Notes on Strength
(Soothing the Beast Within)
Four Pillars Society Tarot by Gary Rosenberg (GAR) and Nyxsaurius Fallsong
Many, if not all of us have a pit of snakes somewhere in our psyche Buried within our recesses is a snakepit of passion and desire. It does no good to suppress it because one way or another the crazy will come out. If we don’t exhibit it ourselves, we will draw others into our lives who will exhibit and act it out for us or find ourselves in moments of unreality where we do or say things that we would typically never say or do.
This passionate, insane part of ourselves is a necessary part of our makeup, Indeed it is the generative force of life itself and life will out. It is also the whisper of the shadowed self that we must one day learn to incorporate and utilize in healthy ways.
About the Archetype:
What does it mean to master the inner self? Does it mean that we clamp down on our every wayward thought, habit, and desire? I have met many people like that and they tend to resemble time bombs or pressure valves that will one day lead to a disastrous explosion. We cannot find that kind of inner control by repression. For one thing, it becomes way too easy to lose sight of that which we are suppressing in the first place and to realize what it is our will and/or desire to do
True Strength comes from the shadow work of examining our feelings and hunger in a loving and compassionate way. It means finding places and situations where we may do this safely. By giving reign to these passions, we learn to name them and work with them and use them. Our wants, desires, and wounds that need to be healed are seldom the problem. It is the way we treat them that tends to make them into uncontrollable demons that terrify us. It takes strength and courage to face our demons and find that they may become our greatest allies.
In his Thoth deck, Aleister Crowley calls this card Lust. Many people are afraid of the strengths of their lusts. They want or need things that they feel they have to keep secret and lose sight of why and how they lust. The satisfaction of our desires can lead to an ecstatic union with our inner selves if we allow them to. There are always ways to do this that do not involve harming others or ourselves. In this way, we come to wisdom and greater self-confidence and mastery than any we have known before.
Leo(♌︎)-The Leo energy has an immense self of itself and its power. It is as enthusiastic and courageous as its symbol the Lion. It is ruled by the sun and takes its pride of place in leadership and holds it through its sense of dignity and honor. The Leo energy is great for friendship but needs to know it has control. It likes to have the spotlight and can be very dramatic. Leo has an immense capacity for enjoyment of life in all of its forms but wants to both make it fun for everyone and wants everyone to know that it comes from its largesse. Leo is amazing at group dynamics especially when it is at the head of the pack. Leo has an innovative energy and dislikes few things as much as routine.
In a Reading:
When the Strength card turns up in a reading, it may indicate that it is at a time when we feel that the querent has things under control. Things that have been stressful have been mastered and the querent has confidence in their ability to deal with anything that may come up. The card may also indicate that there have been inner struggles that have been resolved not through brute force or repression but with compassion towards themselves and others. Perhaps the querent is undergoing some form of inner test where they are attempting to master either addiction or some perceived weakness. The Strength card could be leading them towards the hunger that the weakness is feeding and show that they have it within themselves to satiate the hunger without the addictive behaviour. This leads to true mastery of the situation rather than repression. If this is a present struggle then the querent can be assured that this mastery will come in time and that they will find the inner strength they need. The Strength card can also indicate that the querent needs to present a stronger more self-assured face to the world.
Inversed or badly aspected, the Strength card may show that the querent feels weak and that they can no longer continue the struggle. They may feel like they are the victims of their inner demons and lack confidence. It may indicate addictive behaviour that has been triggered in some way or it may represent a long-term struggle. The Strength card reversed may indicate that they are in a relationship that is destructive and where the passion is out of control in a negative sense. The querent may need to be reminded of struggles they have overcome in the past and mastered and need to be more compassionate towards themselves.
Where there is light an equal shadow must exist. This edict was made after an event called the first grief. What caused this event was the loss of an existential anchor for the Spider of Fate. This cast a great shadow over half of that existence till the Tiger of Chance quelled it through extensive measures.
We all face our inner demons at some point. The Tiger of Chance taught that, not only forgiving but making peace with this shadow grants one even greater strength. It isn’t always easy but that is the point, if one does not know the struggle they will never know the value of the strength they have. So when those hard times come, embrace it as you would a wave, let it overcome you. This is because like any tide it cant last forever and will eventually recede and take the part you no longer need with it.