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. Strength 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.
Power, energy, action, courage, magnanimity; also complete success and honours.
Despotism, abuse of power, weakness, discord, sometimes even disgrace.
8 – Strength
This card corresponds to the Hebrew letter Teth, and thus to the zodiacal sign Leo. It refers, in the magical side of occultism, to the law which is the basis of all human control of occult forces.
Ill-dignified, it may signify ostentation, obstinacy, and the like. often, in material questions, it relates to risky speculation, dangerous adventures, and sometimes to clandestine love-affairs. Much depends upon the dignity of the card in the layout.
11 La Force
Heroism, Magnanimity, Greatness, Courage. Ability, Power, Empire, Powerful Influence. Mental Work, Patience, Resignation.
Sovereign, Kingdom, State, Republic, Government, Administration, Reign, Despotism, Sovereignty, Supreme Power, Arbitrary Power, People, Nation, Weakness, Imperfection, Quarrel.
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.
Ouspensky: VIII – POWER
The Real Power. Strength of love. Strength of Union (Magic chain). Strength of the Infinite. Occultism. Esoterism. Theosophy.