The strength tarot card also means to imbue you with the energy you need to face any obstacle, or simply to get better. Just like the Death major arcana is often mistaken to mean literal death and nothing else, strength in tarot does not necessarily mean physical strength.
Traditional meanings associated with the Strength card
The meaning of the Strength tarot card is usually very positive and means to let you find a way to overcome any obstacle, not necessarily using force, but by knowing your place in the grand scheme of things, and understanding the best and most gentle way to deal with any problem effectively and doing as little harm as possible to the world and people around you. It might be a little slower sometimes, but people who grow in harmony with the world around them usually go much farther than those who try to raise their station by crushing the competition beneath their feet
Upright: Energy, power, courage, success, honor, and gentle strength.
Reversed: Weakness, anger, and abuse of power.
Upright Strength tarot card meaning
The most common depiction of the strength tarot card is a struggle between two characters, a human (usually female) and a lion. An important aspect of this major arcana is often “lost in translation” in the various tarot decks that can be found in the market, where you can see a physical conflict straight out of an old peplum movie. In truth, when you look at the origins of the iconography, the woman is opening the lion’s mouth very gently.
This is not meant to show a display of physical strength, but rather proof of confidence and inner strength, through peaceful demeanor and gentle kindness, she opens the mouth of the lion who happily complies, while any attempt to force it open through sheer muscle strength would probably have ended up with a lot of blood. In the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck, the woman’s head is crowned with the same infinity symbol as the Magician, showing her enlightenment.
The meaning of the strength tarot card is as simple as its name. It is a token of strength, though that does not necessarily mean a show or test of muscles. Strength can represent a lot of things. Inner strength and confidence, strength of conviction, or strength of self, the kind of strength where you know your own place in the world and thus act accordingly because you know that is what you were meant to be doing.
This major arcanum is often seen as an encouragement to further your personal projects, and to find a way out from any trap or obstacle by using your greatest assets creatively instead of just using your muscles.
Reversed Strength card meaning
The strength tarot card, when reversed, is without surprise a sign of weakness. But just like strength does not mean physical strength, here this weakness could be moral, or mental… This card usually comes as a warning, a head’s up for you to give you some time to get out of a tricky situation (or find a solution if you can). If you have no way to delay the challenge or trial, keep an open mind for any unlikely suggestion or idea that might spring to mind…
The Fool’s Journey
While the Fool is determined and full of will at this point in their journey, they will eventually have to face various obstacles and challenges on their way. This is where the strength tarot card comes into play, offering the resources they need to try and meet these challenges, to overcome any obstacle that might keep them locked in a dead end.
The lessons taught by this arcana include literal strength, obviously, but also the figurative strength brought by patience, tolerance, and even love. The Fool moves along in their journey by understanding that brute strength is not always the best answer, and that being kind and gentle is often an even stronger show of strength.
Strength and Justice
In the Marseille deck and most early Renaissance tarots, Strength was numbered 11 and Justice was numbered 8. The deliberate inversion of these two arcana in most modern deck is the fruit of numerological and historical studies about the tarot from various secret societies at the end of the Victorian era.
Strength in love tarot
If you are currently single and have been dying to talk to that special person in your heart, then the appearance of the Strength tarot card in a love tarot is not an accident, and is meant to lend you the strength and confidence you need to try your luck with that person.
Be wary of ever finding a reversed Strength tarot card in a love reading context, because it is often the sign of an extremely abusive relationship, either mentally or physically, and this is something you should definitely avoid.
Strength as a focus for meditation
The strength tarot card is a wonderful tool to use for a meditation session if you are ever feeling low or discouraged. While meditation is often performed in a dimmed light environment, this exercise works even better using bright lights, or even outside under a bright Sun. Start meditating, clear your mind, and try to let go anything that burdens you or weighs you down.
Then focus on the major arcana, try to let the serene and peaceful strength visible in the scene fill you up with energy and confidence. Focus on your short-term goals, see what you need to do in order to make them come true, and start at the beginning. Every journey begins with a single step.