Tarot Reflections: Strength

Strength is all about being tough and the aggressor, right? The Strength, or Fortitude, card in the Tarot might disagree, at least at times. Strength can show up in many different ways, and this card allows up to explore that.


Hi, this is Abbey and this week we are talking about the tarot card Strength or Fortitude. Like always I’m going to be doing this using a modified spiritual practice called Lectio Divina which has four steps. Step one, what does this card look like? Step two, what does this card traditionally mean? Step three, What does this card remind me of? Step four, what does this card call me to do?

First off, what does this card look like? In a more traditional Waite Rider, which is what you normally see, it’s a woman and a lion, and she has the infinity symbol over her head, but she’s kind of taming the lion it looks like. In the deck I normally use when I do this, it’s actually called Fortitude. And it’s a man and an angel fighting each other, which comes from a Bible story. So, each one is about a fight or a feeling of power in some way, and overcoming it, modifying it, lessen it in some respect.

Which leads us to question two, what does the card traditionally mean? Well, the card is pretty self-explanatory, it’s about strength. It’s part of the Major Arcana. There are two kind of cards in a Tarot deck and this is the Major Arcana. It’s about overarching issues in ones life, very simply. So this card is about strength, it’s about courage. It’s also about patience. Because strength isn’t always an aggressive- about going in head first, and fists flying. It’s also-talk about connecting with others to give you the strength you need. So you can work together, because often committee can be more strong than an individual.

That’s all to lead into the third question, of what does this card remind me of. This-this question of strength always is a little hard-hard for me because I don’t think of myself as a strong person. I’m physically pretty weak. I have really small wrists and tiny hands, can’t physically be strong in many situations. Like many Americans, I struggle with mental health issues, which means I’m not great at bouncing back after things happen. So I never think of myself as a strong person, but when this card came up what initially came to me was the vacation I had-oh-about six months ago to London. It was a wonderful vacation with the exception of the first five or six days, I was sick, really really sick. And I kept pushing myself and kept going, which I don’t know was the best or smartest thing to do, but I did it. And I eventually ended up in their version of the ER. I distinctly remember- it was about midnight-when the realization hit that we needed to go to the hospital. And of course, for reasons, we had to use public transportation. So my boyfriend and I are figuring out public transportation, that means we have to walk 20 minutes to a train, then ride train for twenty minutes, walk another, like mile to the hospital, be there, and then do the whole thing back at four in the morning. And it was exhausting, but I didn’t really have any other option. I just kept going one step after the next. And there were times I would have to sit down and…not throw up on the side of the road. And it was terrible but I did it. I just kept taking care of myself, and moving forward, and moving forward, and moving forward. And I-that is what I think of often now when I think I don’t have strength. Is that I do, I just don’t have it in the American way, in the way we think of strength. Because Americans really like the idea of that strong leader, the strong person, strong and independent, think of super heroes movies. That’s our narrative in America, but I don’t think that narrative is true of a lot of people. I don’t-not everyone can have that kind of strength, and that strength can actually get you into trouble a lot. So I really appreciated-one thing about this card is also about patience, it’s about allies, it’s not about being the top and aggressor. It’s about strength in all of it’s components. Not just the one tiny definition that we often give to strength.

Which leads me to what does this card call me to do. I think this card, right now, is calling me to remember that there are different kinds of strengths, and sometimes that strength is patience. Sometimes that strength is love and kindness, the gentleness that we don’t normally associate with strength. So it calls me to find and look for strength in all it’s ways in all its people. I do think we all carry some strength even if it’s not the normal definition of strength.

So that is the major arcana card of the Tarot Strength or Fortitude. I would love to hear what you think strength is. What are your strength stories. And if you enjoyed this video please subscribe. I’ll be back next week with another tarot reflection. Bye.

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