Although the first tarot decks did not assign numbers to the major arcana, in the 1600’s the French Marseilles decks began to assign numerical order to the cards whereby VIII was given to the major arcana card Justice and XI to Strength. However in 1909, the classic Rider Waite Smith deck was the first to reverse that order and many decks today assign the VIII to the Strength archetype.
In the card Strength we often see a woman taming a lion, as a symbol of our journey to take control over our animal instincts, our personality defects, the parts of ourselves that hold us back. This is not to say that the lion as a life form needs to be dominated by humans, but that the part of humans that is unconscious and reactive must be brought into line.
The Thoth deck renames this card Lust XI. It speaks of the gentle acceptance of our base instincts and devoting ourselves energetically to our work. How can we allow love to flow directly through us without becoming diverted by impulsive instincts and reactions? This is the time for an important transformation, to take what is waste matter and alchemise it into gold for the development of the soul.
In the Motherpeace deck Strength is subtitled ‘Finding Magical Helpers’ and speaks of finding a grounded and centred way to experience life’s energy. Tune in to the animal kingdom all around you, the rocks and stones, plants, trees, lakes and rivers. Open yourself to the power of creative manifestation by visualising what you really need at this time, be it a home, a job or a lover, hold that vision in your heart and trust that you can bring it into the physical plane. Believe in magic and help it come into form in what ever practical way necessary.
Book of Thoth. Aleister Crowley.
Mother Peace. Vicky Noble. HarperSanFransisco. 1983.