Strength represents everything that relates to inner power—such as willpower, fortitude, and might.
Strength is a card about pushing through with willpower—as opposed to listening to the opinions of everyone else. It appears in the Major Arcana as the number “eight”—which is a number of perseverance. The thing with this card is that it welcomes challenges. We’re embracing the challenge simply because we believe in what we’re fighting for and we know we’ll make it through to the end.
In terms of the Major Arcana cycle, it’s interesting to note that it appears after The Chariot. That whimsical card is about following your heart, and this one is about believing in that pursuit enough to dive in without “thinking.” It’s for that reason that The Hermit comes up next… to give this brazen energy a reality-check.
Strength is associated with the fire sign, Leo. So, we automatically know where Strength gets its fire and passion! But another thing this card tends to draw toward is the idea of individualism. It pushes our ego forward—sometimes a bit too drastically.
Anytime Strength appears in an upright position like this, it’s a clear sign to move forward with something. So, seeing it come up at a time where you’re debating the feasibility of something, your intentions, or the intentions of someone else all just means that it’s the right thing to do—because it’s what your heart is telling you to do.
Strength speaks of personal power. In an upright position, it means we’re in our power and feeling as though we are the creators of our own destiny.
What’s more is that it speaks to the method by which we rule as well. In the original Rider-Waite card imagery, Strength is depicted with a woman who is wooing a lion—essentially taming it with her charms. So, Strength speaks to a time when our power is effortlessly flowing to us. It also can give the sense that we’re more powerful than we appear, as some may take you for granted.
Overall, this card indicates a time of growing confidence. Where you once were shy, reserved, or insecure in a certain area, you’re now blossoming with assuredness.
Finally, this card can symbolize the kind of person someone is. In general, this card tells us that someone embodies all the great qualities of Leo: loving, caring, giving, and loyal. A “Strength person” will fight to the death for their loved ones—and will go to bat for them on any occasion.
Strength in a reversed can mean the opposite of “confidence,” but it can also mean an exaggeration of it. For starters, in this position the card can suggest cowardice, fear, or insecurity. Think of the lion from The Wizard of Oz: He’s so cowardly, small, and without the slightest bit of pride. The same goes for Strength reversed: It’s a time of zero pride for or confidence in what we’re doing.
Now, the opposite can also take effect. Where the upright Strength can mean confidence, a reversed Strength can mean exaggerated confidence. A “reversed Strength person” might be someone who is condescending, prideful, and arrogant. In general, they can come with more the negative traits of Leo: selfish, insolent, and childish.
This card in this position might also indicate that it’s a time to recover—and regain your strength. It could be a period of rest where you take moments to yourself as you figure out your next moves.
Since this card is associated with a fire sign, there is usually much vibrancy that is connected with it. So, seeing it upside down can mean a lack of inspiration or energy. We could feel slow, sluggish, and out of sorts when Strength is reversed. It’s all a matter of time before we regain that strength again (as mentioned above) to come back at life with more encouragement.