in a relationship don’t run from them. Face them head on and you will have sufficient strength to deal with them before they get out of hand. The Strength card in a relationship indicates that the couple involved have the ability to weather most storms and are generally very close. They may have gone through a tough time or tragedy and this will have brought them closer.

Now Go To Strength (VIII) Reversed

Back to Lesson 4


The Fool Upright  The Fool Reversed

The Magician Upright  The Magician Reversed

The High Priestess Upright   The High Priestess Reversed

The Empress Upright   The Empress Reversed

The Emperor Upright    The Emperor Reversed

The Heirophant Upright    The Heirophant Reversed

The Lovers Upright     The Lovers Reversed

The Chariot Upright   The Chariot Reversed

Strength Upright     Strength Reversed

The Hermit Upright   The Hermit Reversed

The Wheel of Fortune Upright   The Wheel of Fortune Reversed

Justice Upright   Justice Reversed

The Hanged Man Upright   The Hanged Man Reversed

Death Upright     Death Reversed

Temperence Upright     Temperence Reversed

The Devil Upright   The Devil Reversed

The Tower Upright     The Tower Reversed

The Star Upright     The Star Reversed

The Moon Upright    The Moon Reversed

The Sun Upright     The Sun Reversed

Judgement Upright      Judgement Reversed

The World Upright     The World Reversed

Lesson 1   Lesson 2    Lesson 3



4 replies »

  1. Hi Miss teacher, I had Strength come up as the first card representing me in a 5 card love potential spread based on a question of “where i stoo” with a love interest. Position 1. “Self/Me”(Strength) Position 2.”The Loved One”/crush-love interest (The Moon) Position 3. ” Situation ” (Six of Pentacles) Position 4. “Advice”(Ace of Cups) Position 5. ” Potential “(Eight of Pentacles) I just can’t come to grips of the moon representing her. since its two Major Arcana cards representing us both my first impression was this is a real deep connection between me and her, which makes since with regards to the circumstances; as I’ve discovered more about the moon card, i am kinda confused with the six of pents coming after it, and the ace of cups after as advice. I know the moon card is sensitive to the surrounding cards; would you call the surrounding cards positive?


    • Hi Rickey,

      It is hard to give a straight off response to this reading as I do not do psychic readings. I usually converse with the person and get a bit of background information as the cards can mean a number of things which may or may not be relevant. The cards in general are positive but do need further investigation.

      The Moon always necessitates deeper analysis as not everything is visible to the eye. Pull extra cards. The moon can conceal or hide what it chooses to. Any external manifestations such as actions, behavior, attitudes etc will be a reflection of inner issues. There is a lot of emotion tied up with this person but I wonder how well you know them. The Moon can represent a personality that is in flux where moods and emotions are concerned. There could be extremes at play. The person may blow hot and cold which could cause much confusion for you. You are strength; steady and reliable. You are also a calming influence on the often tumultuous Moon. It seems like you want to help this person in the Six of Pentacles, reach out to them, to guide them through any crisis they are experiencing, but one day they may want you there or your help but the next they may say they are fine and wish to be alone. The six of Pentacles can be a card of extremes. With Pentacles we could be looking at either financial or practical assistance. Being strength and pentacles (another eight), you seem to be in a stronger and more stable position than the Moon. Something concerns you about the Moon and you need to work this out. This is your love interest but there are undercurrents of unease or uncertainty. The Ace of Cups suggests you are keen to pursue it and believe that it has the potential to be a great success, if not hard work with the moon at times. Once you offer commitment you certainly are intent on following it through. The six and Eight of Pentacles may bring in a financial or work element to the connection between you and the person reflected in the moon.

      At the end of the day, the moon could be asking you to trust your gut feelings on this one. If it feels right then go with your heart, but if it feels wrong, look deeper.

      The Moon could also suggest the person is a water sign, possibly cancer. If you are confused about a certain card, pull an extra card for each side of it to flush out its meaning.



      • Thank you so much vivien. that was great insight, and you hit a lot of key points that resonated with me. she is a libra, but she has venus and mars in a water sign. her birthday is on October 9th, and i’ve had 9 of pentacles and 9 of cups show up in the “partner/loved one/significant other” position representing her; so with the moon in the majors is #18 which adds up 1+8=9 I feel that my readings are accurate. I just know that two major arana cards representing each other says that the universe is involved, and it’s something big… for good or bad.


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