October 6th, Tarot Card of the Week: Strength Reversed

Today’s card of the week was drawn in reverse (upside down) and I am so glad we have the chance to dive deeper into the lower polarities* of this card in particular. Often reversed cards can disappoint or even scare a seeker of the Tarot, but this does not need to be so. On the contrary, a reversed card invites us to investigate what is truly occurring within ourselves and can guide us back to center.

According to the Rider Waite deck, Strength is the eighth card of the Major Arcana. This numbering is not always consistent across decks, but I particularly like the significance of the “8” with Strength. A woman stands in white, gently holding the mouth of a lion beside her. Notice the infinity sign above the figure’s head, an 8 turned on its side. Where else have we seen this symbol in this deck? The Magician, of course.

Here in the Strength card we witness the female magician at work. Standing beneath that symbol of sacred circulation—the constant flow between the internal forces of dark and light—she has the strength to both open and close the lion’s mouth at will.

It is important to note the duality: she opens and closes. Strength is not one-sided. We are not always intended to close the mouth of our shadow side, after all this Strength card is ruled by Leo, a masterful voice of expression. Rather, let us stand beneath that symbol of infinite rhythm, and know that sometimes our true strength is about keeping still to learn our lessons and sometimes it is about turning up the dial to voice exactly what we desire. With this card reversed, stay close to the true nature of strength. Act with compassion to your “self” and you will cultivate all the strength you need.

*Every card in the Tarot, be it from the Major or Minor Arcana has higher and lower polarities. This means that each card contains the dual nature of that archetype or situation. You can liken a card’s polarities to a chakra’s state of being open or closed. The Tarot tell us in a reading if we are engaging the higher or lower significations of a card. We are not to fear one over the other.

Carolyn Agis reads and teaches Tarot at Maha Rose, Brooklyn's Healing Center in Greenpoint. She is available for walk-in readings on Thursdays, 2-6 pm.

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