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Strength
by Laurel

Symbolism & Meaning
Artistic Media
Artist's Bio

Symbolism & Meaning

This particular card utilizes five primary symbols: the lion, the woman, the twelve-rayed sun, the black triangle, and the comet transposed within the triangle. Strength is associated with the zodiacal sign Leo, which is ruled by the sun. The lion that is tamed by the maiden is an image inspired by the Rider-Waite deck. Above the maiden's head hovers a nimbus, shared with The Magician and hinting to a link between the two cards within the tarot mythos of The Golden Dawn. The pose of the woman is suggestive of balance, sensuality, and spirituality. She has tamed the lion of impulse and instinct, and there is an esoteric link between her one foot upon the earth and the traditional RW image of the Hanged Man. This particular card is a combination of classical and modern symbolism. In particular, the black triangle and the comet are personal spiritual symbols that I feel add new depth to this card.

The black triangle has its roots come from Nazi Germany, where it was used in stigmatize 'anti-social' women who had no place in Hitler's Third Reich: prostitutes, unwed mothers, lesbians, etc., In recent years, its come to be a symbol of pride among certain women's movements, to acknowledge the feminine antinomical spirit. Comets have a long mythic history as omens, particularly bad omens, particularly in societies that cast a disparaging look on a dynamic, independent, feminine. In recent years, comets have become objects of fascination and wonder rather than dread. They are the largest objects to orbit the sun, beautiful propulsions of matter and light ceaseless in movement.

In terms of meaning, Strength as manifested in this card is a dynamic, internal Strength. It is the strength to find meaning in even the darkest circumstances, the strength to love, the courage to fight for one's principles. It is the strength of True Will, and hence its relationship to the Magician, who is creatively empowered by True Will. Reversed, this card could mean inner strength stymied by fear or lack of self-confidence.

Artistic Media

This card was created on the computer, using a layering effect in Paint Shop Pro 7. The primary images are based on several public domain clip art silhouettes that have been heavily modified. The background was a unique design created via experimentation with several different filters. The orange-yellow coloration contrasted by stark black was chosen as a tribute to the "fiery" element given to Strength in Crowley-based decks, where it has been reinterpreted as "Lust".

Artist's Bio

Laurel Artemis Stuart is an amateur writer-artist in residence in Seattle, WA. She has studied various occult/esoteric/spiritual paths since her early teens. Currently, she is a member of the Temple of Set, a Left Hand Path initiatory tradition.


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