Hello and welcome to TaoCraft Short Sip: Tarot contemplation in the time it takes to sip from your coffee.
Today’s card is Strength from the major arcana.
This card is easy to sum up with the adage “He who conquers others has force. He who conquers himself has strength.” There are dozens of different iterations for the quote just as there are I have no idea how many different translations of the Tao Te Ching. The same basic concept exists in Zen, Buddhism, the Bhagavad Gita and probably every school of thought or organization that espouses personal growth and self development. As we’ve seen with the recent war in Europe, personal strength is far more rare and far more valuable than raw political or military power.
That kind of personal growth, self-development, and strength of character is exactly what this card is always about.
While we all agree that this is a valued thing, it all falls apart when we start trying to figure out how to do it.
The title “Tao Te Ching” has been as been translated a variety of ways including the way of Virtue. Virtue means lot of different things to lots of different people. That is the point where interpreting the Strength card gets dicey. It’s not the what that’s the problem, it’s the how.
So how do we become better people? What IS a good person?
Books, religions, entire philosophies have been dedicated to just exactly that, and we sure as heck aren’t going to solve anything here.
When the Strength card comes along it might just be validating the strengths you have. It might be validating the strength choices you’ve made or the importance of a decision that you are pondering. Regardless of the context, the Strength card always reminds us to do the right thing, the difficult thing, the strong thing, not the easy or cowardly thing. It’s no accident that lions are iconic and used in many many Tarot decks for this card. To put it in Disney terms, this is a card that asks you to be Mufasa, not Scar.
But on second thought, maybe the how of inner strength isn’t so hard after all. Look at the woman figure on the card that seems to be tending to the lion.
Maybe a little Zen Taoist Hakuna Matata is the key. As always, it is the present moment to the rescue. Harmonize with your nature as it is to find your path to strength.
Nurture the strengths you already have. Restrain the flaws you already have. This strengthens (aka conquers) the inner self.
Thank you so much for listening! I’ll see you at the next sip.
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