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 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.
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".
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.
Go back to the project index, read the traditional card meaning, or get a free tarot reading with this deck.