“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently.”
- Maya Angelou
Associations / Attributions
Card Meanings / Keywords
Courage, Strength, Fortitude, Power.
Power, energy, action, courage, complete success. Reversed: Despotism, weakness, abuse of power.
Courage, strength, energy, action, use of magical power.
The trump of the fiery, lion-hearted Leo can be both courageous and reckless. The two most famous depictions of this card—one from the Waite-Smith tarot and one from the Thoth tarot—give a good feeling to the kinds of strength this image offers. On the one hand, there is a quiet and calm certainty of a woman entering into and subduing the roar of the lion. She is unshaken by the task at hand. On the other hand, there is the ostentatious riding of the beast, actively claiming its power as a vehicle for her own will. Both relate to the necessary presence of the feminine to fully harness the solar power (represented through the masculine) which—left unchecked—proclaims itself the king of beasts. Another way to see this is the harmonious balance of our divine and angelic nature harnessing the power of the body, the “beast” and our highly developed instincts for surviving and thriving in this physical world.
There are strong resonances with the mythic figure of Sekhmet—the Egyptian goddess depicted as a lioness or with a lion’s head. She is known as the “eye of Ra”, an emanation or aspect of the solar god. Her strength and ferocity in battle was legendary…and unstoppable by direct challenge. Left unchecked she can be a horrible force of directionless destruction. However, if approached with wisdom, she can be a great guardian, protector, and hunter, as a mother lion to her cubs. In this same way, Strength offers great energy and power—the power of the sun and fire—but it must be balanced, contained, or directed by a calming influence of great heart lest it relish in self-absorbed destruction for the sake of pride.
Strength can invite immense energy, especially physical vitality. When this card appears in a reading, look for a source of strength that can be harnessed by gentle certainty or by riding and directing its power.
I am the angel who calms passion when it threatens to eat us alive
I am the Great Lady who brings bright blood when life requires vitality
I am the upward and downward flaming heart of desire
I am the Eye of Ra descended
Courage, magnanimity, and strength
Stalk the boundaries of Eden
How may I claim and direct my power? Where do I find the courage of calm certainty? What might I be destroying for the sake of pride?