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Currently viewing: The Major Arcana » Strength



  • Hebrew letter: Teth
  • Syllables: T, I, Th
  • Astrological Correlation: Leo

If any given card is likely to be reworked in ANY tarot deck, it is Strength. There are several reasons for this: some are pretty profound, some are merely view-points. Let's take the view-point side first. You don't REALLY need to know about the Naples arrangement just yet.

Strength is USUALLY portrayed as a woman controlling a lion, USUALLY without using what we might call brute strength. In some cards, the woman is opening the lion's jaws, in some she is closing them, but she usually does these things with a caress. And no, I don't know the name of the woman. Oh, and some decks show some "Tony the Circus Strongman" type beating the sh*t out of the lion too, but that's another story :) Somewhere in the card they usually include the symbol for infinity.

The whole point is that REAL strength doesn't have to show itself or rather, impose itself on others.

Crowley thought this was hypocrisy and renamed the card as "Lust". His point was that lust was the joy of strength exercised. His approach was sort of pre-christian: and SORT OF said "if you CAN impose yourself on others and find it fun, why not?"

So *I* in my own (rather smaller) way have changed the card around (just to add to the confusion, you know!). I syppose I felt that the inner strength of women bit had been done to death. In my card, a huge rocker/biker type accompanies a small child through a dangerous neighbourhood. Creepy looking guys peer out of windows, butr because of the giant's presence are  afraid to pounce on the child. The usual lion has been replaced by a "leo" patch  on the guy's ripped up army shirt. The infinity symbol has become a tatoo on  the guys left arm. The huge man and the child are having a great time together:  we see the giant's secret, inner gentleness come out through in his relation with the child. The child's clothes are brighter and more vibrant than those worn by the man. The major arcana deals with concepts rather than  actual things and I wanted to hint that the "small child" part of the concept was  the more alive and vibrant.

Maybe the gentle giant is a sort of analogy for the wall we build around ourselves to protect that which is most "us", our inner selves which we hardly ever show to the world.


Courage, strength. The mind and the heart working together. Passion has been controlled or chanelled. The lower impulses are under control. Sometimes an referee or a judge.


Weakness, defeat, concession, compromise. A lack of self-discipline, an animal-like inability to rise above ourselves and our passions.