I don’t think I have quite read anything ever about ‘strength’ that has struck a chord with me. So often, strength displayed by people, seems to be a facade that covers up a hidden wound. It is a parade, a flamboyance, that is a cry for attention rather than an element of vigour and quiet resilience, which is how I understand the trait in its most raw form. But yesterday, I read this post on a human element that most do not categorize in the same emotional world as strength; but it struck a chord with me.
Strength is not drawn from repression. Or from the incidence of being slighted. Strength cannot be developed based on foregoing. Strength does not lie in defence, and certainly not in offence. Strength has no fragility of ego- as defined as an artificial, unsure sense of self-image. Strength has nothing to do with with secrets. In fact, secrets provoke provocation. They ask for probing. Strength can lay it all bare; and as hard as it is to believe, it garners either reverence from those who share it, or is perceived with a tinge of intimidation. Not everybody is ready to relate. The strong realize it.
However, strength has all to do with vulnerability. It is sensitive. It knows its power, and is therefore discriminating in its usage. Strength is, therefore, protection of balance. There is no tendency of avoidance. Or indulgence. A person’s strength can never be threatening. It is an embodiment of benevolence and nourishment. There is, however, the ability to simply be. To adapt. Least resistance, due to a lack of fear of what-coulds and what-ifs. It is mutable, willing, and able. To accept what is dealt by the state of things, and deal with it. With grace, in utmost.
In all, strength lies in the realization of its manifestation, thereby making it more pronounced.
The Strength Tarot Card (image above) is one such interpretation of the trait, if it can be called so. The last time I studied it, the interpretation of the card couldn’t move me at a level that understanding usually brings along with it. But now, in retrospect, it is the perfect imagery of the way I perceive it. The woman, in all her grace and feminine reservation, is persisting in keeping the lion’s mouth shut. The lion here, is a symbol of pompous arrogance. The need to put on a show of strength, where the energy of it has not been comes to terms with, and therefore, not mastered. But why would the woman want to have anything to do with such a thing at all? Because she recognizes the splendor of the moment in which she comes out as not a master, or a victim, but the possessor of the shared energy that she has helped tame by diving into what seemed, initially, like a challenge.
The hovering lemniscate is perhaps the most important takeaway from this representation. It symbolizes constancy. The perpetual back-and-forth of the interaction, where there is an inter-exchange and blurring of causation and effect. The lion, without its interaction with the woman, couldn’t have managed to temper the tempest within, and gain wisdom. The latter, with the potency of her wisdom, recognized the energy of vigour and forcefulness, and couldn’t have shared in the lion’s reserve of it, had she refused to dive into it head-first, as is signified by her holding the lion’s mouth from a frontal approach, as opposed to a covert attack. The lemniscate indicates the precondition of balance and its continued reassertion (infinity, if you will) for the birth of true strength.