Strength - 11


Strength11 is the Strength card.

The Rider-Waite version of the card shows the number VIII, but I switched that number back to the original, and better, correlation with Justice.

Strength, or Fortitude, like Justice, is one of the four so-called cardinal virtues. These describe certain particular ways of behaving on which a good life hangs. Getting this number may therefore be asking us to think about morality - or its lack - in our lives and relationships, as well as in our decision-making.

The answer to your question may simply be to become strong and get over weakness. What form the strength or weakness takes will vary from question to question; the steps to be taken for a solution will vary too. At least you have a focus for your efforts, however. Start now.

The woman's strength is her gentleness and her purity (the white dress). She doesn't have Conan the Barbarian's muscles and physical strength; she doesn't need that. Maybe strength is the opposite of what we think it is. Or, mental strength - based on trust? - is stronger than physical.

The lion
The lion in the picture may be referring us to Leo, whose fault - so they say - is pride. You may have to deal with pride in yourself or others, or as a general problem in people. Can you set up a solution so that no one will lose face? Can everyone leave with their self-esteem intact? Can you show others the value of being humble - since you may not know what is really going on?

I wanted to give you a Chinese story here to make a point, but can't remember the details. It went something like: There was an old man whose son returned home and everyone congratulated him on his good fortune. Ho-hum, he said. Then his son fell off a horse and broke his leg and everyone said how sorry they were for his misfortune. Ho-hum, he said. Then the King's officials showed up looking for conscripts for the army. They left the man's son because of his broken leg and the people congratulated the old man on his good luck. Ho-hum, said the old man.

As my teacher used to emphasize: Assume nothing.

Pride is not all bad, of course. It can be a good thing, making you do a good job or taking pride in your work, and so on. When it becomes overweening, however, and just stupid, that's what you have to watch out for.

The Sphinx
The lion and the woman can be Leo and Virgo. This is the mystery of the sphinx, and relates in some way to the so-called "turning of the wheel" as one begins to leave behind knee-jerk reactions - where everything is either black or white - and deal with various shades of gray. Decisions may be harder, but life becomes more interesting and richer. Just because you're not with us, it doesn't have to mean that you are against us.

Get ready for important change, as if you are about to emigrate to a new country. You will later be able to look back and know that this was an important time; you will realize you were in a different environment. Since you can't know the details of how you are going to fit in until you are actually there, don't be too attached to your current solutions.

Build on your strengths - so figure out honestly what they actually are.

Handle your weaknesses - whatever they may actually be. What people told you about yourself can have been correct; perhaps it wasn't, even though you believed them at the time. That will need a bit of honest analysis and quiet meditation to figure out. Philosophy - loving wisdom - is a good way to go.

What sort of feminine strength can control a wild animal? It looks like gentleness and yielding has done the trick. Sometimes attacking a problem is the right way to go; here, the woman is firm but gentle. Perhaps you should cooperate, like a tree that bends with the wind, instead of fighting to control the weather.

The picture seems to be showing gentleness rather than force. Perhaps real strength is gentleness; or at least it is in this case. So be nice to your enemy; be sympathetic to your rival rather than beat him down, or beat him up.

An old joke, by Dave Allen, Irish comedian. It can be a long story if you outline the details, but here is the short version.

A man has a terrible day - wife leaves and takes the children, gets fired, car stolen, etc. He is telling his sad tale to a bartender as he drowns his sorrows prior to doing himself in. Bartender mentions someone else in similar circumstances who went off and found the secret of peace and contentment and happiness. Man travels the world and finally finds the location - a cave half-way up a mountain. As he gets closed to the back of the cave, he becomes more and more peaceful; finds the stranger bathed in light and asks for the secret. "Always agree with anything that anyone tells you." Traveler is so annoyed after his years of searching, he yells back: THAT'S NOT THE SECRET OF PEACE AND CONTENTMENT AND HAPPINESS!!

The man in the cave says: Ok, that's not the secret of peace and contentment and happiness.