The Strength card is almost a parable in a picture. A beautiful woman crowned with flowers gently closes the mouth of a ferocious lion. The symbol of eternity floats over her head, reminding us that this is no ordinary strength that she embodies.
We all have different images and ideas that come to mind when we use the word, “strength.” For many of us the image may be similar to the one depicted in the Swiss Tarot.
Here there is no gentle woman, but a muscled, ferocious man throwing the lion to the ground. No doubt he ripped it’s head off and wore it for a top hat to remind every one of how butch he was.
That’s definitely NOT the concept of Strength that the Waite Tarot is trying to convey, nor is it in keeping with the images from the oldest Tarot decks. This type of Strength has nothing to do with brute force and much more to do with love.
And that can be very hard for many of us to wrap our heads around: love as Strength.
But even stranger is the concept of love as a Force, as it’s portrayed in the Marseille deck La Force.
Therapist and self-help author Gay Hendricks gives this advice in Conscious Living: Finding Joy in the Real World: “If you really want to change something love and accept it just the way it is.” And that implies something quite a bit stronger than just the surface of the statement. It implies that love can physically change things.
If you’re confronted with a bully, love him and he’ll change.
If you’re having hard times financially, love it and it will change.
If you’re having marriage problems, love it and it will change.
This isn’t just a matter of, “mere,” attitude adjustment, either. It’s not learning how to feel better about something that stinks. It ACTUALLY changes things when you love them.
Which means that love is a force. Or to put it another way, love is an energy. It’s something that you can feel and something that can be projected into your world to make things better for you.
You can also approach that concept by examining some other emotional energies like hate or anger or pain. If you walk into a room where there’s just been a really angry argument you can feel it. The anger is palpable even after the people who argued are gone. If you meet a really negative person your first reaction is, “Boy, does HE have bad vibes.” If you walk into a slaughter house or a county jail the energy can literally make you sick to your stomach.
On the other hand, if you walk into a meditation center you immediately feel calmed and soothed by the energy that’s being generated there.
I got a wonderful tip from family therapist and counselor Jil Chipman: “You can be happy any time that you choose to be.”
If we practice mindfulness then emotions can become a choice rather than random forces that batter us around. We can sit and think about things that make us happy and literally become happy people at that moment. And there’s an energy and vibration that goes with happiness that we emanate when we are in that state.
In the same sense, if we think of things that we love we become loving people at that moment and there is an energy and a vibration that we emanate when we are in that state.
We are literally generating an energy which we call love and it’s literally a physical force that can change things for the better. And that’s Strength.
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