Major Arcana VIII – Strength

  • Planetary Ruler : ʘ The Sun ʘ
  • Tree of Life Pathway : Chesed – Gerburah
  • Keys : Integration of Instinct and Intellect | Power | Fortitude

Strength depicts a women kneeling in front of a radiant pyramid, firmly grounded. Her right palm is face down above a golden lions crown, with the palm open and fingers spread. Through this hand she conducts and channels the power and instinct of the lion, an energy which ascends strongly through her body. Her right arm is upheld in a salute, around which is wrapped a serpent. She is crowned with the sigil of Leo, ruled by the Sun, and she transmits the energy she is conducting through her body with the fortitude and strength of the pyramid behind her. At either side she is watched by Thoth, the creator of Language and the Arts, and Anubis, guide of the Underworld.

Her proximity to both the snake and lion reveal the close relationship with instinctual awareness which lies close to the center of her source of power. However, instinctual awareness alone is not sufficient, as it must be integrated with the intellect in order to generate, activate and transmit power. Here we are revealed one of the many expressions of polarity – that between animal instinct, or the intelligence of the body, and rationality, or intelligence of the mind. Only when these sensory apparatus are brought into proper harmony may we access the strength and fortitude that the women embodies.

Outwardly, Strength enables us to lift and move material. Inwardly, Strength is expressed as resilience – to not only endure challenges but also to work with them – to lift and move emotional or psychological material. Strength then affords us the capacity to do Work – both outer, as in the reshaping of our material environment, and the inner – the transformation of our emotional landscape.

However, this is a thread which runs even deeper, for strength is an expression of power, which is only accessed through the resonance between ourselves and our environment. This is True Power – a dissapation of energy that is both effective, ie successful, and affective, ie eliciting pathos, within ourselves and our environment. This is a Power which is seen, heard and felt – power which is communicated through a broadband spectrum of sensory channels.

This leads us back to the messaging which Strength reveals to us : the union of instinct ( the gut ) and intellect (the mind). Through this union we align with the source of power which is always present and available for each of us throughout our uniqueness. I come here to establish and maintain contact to this source of Power, and promote Strength.