VIII Strength


No perilous march, nor the clenching of fists
no clashing between steel and beast
nor breaking ofΒ the flesh and bone:
draw no weapons for this conquest
defy and define through singularity and existence;
there is no fight to be won,
no treacherous terrain to conquer
there is merely the soft whispers of
gentle wind across silence,
and the slow, eternal ripplings of soul


Strength is the inner fortitude that asserts one’s true self in a resilient and an unapologetic manner. It is the inner quest, if undertaken, distills an introspective transformation in which an all-encompassing understanding of one’s weaknesses and strengths is formed. It is the recognition of one’s various parts, through which the wild, impulsive, forward-driving aggression and passive, receptive perseverance is mediated. A fully-functional human being requires a balance between the masculine and feminine aspects. While Strength advocates this balance, it emphasizes the more feminine, non-violent act of “taming” in which both internal and external obstacles are faced and absorbed rather than confronted and conquered. It speaks to a confidant understanding of one’s personality and oneself, and maintaining that unwavering sense of self in life.

Like the Chariot, Strength is a card about knowing who you are and what you want, and it taps ito the power of self-acceptance which leads to self-empowerment. However, unlike the Chariot, Strength is about inner undertakings and an unwavering fluidity when faced with life’s challenges. It is about making peace with your enemy, moderating aggression and emotional impulses, as well as endurance. It does not implicate a kind of rigidity and stubbornness that immobilizes you–instead, it speaks to the ability to bend and adapt in circumstances that requires you to be durable instead of uncompromising.

Shadow Aspects

The lacking of Strength speaks to both insecurity and self-doubt. Not knowing who you are disallows the contextualization within one’s immediate universe, and disables solid or permanent establishments of meaningful relationships. The failure to assert oneself leads to a kind of conscious or unconscious dissolution of one’s parts, and aimless drifting and wandering that lacks an authentic purpose. It also speaks to a rootlessness when someone fails to ground themselves with their own understanding of the world as well as their own beliefs. Without a solid foundation of self, the identity is easily influenced and swayed by public opinion or difficult challenges.

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