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Pulled The Strength Tarot Card In A Reading? Here's What It Really Means

Sarah Regan
Author:
January 23, 2023
Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor
By Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.
Image by mbg creative
January 23, 2023
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Tarot readings can help us find answers about the past, present, and even future—but only when we know how to interpret the cards. And in the case of the Strength card, it's one of 78 in a traditional tarot deck that calls for heart-centered courage.

Here's what to know if you pull this card in a reading, plus what it means in the context of relationships, career, and more.

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What does the Strength card mean?

  • Ego versus intuition
  • A need for discipline
  • Refinement of self-interest to achieve harmony with the inner self
  • Open-heartedness

The Strength card is the eighth card in the tarot's Major Arcana and shows a woman controlling a powerful lion—even treating him affectionately. This imagery represents inner power, overcoming weaknesses, courage, and persistence.

When you pull the Strength card, it often also carries a message about leading with your heart. According to tarot expert and author of the Magical Self-Care Tarot Deck Leah Vanderveldt, Strength is closely associated with the sign of Leo, which is a fixed fire sign.

"This card is about turning toward life with an open heart. It's a 'feel the fear and do it anyway' vibe," she tells mindbodygreen, adding, "Rather than letting fear constrict, Strength calls you to face those fears with optimism and enthusiasm."

If you're feeling uneasy or fearful, she says, this card asks you to tap into your desire for creativity and self-expression, which is stronger than your doubts. "It's about taking bold action and embracing the wild and shadowy parts of ourselves in the process," she explains.

And as Skye Alexander, author of The Modern Witchcraft Book of Tarot, previously told mindbodygreen, "Although some interpretations view this card as emblematic of the struggle with your 'animal' nature, others see it as symbolic of self-confidence and inner strength and of being in harmony with your instinctive nature."

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What does it mean for love & relationships?

When pulled upright:

If you pulled the Strength card upright in a reading about your love life or relationship, Vanderveldt says it's time to follow your heart. "There's an opportunity for embodied fulfillment here, but it requires tenacity from you," she says, noting that even the word courage comes from the Latin cor, meaning "heart."

"Going where your heart leads feels scary and vulnerable, but your desires are on the other side of that fear. To grow a relationship, or as an individual, you have to stretch and go beyond what feels familiar," she notes.

Sometimes, this card in the context of relationships can also encourage sensual and sexual exploration, Vanderveldt says.

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When pulled in reverse:

If you pull Strength in reverse in a love or relationship reading, according to Vanderveldt, it may indicate you're hiding parts of yourself rather than allowing yourself to be seen in a romantic situation.

"As usual with relationship challenges, the work is often an inside job first," she says. While doing inner work and learning to embrace all aspects of yourself may not be easy work, Vanderveldt explains that this card is urging you to be gentle with (and accept) yourself—"especially those imperfect bits."

What does it mean for professional & financial matters?

When pulled upright:

If you're doing a career or money reading and Strength shows up, Vanderveldt says it might be time for you to make some bold moves. The key, according to her, "is to make sure they're aligned with your integrity and passions."

She adds that when this card appears, "You have the power and fortitude to make it happen, but you have to back yourself."

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When pulled in reverse:

If you pull Strength in reverse here, it can indicate finances or professional matters are wearing on you, making you feel unstable or challenged in some way. As Vanderveldt explains, "While there are very real social structures that make stability hard to achieve for many, this card is a call to identify the things that anchor you and help you find your way back to your core self."

Whether it's certain habits, rituals, or even structuring your day a certain way, she says, find what anchors you and feels supportive of your life force. "Before you take a leap, make sure you have a good stable energetic baseline," she adds.

What does it mean for challenges ahead?

When pulled upright:

If you asked the cards about a challenge you're currently facing or may face in the future, pulling Strength upright is a sign that you'll want to embrace all parts of yourself in order to get through whatever the challenge may be.

As Vanderveldt tells mindbodygreen, "The lion is your wild side, shadow, untamed emotions, and feral nature that can overwhelm you and hold you back. Embracing the parts of you that make you cringe can be a challenge, but it's actually what gives you grace and magnetism."

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When pulled in reverse:

In reverse, Strength here can show a lack of self-confidence. Vanderveldt notes that confidence is gained through understanding yourself and stretching through action, "but it's hard to conjure up your vitality and take action when you're just not feeling it." It can also be a call to face your rage or frustration in a healthy container, she notes.

"In the reversal, we want to start small in order to reconnect to our inner fire, power, and strength. It might just be a flicker at the moment, but we can learn to nurture it and give it breathing room," Vanderveldt adds.

The takeaway.

Just as the woman depicted in the Strength card has learned to tame the lion, so, too, can we learn to embrace our more shadowy aspects so we can better operate in the world from a place of heart-centered courage.

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Sarah Regan
Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor

Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.