Usually when people encounter this card, they get confused. Why would a girl be foolish enough to try doing anything with a lion? The secret is in the concept the card is trying to represent – Strength. It doesn’t only mean physical strength – it also means mental, emotional and spiritual strength. What if the girl simply wanted to do it, without any particularly reason whatsoever? What if it’s only because she can? And what if she can do it without the use of brute force? From there, each individual reader is free to take inspiration about what strength means for them, and how it plays out in their lives.
Joan of Arc is one very notable example of the concepts represented in this card. She overcame impossible odds to become what she wanted to be, because she was utterly convinced that she was called for it, and to everyone else’s wonder, because she simply can. Stories like hers should make us all challenge what we really can do as opposed to what we only think we can do – more often than not, we operate under limitations we or our environment set for us without challenging whether they are true.
Do you remember a time in your life when you were convinced you couldn’t do something, but you kept at it and you did? This card is applicable for that life experience. The appearance of things doesn’t necessarily imply what they can do – even a frail plant can grow through rock or cement, and even house pets can travel an almost inconceivable distance to be reunited with their owners. True strength lies within each of us despite how we perceive ourselves to be, and that is how we begin to realize the possibilities of our potential exceed our self-imposed limitations.
This card denotes courage, self-control, and fortitude; it is channeling passion, tempering our basic instincts and using them for something higher. Determination and resolve are also implied when this card comes up in a reading.
Usually in most tarot decks, this card depicts a girl holding open or closed the jaws of a lion, but sometimes you will also see them side by side, or the girl riding the lion. The Thoth deck’s depiction of Strength, renamed as Passion or Lust, may encapsulate the purest meaning of this card, though it may be easily be misinterpreted by the uninitiated. If one wants to do something, even to the point of excess, why not? It takes the most extreme form of inner strength to go the deep end and still be aware that you can rein yourself in to come back.
The Osho Zen deck depicts this card as Courage, with a plant growing through rock. It adds nuance to our interpretation of this archetype – true strength isn’t just about brute force or wanton abandon, it can also be quiet perseverance and hope that we do not let die.
Interpretation in Various Areas of Life
Is there a tense situation going on? This card advises holding on a bit longer; it’s possible that by disciplining yourself, you’ll be able to see something that you may not have noticed before. Times of adversity often challenge us to become more of ourselves, like trial by fire, or refining gold. Maybe this is the time for you to refine and improve yourself, once you see how the situation can teach you about what you didn’t know you can do.
Maybe a relationship between two lovers has become difficult, or maybe one person is having trouble saving themselves or waiting for their intended to turn themselves around. For better or worse, this card is counseling the person in question to wait and to persevere. Look at the other cards surrounding this for clues on why it may be prudent to stay a little longer.
This may be where things are between a rock and a hard place, but carry on! Challenges help one enjoy good fortune better when it arrives, and be more prepared when greater challenges come along. Be wise in your next decisions and never give in to fear – the only thing you have to fear in your situation is fear itself.
Some time may need to pass before the situation can turn itself around – in any case, it’s not a completely negative card for this type of question, merely a status update. Things may be tense right now, but as long as the person in question keeps their chin up, good things are just beyond the horizon!
This is the card that shows up when there needs to be a time of restriction so challenging that they may fall into temptation any moment. Remember why you went into this journey in the first place so you can take your restrictions with a smile. No guts, no glory!