Thursday, April 9, 2009

Daily Draw - Strength

This is probably the most unusual Strength card I have ever seen. There is no lion, no ferocious cat, no feminine figure softly subduing him with her gentle touch.

What there is a lonely man, surrounded by horrific items. Bones lay about, even those of a tiny angel. One of the skeletons points accusingly at the man. One angel looks on in compassion, and another sends her healing to him through her hands. A third angel holds back evil spirits, and another simply ignores him. The LWB says this man is trapped in the tower of his mind, forced to face the dark parts of himself.

I can't think of anything we need more Strength for than that. Yet he prays, he moves forward, he looks at these ugly things, these things that he has done, and he acknowledges them, but he does not let them become who he is. He is being healed and protected by his guardian angels.

The LWB relates the figure as Bernard of Clairvaux, a French abbot. He preached the Second Crusade, an action I can well imagine he feels remorse for in this scene. Adoration and communion is what God desires, not killing in His name.

I have made so many mistakes in my life, and sometimes the same one more than once. Am I strong enough to learn from them, heal, and let go? Or am I going to stay in that dark tower of the soul?

To be honest, I prefer the bright, sunshine-y image we see in the Radiant Rider Waite. I can relate to that feminine figure, and I can wish to be like her, exerting her will through compassion and love, emerging victorious. But not all victories look like that, and not all battles are fought outside. Some of the most important ones take place within ourselves. I will remember today to treat myself gently as I face some of my self inflicted demons. We often speak to ourselves in ways we would be horrified to speak to another person, but yelling at our inner selves is about as productive as yelling at a child, and just as damaging. We shrink from ourselves when we start that nasty inner dialogue, but there is nowhere to hide. That mean, cruel voice we sometimes use with ourselves causes us to freeze, to not be able to move forward, for fear of recrimination.

When dealing with tarot for self discovery, I have found that most often the figures on the cards relate to different aspects of self. I feel tender and bruised inside right now, and I want to be treated with love and compassion, but I have to do that for myself first and foremost, be my own angel, so to speak, so that I can have an abundance of those things to share with the people I interact with, in turn.

These images are from the Templar Tarot by Allen Chester, and Radiant Rider Waite for US Games.


  1. Very interesting Strength card, accompanied by equally interesting thoughts. It looks like grace is coming in the shape of the white dove flying in through the window. Why is it so difficult to be compassionate towords self when we need it the most? Why do we seem to almost forget that grace exist? xx

  2. Interesting strength card. I think we forget to be compassionate to ourselves because it is considered selfish. Plus we are taught to put everyone first. But if we all nurtured ourselves maybe the world would just be a better place.

  3. That very unusal Strength card reminds me more than ever of our struggle to control those conflicting forces that exsit within us. Yet to also remain open to those messages of our unconscious while we still try to remain quietly in control, regain the wisdom to look at ourselves with a calmness of mind in order to understand ourselves better. Why we are the way we are? Why do we sometimes do things that only we, not others, find it hard to forgive ourselves for? Strength does seem to gain her strength from facing that Lion within.

    This is for you just in case you need it ((((Manda)))

    I like this card very much Manda

  4. Lisa - good eye! I had not even noticed the dove. Of course, I DO need new glasses, haha.

    You are probably right, Sherry *hugs*

    Thank you, Helen! I will always take a hug!