NOTE: In some decks card 8 could be Justice. Strength may instead be card 11. This course will focus on Strength, regardless of where it is found in your deck.
What does it mean to be’strength? This is not about muscle or might. It’s not about power or outward control. It is the strength that comes from within.
We talked about choosing love in card 6 (the Lovers) This is what strength shows us in practice. It is the power and compassion that we strive for, but it can be difficult to practice in difficult situations.
Remember that major cards are archetypes. This card often features a saintly figure, but it is not a person. While we cannot ‘live as’ the card, we can tap into their power with work.
You look within to see where you are at the moment, and Strength helps you make sense of all the impulses and chaos you may be experiencing.
Oliver Pickle She Sits in the Night
Strength is that inner strength that can be cultivated and embodied. It’s forgiving someone who has done you wrong. It’s overcoming your lust when it is the right thing for you to do. Instead of getting defensive or angry, it is about being grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow from constructive criticism. It’s choosing to love the person who throws hate and fear at you. Stephen Lawrence’s mother was a great example of this. She preached forgiveness to her son after he had been killed by racists. The Delta Enduring Tarot depicts a transwoman putting on headphones and smiling, while outside bigots wave hateful messages. It’s “We Shall Overcome” and “Still I Rise”. It’s having self-respect and love for the whole world and refusing to be affected by hate and fear.
You are not passive, or a victim. This is someone who accepts. The loving determination to live, love, and be fully yourself, as well as creating space for others, is strength. This card celebrates emotional labor and highlights the power of this often overlooked, but important work.
It’s my opinion, the most difficult challenge in the tarot. To bring love into a world filled with fear and hate. To be a part of compassionate, love-led resistance. This takes real strength.
Advice from Strength
Strength wants you to confront your fears, anger, greed, pain and fear. These things are part of your life. It asks you to recognize them and take ownership. To pour love over them. To ‘tame’ them so your loving heart can take control. Strength reminds those who are struggling with addiction that they do have the power to conquer it. But first, one must love themselves enough to make that decision. Strength gently reminds you to forgive yourself if you are grieving. Strength will tell you to not get mad if you are angry at the injustices of the world. You can create change by spreading love in the world.
If passion or lust are causing you to make wrong choices, Strength will remind you what is most important to you and encourage you to not self-sabotage. This card is not anti lust or passion. This card is designed to help you overcome lust when it can cause damage to what you love. Be honest with yourself. Pay attention to the ones that are going to make you feel miserable. Give them love and try to override them. You love and respect your self too much to allow those “wilder” aspects to dictate your path.
It’s easy to allow the darkest parts of yourself to lead the way. This makes it easy to react out of fear to the world. You can be defensive about something. If you are hurt, angry, or bitter. Face the ‘beast’ within you. There are shadows in all of us, and there is no hiding them. The ‘high path’ is what you are being encouraged to follow. What can you do to be the most loving person right now? What can you do to show love in a time of pain?
We have the option to choose to let these parts of us rule our lives. You can choose to forgive. Forgiving others can help us to forgive them for our mistakes or their pain. We can forgive others for their mistakes and the pain they cause.
It is a sign of strength, which can be compared to the Empress. It is the people who care, listen, support, and carry others. It honors their courage and tenacity, and the value often overlooked of what they do.
Key words and concepts
Courage and inner strength
Love activism, fighting hate and fear with compassion
Emotional labor (and its value).
Love can be inseparable from anger and fear
You can check in with your emotions, and take control of those that are causing you to burn out.
Accepting and loving your’shadow self’
Positive, compassionate choices
Here are some common symbols
Lemniscate/infinity sign (transcendence and magical powers, tapping into higher things)
Lion (the wild beast’ in us, anger and lust, etc.
A woman training a lion to be gentle (love and kindness overrides wild animals)
White clothing = peace, innocence
Flowers (love, care, beauty)
10. The Wheel of Fortune
Your life’s tapestry is being weaved
Who are you entrusted with your life?
This is a huge question. The answer is a complicated mix of many things. Certain privileges were granted to you at birth and they will continue to influence your life choices, decisions, and opportunities. Certain socializations were made for you. You’ve had luck both good and bad. You have made decisions, good and bad. Your life is a rich tapestry, and you aren’t the only one holding a needle or thread.
Life is constantly turning. Seasons change, political parties are up and down, and generations of young people grow up to create new ones. If your luck is good, it will be bad. One leader is elected and then defeated. It’s sunny…and then it rains. This is fate. Is there a reason for everything?
The Wheel of Fortune reveals themes of destiny and fate. No matter whether you believe in free will, or believe that our lives are predetermined for us all, there is always a sense that something is destined to happen. For such moments when everything is in doubt but you feel certain that something is going to happen, the Wheel of Fortune is an excellent card.
Taking responsibility is the main thing. I prefer to view the Wheel of Fortune as an invitation to a discussion about creating change. Grab the steering wheel of your life, and do what you can to steer it. We’ve seen that there are many factors that affect our lives, communities, and the world. It is your job to identify the areas you can make a difference and then focus your energy there.
It is also about the interconnectedness between all things. It’s about the complex ecosystem to which we all belong. This can be a way to see the ecosystem from a distance and view it as a story with many interconnected stories, a tapestry of many different coloured threads that is constantly being woven. You might consider looking back at a particular social issue to see how it fits into a larger history of oppression or understanding the current challenges in your life by considering all of its influences.
Advice from the Wheel of Fortune
When we feel down, it is easy to look at the things that are out of our control. It is easy to complain and hold our hands and feel powerless. The Wheel card isn’t merciless. It bears witness to that fact and acknowledges that there are forces that can affect you in ways that you cannot control. The Wheel of Fortune encourages you to examine your situation carefully and identify the things that you can change. To focus your energy on the positive things. To take control of your life and make the changes you desire.
It’s showing you a confusing intersection between being in flow (change happens. Luck changes) and grasping the wheel (because ultimately you have to do what you can).
The Wheel reminds us of the temporary nature of all things and that nothing lasts forever. It is a humble reminder that good and bad times are part of life, and reminds us that we live in a constant cycle. It’s also encouraging to see the end of difficult times, reminding us that even these things will pass. This type of change, especially the upwards swing, is represented by The Wheel. It can also be considered a card of luck. You can feel certain that something is meant to be if you believe it is.
You should also take its themes of interconnectivity seriously. You are part of the world wide web. This means that you belong and that your actions have consequences. Chaos theory is the belief that every action we take instills energy and influence in this world. You have the power to make change happen and receive it. Your life is a part of a larger narrative.
Key words, concepts
Change is on the horizon
Changes in luck are especially good
Prophecies and predictions
Feeling that something is “destined” to happen
Power dynamics shift
Instead of getting frustrated about what you cannot change, focus on what you can do.
All things are interconnected
The bigger picture
Here are some common symbols
This card is a traditional deck and contains a lot of mythical symbols. They represent the four elements of fire, earth, water and fire, as well as the four fixed signs of the zodiac. Rachel Pollack’s Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom is a great resource for exploring these elements.
The symbol that most represents the eternal turning nature of life is the wheel, or any other rotary symbol.