An event hints at the main character's hidden strength, which he or she will use (or choose not to use) to resolve the story

VIII: Strength

Also known as: Lust
discipline boldness self-discipline power vitality

Associated with the lion we have an image of courage, strength and self-discipline of totally egocentric beginnings of a unique individuality. It's the "me first drive" which will happily destroy anyone or anything in its path, so long as one's own gratification is assured. This lesson of harnessing one's aggression and directing it toward a creative end. Will courage pride and labor, going for it for the lust of life. Strength applied to joyful purpose. Through such an experience we come in contact with the beast but also with the hero, emerging from this contest with trust in oneself and integrity towards others. The lion within is the image of the infantile savage and royalty, interpreted as vigor.
Inverse: Repressed instinct without any transformation, leaving behind a strong shell within a soul without passion and without a true identity.



  • Imposing restrictions on yourself for your own benefit.
  • Bringing your passions under the control of reason.
  • Resisting impulses that work against your best interests.
  • Taking bold action.
  • Shadow

    • Indulging weakness, even when you know it will damage your health and happiness.
    • Languishing in addiction.
    • Allowing your instincts to tame and conquer you.
    • Failing to take a stand when necessary.
    • Symbolism

      The lemniscate

      Again, in the Marseilles decks, many see a lemniscate, or infinity symbol, concealed in the brim of the figure's hat. RWS-inspired decks emphasize the symbol, suggesting infinite self-discipline. What role does self-control play in your situation?

      The lion

      Generally, the lion (king of beasts) suggests bestial, untamed instincts. Closing the mouth of the lion graphically illustrates the power the central figure has over instinctual forces. What instinctual responses need to be curbed?

      Symbols of strength

      Some illustrators use Hercules on this card; a gentle woman is more frequently seen, though. What course of action would best symbolize your own moral strength?

      Strength's Advice


      • You're in control.
      • You can't tame others, but you can rein yourself in.
      • Watch for old habits or weaknesses to surface, and use your wits to avoid upcoming pitfalls.


      • Emotions and distractions can hinder progress.
      • Identify the cause of dissention and take steps to moderate it.
      • Allow people (including yourself) to do what they do best.
      • An objective perspective yields more effective action.


      • The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
      • Your own willpower may not be strong enough to resist the temptations that come your way.
      • (That's okay; you're human.) Turn challenges over to a higher power, and allow yourself to be led.

      Personal Growth

      • Identify problematic habits and unhealthy tendencies, and weigh their overall impact on your life.
      • Consider, too, the value of leaving these behind for healthier options.
      • A good measure of maturity is the ability to forgo immediate gratification to reap benefits later.

      Fortune Telling

      • Your self-control will be tested.
      • A woman will seek to change her partner or lover.
      • You are a strong, capable person.


      • If Strength = 11, between September 23 and October 22 (Libra).
      • If Strength = 8, between July 23 and August 27 (Leo).

      Questions to ask

      • How can I enhance my self-discipline?
      • What behaviors tempt me? How can I resist?
      • What instincts do I continue to struggle with today?

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      Major Arcana

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      Parts of this page's description of the Strength tarot card are taken from "A Guide to Tarot Card Meanings" by Mark McElroy.