The Strength Tarot definitions
Strength or Lust is about passion, living life, making love, playing games and sports. We have extra energy to do the things we want that are not about the basic necessities of life; earning money, finding food and shelter, etc. Nature has been tamed, but we still want to test ourselves, or test our abilities against others. Not having this energy, we shamble through life, having no interest beyond mere survival.
A woman, over whose head there broods the same symbol of life which we have seen in the card of the Magician, is closing the jaws of a lion. The only point in which this design differs from the conventional presentations is that her beneficent fortitude has already subdued the lion, which is being led by a chain of flowers. For reasons which satisfy myself, this card has been interchanged with that of justice, which is usually numbered eight. As the variation carries nothing with it which will signify to the reader, there is no cause for explanation. Fortitude, in one of its most exalted aspects, is connected with the Divine Mystery of Union; the virtue, of course, operates in all planes, and hence draws on all in its symbolism. It connects also with innocentia inviolata, and with the strength which resides in contemplation.
These higher meanings are, however, matters of inference, and I do not suggest that they are transparent on the surface of the card. They are intimated in a concealed manner by the chain of flowers, which signifies, among many other things, the sweet yoke and the light burden of Divine Law, when it has been taken into the heart of hearts. The card has nothing to do with self-confidence in the ordinary sense, though this has been suggested - but it concerns the confidence of those whose strength is God, who have found their refuge in Him. There is one aspect in which the lion signifies the passions, and she who is called Strength is the higher nature in its liberation. It has walked upon the asp and the basilisk and has trodden down the lion and the dragon.
Strength divinatory meanings
Power, energy, action, courage, magnanimity; also complete success and honours.
Reversed Card meanings
Despotism, abuse of power, weakness, discord, sometimes even disgrace.
Book of Thoth - Lust
Mitigate Energy with Love; but let Love devour
Worship the name ____, foursquare, mystic,
wonderful, and the name of His House 418.
Courage, strength, energy and action, une grande passion; resort to magick, the use of magical power.
Aleister Crowley transposed this card with Justice/Adjustment. Strength is one of the great Tarot cards as it signifies magical power.
Golden Dawn - Strength
Daughter of the Flaming Sword, Leader of the Lion
Courage, strength, fortitude. Power not arrested in the act of judgement, but passing on to further action, sometimes obstinacy.
Power, Might, Force, Strength, Fortitude.
Reversed Card meanings
Abuse of Power, Overbearingness, Want of Fortitude.
Heroism, Magnanimity, Greatness, Courage. Ability, Power, Empire, Powerful Influence. Mental Work, Patience, Resignation.
Reversed Card meanings
Sovereign, Kingdom, State, Republic, Government, Administration, Reign, Despotism, Sovereignty, Supreme Power, Arbitrary Power, People, Nation, Weakness, Imperfection, Quarrel.
Thierens: VIII. Justice. Scorpio
Whosoever might hesitate before the emblems of this card and think it might as well stand in relation with Libra on account of the idea of 'justice,' generally ascribed to the latter sign, and the balance which the woman holds in her left hand, will do well to consider the systematic relationship existing between all signs of the zodiac or evolutionary cycle. The left hand derives from, while the right hand is instrumental in giving out. Scorpio derives from Libra the balance and the idea of justice, but the sword in the right hand shows, that we have not justice pure and simple, platonic so to speak, but that which has often been called 'avenging justice.' Au fond it is more vengeance than justice and Scorpio is famous for its tendency to vengeance, in every way and every form. After Libra, the stage of total manifestation, this stage is the taking-back, the first step on the way home, which explains the well-known feature of desire, thirst for experience in this sign, because it wishes to bring home something from the voyage 'westward.' So the card of justice means above all the faculty of desire, higher as well as lower, from the most spiritual or religious longing down to the most crude lust. Sexual experience is one of the most important expressions of it, and we may safely say, that one of the principal significances of the card is sex. Another, principally where sex is sublimated, is occult experience, and the psychical side of earth-life in general. Naturally it stands in close relation to the sign Virgo, on the other hand of the Balance, in which sensation was born; the faculty (or possibility) of the sensation bringing the desire to realise it. It is the sign of transmutation, which is the change of the inner composition by the experience won. The sensation realised makes one feel, actually, bodily, psychically or morally, the meaning of good and evil, and therefore the 'sword of discrimination' is the emblem in the right hand of this figure. Every mistake in the process of life will avenge itself with geometrical certainty. This house is the school of life and it is remarkable how it is concerned with 'school' in every respect. In this house the Self takes from life and from the cosmos surrounding what it wants, consequently what it does not yet possess, and the card of Justice becomes the index for our debts or the possessions of other people.
Meanwhile the balance in the left hand of the figure denotes, without the slightest doubt, that since Libra is on the left hand Justice must be the VIIIth card, not the XIth as some authors have it.
P. identifies this principle with that of the Hebrew letter Heth, which "expresses a field, from it springs the idea of anything that requires labour, trouble, effort." The sexual union has taken place and Adam-Eve are condemned to "earn their bread in the sweat of their face" on the field. To say it less tragically the divine gift of the senses obliges us to work with them and to suffer by them as well as to benefit by the enjoyment of their impressions.
It is the card of sorrow as well as of deeper satisfaction. In the man under this card there is always something of the 'avenger of wrongs,' and very often it has to do with the proceedings of justitia in the world. It is also the card of the secret, or hidden. Most authors are not very famous for their interpretation of this card, but P. says a very good thing about it: "The sword here is a sign of protection for the good, as well as a menace for the bad."
Ouspensky: Card VIII - POWER
The Real Power. Strength of love. Strength of Union (Magic chain). Strength of the Infinite. Occultism. Esoterism. Theosophy.
In the midst of a green plain, surrounded by blue hills, I saw a woman with a lion. Girdled with wreaths of roses, a symbol of infinity over her head, the woman calmly and confidently covered the lion's mouth and the lion obediently licked her hand.
"This is a picture of power", said the voice. "It has different meanings. First it shows the power of love. Love alone can conquer wrath. Hatred feeds hatred. Remember what Zarathustra said: "Let man be freed from vengeance; this is a bridge for me which leads to higher hope and a rainbow in heaven after long storms".
"Then it shows power of unity. These wreaths of roses suggest a magic chain. Unity of desires, unity of aspirations creates such power that every wild, uncontrolled, unconscious force is subdued. Even two desires, if united, are able to conquer almost the whole world.
"The picture also shows the power of infinity, that sphere of mysteries. For a consciousness that perceives the symbol of infinity above it, knows no obstacles and cannot be withstood".