Courage, strength, inner will, optimism...reversing this card gives us some pretty evident messages:
1) Opposite: obviously, if we just go "opposite" on this card then we have cowardice, fear, timidity. A complete lack of backbone. The querent has been or is likely to back down from challenges. They're weak-willed when it comes to controlling their own impulses or changing their life. They're far too passive and scared.
2) Blocked: Blocked is a little bit different. The implication is that the strength and will are there, but something is preventing them from manifesting. I often think of someone constrained by courtesy or peer pressure from speaking up or doing the right thing. It is not that the person doesn't want to take control, or can't, but rather that something is keeping them from doing it (either something within or something without) and so the lion remains untamed.
3) Upside-down: right-side up, the maiden is controlling, and above, the lion. Reverse it and the lion is on top and in control. A scary situation. Unlike Reversed and Blocked, this interpretation suggests that the querent cannot manage to control the beast. They are not, as in #1, afraid, nor, as in #2, being prevented from trying to take control. Rather, in this interpretation, whatever it is they are trying to control is too much for them.
Putting it another way: the lion is in control - and the maiden does not know how to gain control over the beast before it rends her to pieces. To clarify: in interpretation #1, I would likely scold the querent that they had to learn to be brave and face the beast...though I probably wouldn't expect them to take my advice. #1 suggests someone who is too timid and unwilling to fight, more likely to keep hoping that if they just keep still the lion will go away.
In interpretation #2, I would tell the querent that they needed to free their courage and inner strength, to stop listening to whatever was holding that back. And I imagine this advice would be listened to.
In interpretation #3, however, I'd tell the querent that they cannot defeat the lion alone. This is the drug addict who needs rehab. Willpower alone isn't going to work. The beast is in control and the maiden needs saving before she is entirely consumed. This last interpretation suggests a very desperate situation requiring some desperate action. Certainly a cry for help at the very least.
Curious about this card when upright? Go to our Tarot Card Meanings.