I keep drawing this card (it's one of my favorites) and it seems fitting for all of us since we’re currently in such a strong retrograde period (5 planets currently in retrograde). When a planet retrogrades, it appears that the planet is moving backward in the sky. Backward movement can look like setbacks but really it’s an opportunity to regroup, revisit, realign (look back) at what you’ve been doing. It’s an opportunity to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t and set the stage to make changes. We are also coming up on a new moon in the sign of Taurus (May 6). New moons are powerful times to set intentions and seek clarity. The retrogrades and the upcoming new moon provide a beautiful opportunity to work out the kinks in your life so that you can fortify and move forward, stronger and more capable.
Which brings us to this Tarot card, Strength. This is a Major Arcana card which means that it is a “bigger picture” card. Major Arcana won’t necessarily refer to the minor details and day to day, rather they function as theme cards, so this is perfect for where we’re at.
There are 2 kinds of strength, true strength, and false strength. False strength is the kind we typically utilize on a day to day basis. It tends to be motivated by uncomfortable emotions like anger and defiance. False strength is a necessary attribute when you really think about it, because it helps us to set every day boundaries and it helps us to get things done. On the spectrum of strength though, false strength is actually pretty weak, because it requires a huge amount of effort.
Real strength comes from a source within us of deep will and passion. It’s the kind of strength that helps us get through tragedies and heartbreaks, that sees us through our darkest hours. It’s a quality of strength that is so deep and so inherent that if you sense into it, what you’ll be able to feel is something akin to roots grown deep into the earth, that naturally hold you up. Real strength feels like support. It helps you make decisions that need to be made and it will lead your way towards the kind of meaningful life you want to lead.
In this card, we see a beautiful maiden with her hand in the mouth of a lion. She carries no whip, no weapon. She's simply leaning in, wearing her sash of flowers and gently caressing the lion. This is how true strength works. It isn’t about yelling and demanding. It isn’t about using your physicality or weapons and fighting your way into a place of power. It’s slow and steady. It’s calm and discerning. True strength is what you use to master the situation, when you are truly powerful.
There’s an infinity sign above the head of the maiden which speaks to the alchemy involved in developing your sense of personal power; enabling the move from a place of using false strength to get your needs met, into a place of real strength. It’s very easy to default to less effective ways of getting what you want. Passive aggressiveness, brute strength, intimidation, manipulation, martyrdom and guilt, these are all avenues that can get you what you want, but they fall under the umbrella of false strength. True strength has nothing to do with manipulation; rather it comes from knowing what you want and need, stepping into your power, asking for it and attaining it.
Use this retrograde period and upcoming new moon to consider where in your life you’re using false strength to get what you want. If you find that your true strength isn't very accessible to you, what needs to happen for you to begin to cultivate it? Perhaps you have areas in your life where your boundaries aren't as firm as they could be, places where you find yourself saying yes when what you really mean is no. Perhaps you’ve become accustomed to being a little passive aggressive or otherwise manipulative in order to get your needs met? Perhaps you don't even know what it is you really want.
In order to shift your way of being in the world, into something that feels good and clear and strong, you need to take time to become aware and recognize your personal responsibility around the things in your life that make you feel bad, foggy and weak. Use this time over the next few months to shine a light on your defeating behaviors. As you do this, you move closer to being able to access true strength.
As always, if you need help finding your true strength, I am currently taking private clients. Sign up for a clarity call here (scroll to the bottom of the page for the form) and we can see if we’re a good fit for each other.