11 – Strength

11 - Strength.jpeg

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. There are many incredible websites that offer traditional meanings and correspondences. 

When you think of the word “strength,” what comes to mind? Is it a grandmother who fed and clothed her family through the depression? Is it a child who is overcoming unimaginable challenges? Is it someone who displays traditional physical strength? In the tarot, the Strength card reflects a deep level of emotional mastery.

In many decks, the Strength card depicts a woman gently closing a lion’s mouth. This reminds us that true strength can be gently harnessed and effectively expressed with loving care. While we often think of lions as ferocious, and they certainly are, there is quiet, deeper energy at work in these magnificent animals that is worth remembering when this card comes up. Where in the Chariot, we saw a need to outwardly take charge, Strength asks us to use the power within us in a patient, composed way. Emotional intelligence is demonstrated in the ability to feel intensely passionate while having the capacity to express ourselves in a focused and articulate way. For many of us this is no easy task but quietly influencing others is a powerful tool!

This card is a valuable lesson for those of us delving into our shadows. It may be helpful to make a list of situations where you have found your emotions getting the best of you. When was the last time you really lost it?  Does this tend to happen with certain people in your life or is it seemingly random? What are the topics that really get your blood boiling? Often the root of our outburst comes from somewhere deeper within–an emotional injury that has been left unhealed. The raw emotion that you feel can be helpful if wielded correctly. Many memorable humanitarians mastered this skill and changed history.

In shadow work, we discover that often our intense reactions to someone’s behavior or comments stems from shame we carry about our own thoughts or actions from the past. This is one of the most challenging and bitter pills to swallow but it is profoundly freeing and lends itself to lasting personal growth. It certainly takes strength to face this side of ourselves but it is integral to self-love and our own spiritual evolution. What does your lion look like?

“The lion who breaks the enemy’s ranks is a minor hero compared to the lion who overcomes himself.”
Rumi

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Until our paths cross again…

08 – Justice

08 - justice (1)

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. There are many incredible websites that offer traditional meanings and correspondences. 

If you are a proponent of the Rider-Waite-Smith system, you might have expected Strength to be in the eighth position. We will roll with the traditional order as it has been used by this deck, The Wild Unknown.

What does truth and Justice mean to you? The Justice card will have you examining this in your life in some way. The interesting thing about our own truth is that it is likely to change as we discover blind spots we didn’t know we had. In itself, this is one of the most effective ways we can grow as humans! It is exciting and can actually be quite freeing to realize that your perspective is limited and begin to approach differing viewpoints from yours from a curious place rather than an argumentative one (but this muscle can take a lot of work). We have so much to learn from each other!

The interesting thing about the Justice card is that it often refers to a more karmic, Lord of the Flies, kind of integrity, rather than the man-made law we are familiar with. One of the more memorable references to this is visited in Kim Huggens’ book, Tarot 101. She shares a story about King Solomon and a dispute he resolved between two women who both claimed to be the biological mothers of an infant. These women both presented their arguments–claiming to love the child more than anything,–and both were equally convincing, so Solomon presented a solution: they would cut the baby in two and each woman would receive one half. At this point, one woman threw herself before the King and insisted that the other woman have the child rather than allowing any harm come to him (inadvertently proving that she was the true mother). Although this is a harsh example, it is certainly unforgettable!

In this way, the Justice card may ask you to examine how karmic law would observe the way you conduct yourself in your daily life. We can all use tune-ups sometimes! More specifically, how do you make decisions when no one is looking? Are you kind to those who are the most difficult to show compassion to? Even if you do not subscribe to the spiritual beliefs surrounding karma, if you are kind in your dealings, when the time comes that you need gentleness, it will be there.

Fairness is in the eye of the beholder. What does fairness mean to you? I invite you to journal about the word “fairness” and “justice.” What is your initial response to these terms? Is there a time in your life where you feel that you were treated unjustly? How did that affect you long-term? Can you bring to mind a time when you treated someone unfairly and could have handled things differently?

This card is all about balance. We do not always present our best selves in decision-making, but through intermittent evaluation and self-examination, we can consistently improve. If we know we have been operating at a lower integrity level than we are capable of we can change the channel. That is often when we do our best spiritual work.

“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh

Until our paths cross again…

 

 

07 – The Chariot

07 - the chariot

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. There are many incredible websites that offer traditional meanings and correspondences. 

The Chariot reminds us that at every stage in our lives we are on a journey but not all of our journey reflects the fire in our bellies that we find ourselves battling for, or on behalf of.

I once asked an enlightened friend how to better frame the idea of “trigger warnings,” as to me, that very term raised my hackles up. She shared that when she wanted to offer caution to someone in a more positive way, she described that the feeling of being “triggered” is actually you calling in your guardians. I think this is a much more appealing idea and also reflects where we are going with this card.

The Chariot represents your willpower, your confidence, and the things that “bring in your guardians.” Do you find yourself ready to fight for our four-legged companions? Perhaps you have the inner drive to be a warrior for children’s rights. Maybe you naturally gravitate towards ensuring immigrants are cared for. Whatever it is that has always been your default battle, this is something vital to who you are.

When this card comes up, it is an indication that you are right to be courageous and stay your course, but you must believe in yourself and your convictions. For example, you may have been considering starting your own organization in support of a cause that is closest to your heart, but you have been feeling the pull between being practical and following your passions (in The Chariot card, there are often two or more horses trying to pull the chariot in different directions). This is your time to grab the reins and hold strong to your path, despite the doubt others may throw in your way.

I invite you to journal a theme that has come up throughout your life. It may be in the form of arguments you find yourself having or situations where you feel called to defend someone or something. How have you presented your views? How were they received? Do you recall conversations that immediately brought your energy and excitement up?

Often, even with our best intentions, our passions take over our communication skills and we risk scaring someone away from our cause, rather than raising their interest and possibly getting them on board. One example of this would be some of the well-known animal rights campaigns. While these campaigns certainly grab our attention, the more shocking ones upset those who are already living a cruelty-free lifestyle and do not get through to those who likely need to assess their choices. After you have a look at this, think about how you can move forward in a more productive way and possibly integrate this passion into your life, and even career.

Although The Chariot can refer to that which drives our passion in life, it is also an overview of our journey aka, “The Fool’s Journey.” It can also be quite literal and refer to travel and road trips, but for our purposes, considering the metaphorical path may illuminate how true we are being to what our soul is searching for. What do we want our quest and our journey to really be about, and what focused action do we need to take to get there? Where can we begin?

“Intuition goes before you, showing you the way. Emotion follows behind, to let you know when you go astray. Listen to your inner voice. It is the calling of your spiritual GPS system seeking to keep you on track towards your true destiny.”
― Anthon St. Maarten

Until our paths cross again…