Strength is number 8 of the Major Arcana tarot cards and depicts a woman taming a lion through the application of subtle force. This tarot card represents our ability to face our own unconscious nature and the traits we would prefer to disavow with gentle compassion and grace so that our inner, authentic self can emerge.
Strength is associated with the element of Fire and the zodiacal sign of Leo, which is symbolized by the lion and connected to the heart—the seat of our passions, emotions, and drives. The Leo zodiac sign is associated with the ability to be loving, open-hearted, and generous, and Lady Strength uses these virtues in service of her self-exploration and the discovery of her inner truths and inner self.
Her number 8 is pictured above her head as a symbol of infinity and can be seen as a representation of the feedback loop between her conscious and unconscious mind, which allows her to attain self-mastery. It speaks to the continual, habitual process of self-reflection, which lays the foundation for inner strength.
facing one’s shadow, compassionate strength, domination over fear, self-mastery
force, stubbornness, passivity, fear
Description of Strength Tarot Card
The Strength card is number 8 and begins Line 2 of the tarot deck’s Major Arcana. Following the development of mastery over one’s environment pictured in The Chariot, Strength represents a shift towards examining our inner world and mastering our inner power. If Line 1 describes the formation and development of the ego, Line 2 describes the emerging awareness and confrontation with our unconscious, instinctive, irrational nature and animal instincts, which is depicted in Strength as the need to befriend our inner wild animal.
In the Rider Waite Smith tarot deck, the woman in Strength is pictured outdoors, which echoes the natural landscape of The Empress and suggests that her domain is the uncivilized, raw aspect of the psyche. The lion represents her inner irrational nature, and their mutual gaze indicates that she’s in conversation with this aspect of herself. She appears to be taming this creature through the use of gentle force.
She’s connected to The Magician through the roses that adorn her white dress (symbolizing the intermixing of passion and purity) as well as through the lemniscate (or figure 8) that hovers above her head, which signifies her connection to the eternal. Whereas The Magician represents mastery over one’s consciously directed will, Strength represents mastery over one’s internal wilderness.
Strength Upright Meaning
In the upright position of a tarot reading, Strength reflects your ability or desire to engage with unconscious material, which may be difficult to face but which you are emotionally equipped for. It represents the need to draw on one’s inner strength and courage to face whatever is preventing you from expressing and embodying your true nature.
Like The Magician, Lady Strength possesses magical powers: the power to control nature. Her magic is not performed with a wand, however—it’s enacted through the establishment of mutual trust with a wild creature. Her power is in her connection to her deep self, her courage in facing the truth that lies in the shadows, and the strength and self-confidence she displays in transforming this energy for good.
She shows us that we can shape our life more purposefully when we are in touch with the undercurrents that are subtly directing us from behind the veil of our conscious awareness. She reminds us that our own inner strength is an endlessly renewable resource and that when we call on it to transform ourselves from within, we do so in service to our greatest truth and freedom.
Love and Relationships (Upright Meaning)
In the upright position of a tarot spread, Strength can indicate that you’re embodying a compassionate and loving presence within a relationship. Love is prevailing, and there is a sense of being able to rise above a difficult situation through grace, strength, and self-control. Your deep self-knowledge and self-acceptance are positive assets within your relationship or love life, and they allow you to relate with awareness of your own unconscious attitudes and desires.
It can signal that there are ongoing issues that require sensitive and delicate handling of raw emotions, or difficult emotional material, and that you possess the ability to work through these challenges and transform them into a strong foundation for love. This is a continual process of self-reflection and dialogue leading to growth, emotional stability, and self-love.
Career and Finance (Upright Meaning)
In the upright position, Strength suggests that you’re confronting the limiting beliefs, fears, self-esteem issues, or anxieties around your career or finances and working to heal the feelings that keep you feeling small and not in control. It takes perseverance and fortitude to examine these fears honestly and to focus on creating a career that represents your authentic self-expression.
You could be learning how to make choices that are in your best interests despite the fears, doubts, or uncertainty present. This is an ongoing process that continually puts you in touch with your inner strength and your determination to craft a career, or your own business, that’s in alignment with your highest self.
Love/Relationship upright keywords
Career/finance upright keywords
self-knowledge, love and compassion, confronting challenges
perseverance, determination, acting in one’s best interests
Strength Reversed Meaning
In the reversed position, Strength suggests that fear may be dominating and controlling your actions and that this is having an outsized impact on the choices you’re making. If you’re letting fear guide your decisions, this card is a reminder that confronting your inner fears is the key to your liberation.
This card can also speak to a sense of paralysis, either because you have become too rigid or, alternatively, overly passive. Strength wants to remind you to let emotions flow through you and to work with them productively rather than allow them to cause you to fight, flee, or freeze. It can symbolize the need to create a safe space to examine your innermost feelings with gentle compassion. When you connect to your heart, you can transmute fear into courage and anxiety into acceptance.
The lion represents the raw, primal force of our own emotions, which have the power to consume and control us. But if we approach the lion with love and allow it to speak, it can be the voice of the truth which energizes us towards embodying the fullness of who we are.
Love and Relationships (Reversed Meaning)
In the reversed position of a love tarot reading, Strength suggests that the principle of force and control has become excessive, creating an oppressive feeling within a relationship. Conversely, it can indicate that the uncontrolled expression of emotions has become chaotic and destabilizing and that the relationship may benefit from corralling emotional outbursts into productive conversations.
It can also indicate that you are having difficulty being vulnerable with another, and this could be preventing you from creating the intimacy you desire. If you’re masking your tenderness with bravado, this card suggests that there is wisdom in acknowledging our fears but choosing to act from a place of confidence and emotional bravery, regardless of the outcome.
Career and Finance (Reversed Meaning)
The Strength card can appear reversed when you’ve become mired in self-doubt, wondering if you possess the strength and ability to bring your dreams to life. You could be focused on criticizing yourself and allowing your fears to keep you small. The voice of your inner critic could feel like an immense burden or weight that keeps you second-guessing yourself and your path.
It can also suggest that your current career or profession is somehow out of alignment with your true needs and is an encouragement to have the courage to claim your truth and to pursue what you authentically desire. It’s a reminder that you possess the strength to form new empowering beliefs that are supportive of what you genuinely aspire to create in your profession or career.
Love/relationship reversed keywords
Money/career reversed keywords
controlling, emotional outbursts, bravado
self-doubt, self-criticism, new empowering beliefs