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.

Compassionate activism

What does it mean to be’strength? This isn’t 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 acted upon. 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 this 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

Dignified resistance

Emotional labor (and its value).


Love in the face 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)