Lesson 18 – Strength

Today I’m standing at the front of the class and reminiscing.  For me to talk about this card begins with what it isn’t…

strength lioness oracleOn the day we started at secondary school they sat us in the hall and told us about Douglas Bader.  Like him we were to reach for the skies.  There were no limits to what we would achieve.  We were told (it was a girls’ school) we were as good as boys and anything they could do we could do better.  It was the era of Margaret Thatcher, the “iron lady”, huge shoulder pads and Filofaxes, you’ve got to strive to succeed, no slacking. Be a “strong” woman (i.e. like a stereotypical man…)

I also thought strength was about military stuff.  I grew up in a military family.  It’s a bit like the water your goldfish swims in, it doesn’t question the water,  it just swims, held and surrounded.  So guns and knives and things (to quote Dougal in the Magic Roundabout) were part of life; parades, uniforms, an awareness of conflict.  The army fed me.

There comes a point in life when that way of doing strong doesn’t work.  Bashing each other with sticks on any level isn’t going to make for harmonious surroundings and limits our life chances.  And pushing to be “strong” and succeed in those terms can leave us burned out and broken.

strength GWT

But I digress…turn to your primer (in this case, a deck of cards) and pull out your strength card.  Take a good long look.  What do you see? Call it out and I’ll write it on the board…

Lion.  Red flowers or roses.  A woman.  A child.  Infinity.  Blood. Yellow eyes.  Wisdom. Serenity.

For me this is the card of the end place.  It is what you find in the darkness when things get worse than you could ever imagine, and then a bit more.  It is the strength of the wild self, at the limits of the known.  The moon-wrought steel forged through pain, in body, mind or heart.  And it is the ability to stay soft even though you’re now a member of the scar clan. The woman is me, some version of me, the lion my wild self, they are together, at peace. Strength through love and compassion.

Exercise 18

Ideas for exploring this card…

  • What has made you stronger?
  • How do you connect to your strength?
  • Where do you expereince strength in your body?
  • Create a collage about strength or collage your own version of this card.
  • Write a song or create a playlist which speaks of the strength you see in this card…

strength gaian

[ Images (in order) from The Lioness Oracle Tarot, The Green Witch Tarot and The Gaian Tarot]

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