Trump 8 – Strength

At break of day, the king got up and hurried to the den of lions. When he came near the den where Daniel was, he cried out anxiously to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you faithfully serve been able to deliver you from the lions?” Daniel then said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no wrong.” Then the king was exceedingly glad and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. [Daniel 6:19-23, NRSV]


Rider-Waite Tarot

Strength comes in many different forms, but the Strength card refers to the kind of strength that comes from within.  Historically, this card was called “Fortitude,” which means the strength of mind and emotions we need to endure pain or adversity with courage.  Who doesn’t want that?  The question which remains is “How do we obtain this kind of strength?”

The Rider-Waite version of the card depicts a young maiden gently taming a lion. It brings to mind legends such as Daniel in the Lion’s Den from the Bible and Androcles and the Lion from Aesop’s Fables.  The infinity/lemniscate symbol that floats above her head is the same symbol that floats above the head of the Magician, Trump 1.  In Arthur Waite’s explanation of the meaning of the Magician he says this symbol stands for “the Holy Spirit, the sign of life.” Furthermore, in his explanation of the Strength card he says, “The card has nothing to do with self-confidence in the ordinary sense, though this has been suggested—but it concerns the confidence of those whose strength is God, who have found their refuge in Him.”

It’s clear that Waite understood that while true strength comes from within, it’s source is the Divine Presence.  As a Christian healer and practitioner of magic, this resonates strongly with me.  I am just a vessel through which the powers of the Divine Presence and nature flow.  If I tried to have this kind of strength on my own, I would eventually “run out of juice.”  I believe my calling is to be still, grounded, centered and focused, and allow the Universe to take care of the rest.  Like my Wiccan friends and teachers, I also call upon the Guardians, Ancestors and Elemental Spirits to aid me in my work.  Again, I am much stronger with their help than I could be on my own.


DruidCraft Tarot

That being said, I believe the Strength card is also about us.  When it appears in a reading, it’s a sign that it’s time for us to “put on our big girl panties” and deal with whatever danger, challenge or obstacle is in front of us.  The Strength card is telling us “You can do this!” but it’s going to take some self-discipline in order to pull it off.  Now is NOT the time to go into battle with our guns blazing like the Terminator.  Instead, it’s time for us to channel our “inner Neo” and find a different kind of strength that can confront situations and people that are bigger and stronger than we are.

The DruidCraft version of this card is quite elegant and beautiful.  It portrays a woman in red (a color symbolic of courage, strength and protection) who pets a wild boar like its a little puppy.  It’s a more Euro-centric version of the Strength since lions don’t live in our hemisphere except in zoos.  It’s meaning is essentially the same as the Rider-Waite version of the card.  In the explanation book that comes with the DruidCraft deck, the authors say “You will find the Wild Wisdom that sings in the depths of your soul.”  What a beautiful way to talk about the meaning of this card.

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About David Taliesin

My name is David Taliesin. I'm an writer, teacher and retreat leader who explores the connections between Christian and Pagan Spirituality. E-mail me with any personal comments you'd like to share and I will do my best to answer them. You can also contact me through my Facebook page
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4 Responses to Trump 8 – Strength

  1. oh how powerful this card is for me, it is part of my star constellations along with star and justice, what you wrote” true strength comes from within, it’s source is the Divine Presence. ” is just perfect explanation for what I have been trying to explain to myself it is, thank you for that aha moment this brought to me. I simply adore the Druid Craft tarot and the quote you used “You will find the Wild Wisdom that sings in the depths of your soul.” Is where I am now at this moment , thank you for helping me put it into perspective. Many blessings to you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know you are about in the same situation with Christ and Magick as I , I am still trying to come to terms as exactly what does that mean and how . I know in non Christian magickal thinking that they think in terms of their power, and as a Christ Follower I am trying to figure out what my thinking really should be in this matter, where do I come in and where does Christ, where do I fit in the sceme of things when we are talking about the Divine within, are we two separate beings or are we one , still trying to put into words , what does it mean and where do I fit in , in all of this? any insights would be welcomed, be blessed.


    • I was away on vacation but I appreciate your comment. Some of my understanding of how all this fits together is in my blog. I take my cue from Scott Cunningham and see that we work magic by combining personal power with Divine and natural power. We are the vessel through which this energy flows. Our job is to raise this energy and direct it toward something good. When I cast my circle I call in God, the Great Mystery, Jesus and Sophia, whom I see as the Holy Spirit. I also ask for help from Brigid, who is my patron saint and Goddess. They don’t seem to mind working together!!!! My magical practice is, therefore, a hybrid of ancient Christian tradition and modern Wiccan practice. I know that drives some people in both traditions crazy but it’s what works for me.

      Liked by 1 person

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