Strength

A woman stands slightly off center of this card. She is dressed in a long sleeved gown with a garland of flowers around her waist and upon her head. She is bent over slightly, as she is in the process of closing the mouth of a maned lion. Her left hand is upon the lion’s snout and her right hand is cupping the jaw. The lion’s tongue is out of his mouth as if in protest and licks against her right hand. His tail is swept under him and between his legs in an apparent act of submission. A lemniscate is over her head, tilted appropiately to signify its connection to her own tilted head. In the near distance are trees and hills. In the far distance is a prominent mountain.

Strength was once called Fortitude. Where Strength implies the ability to act, Fortitude implies the ability to withstand. I see both understandings in this card. The visual symbolism implies the lion has already been subdued by a greater power and is being led by the chain of flowers. This robs the maiden of the card of her position of strength and makes her just as much of a trinket as the lion is. I see rather, the strength of someone who has made a determination for themselves, to do as they will and not as they have been told to do. This allows for the ability to act against the wishes of those that think the Querent unable to act, and the ability to withstand against the forces of those that think the Querent unable to hold fast.

Ill-dignified, such strength is robbed of the Querent. Instead of being the one in force, they become the one forced upon. Their strength (or fortitude) may be made impotent, or their power may be placed under the control of another. On some occasions, I have seen the ill-dignified Strength to represent those whose power has made them intoxicated, so that now they abuse their position and make of themselves the villain to be toppled.