Strength.

Number: 11 or 8.
Astrological correspondence: Leo.
Keywords: diplomacy, intelligence, gentleness, controlling fears.
Strength beyond tarot: Queen Elizabeth I.

Strength shows a female figure adorned with flowers, with an infinity sign above her head, not unlike the Magician (1). She stands outdoors, in a field or plain of some sort, and we can see trees and mountains in the background. She is prying apart the jaws of a large lion, and the beast allows itself to be tamed, almost as docile, obedient and eager to please as a dog. 

As we’ve seen previously, Strength and Justice are interchangeable and can be placed in the eighth or the eleventh position, depending on the tradition. Both placements are valid, and ultimately depend on you. 

What is true strength? Is it raw force, or wise, intelligent diplomacy? As children, we quickly learn that we don’t obtain what we want by throwing tamper tantrums, but by asking nicely, and often working for it. This card prompts us to ask ourselves how and when to use strength, what kind to use. As a female card, it reminds us to tune into our intuition to know the right course of action, rather than just using brute force to get what we want. If you believe you’re owed something, or that someone is hurting you with their actions, ask them nicely first to give you what you want, before threatening to obtain what’s yours by whatever force necessary. 

A classic example is when a neighbor is doing something that bothers you or blatantly violates HOA rules. Ask them nicely if they can cease doing so, instead of automatically suing them. More often than not, using gentle diplomacy will yield the same results than force, with less waste of energy and effort. The infinity sign, which we also find in the Magician (1), reminds us of the endless possibilities that come with wise actions. Lastly, the lion, an uncontrollable, wild, and violent beast, can represent our fears, and this card reminds us to work on controlling them so they can no longer run wild and dominate us.