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Strength and the Wisdom of Passion

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“All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

I have to say that for what might be a seemingly obvious card, Strength has been strangely odd to interpret.

am usually wary of what might be an obvious psychology and in an attempt to swerve that I have confounded myself with its deeper meaning...and you know me...I like to go deep!

I think the most striking aspect of this card is its meaning of kindness, compassion and gentleness being a source strength. It is usually true that when we approach any situation we can get the most out of it by being calm and collected, it’s the iron fist in the velvet glove. Kindness is not always seen as a source of power, many clients come who have been very hurt by being taken advantage of by loved ones or colleagues. Whilst we can understand, through the cards, why someone may have acted so badly, it is not always clear what anyone can personally do about it. I think it is also a part of strength to realise that what comes around, goes around; we may not know when this may be but relinquishing control over cause and effect is also part of this card’s wider meaning.

Another nice facet to this card is the symbolism of passion. The message is loud and clear: be your passion.

The lion represents the unbridled power which needs to roar sometimes but the hand upon the jaw illustrates that passion has to be managed and channelled otherwise it could become a runaway horse and hurl one into oblivion.

Passion is a precursor to willpower and it is our passion which motivates and drives towards a goal or vision. By understanding our passion we get a handle on our potential and purpose. Another way of describing this would be the union between the higher and lower anima, the inner determination that begins the journey of creativity. It is our nature to be passionate, to engage with the eros of life. It is a life well-lived when we become whole.

This card shows us the necessity for healing old injuries and the scars of past traumas.

We must be more conscious of our body and that the mind does indeed affect the body systems. I see in this Tarot card the instinctive and the carnal which, if allowed to live, is subject to the forces of the highest element within us. We are the guardians of life on this planet and we should respect that. In the RWS deck we see the mother-goddess Cybele attuned to nature and by so being has mastery and grace.

I like to look at Tarot from various perspectives and one of my favourites is the Sufi one.

As a major arcana card it carries one of the Quranic names of God. The 99 names reflects all the different aspects of God and how we experience the divine being. Strength has the name 'al Qawi' which means the strong, the possessor of all strength. This is one whose strength is supreme and possesses unlimited strength and endurance.

The one who has this name has vigour which prevails over all creation. They are beyond all weakness and their strength is inexhaustible.

Rumi tells us that the true lion is he who conquers himself and as the name suggests spiritual strength is a virtue as is domination of our more base instincts.

Sufi sages are often depicted riding lions to denote the conquest and sublimation of the lower by the higher spiritual self.

When the Strength card appears we are reminded to be courageous in all that we do; to trust our inner knowing and to prepare for new strength, personal responsibility and inner fulfilment. Not only that but to truly recognise that we are an aspect of nature, not separate from it, we have the power to be a force for good.


Draw some cards to assist you in connecting to this beautiful card.

What does my strength look like?

  1. How do I work with my strength?

  2. What will happen if I neglect my passion?

  3. Are my strength and passion tools to create my destiny?

  4. What can I achieve?


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