Every Christmas, I like to shuffle my deck and ask for a card. This is one of those situations where I’m not particularly interested in a reading. Rather, I’m looking for a new take for a season where everything seems to be invented. Something simple, but that will give me something significant for myself and others around me.
With this in mind, I shuffled my deck and drew The Strength. As tarot readers, we all know what this card is all about. How it’s supposed to relate to playfulness and lust and this struggle about what we want to do and what we have to do. A struggle between obligation and pleasure; between kindness and harshness; between our animalistic side and our “more evolved” side. And how a balance between both is needed. How we need to be in touch with our primal instincts, but also to keep our feet on the ground and don’t get carried away by them. I find it interesting how this card speaks to us about control and, at the same time, of going with the flow.
Anyway, the first question that popped in my mind was how demanding are we to ourselves and others? We live in a society that likes to impose itself upon its people. And most of us grow up in an environment where we are continually told what to do. How to behave. Either from family or from teachers, or staff workers or whomever. It seems that many times our needs are put aside in order to fulfill someone’s wishes or someone’s idea of how to behave. Like everyone knows what’s best for ourselves, with the exception of ourselves… We reach adulthood and we get word about what is expected and not expected from ourselves: our performance at work; in social circles; and even at home. We tap into ourselves, into our juices and our inner strengths and try to find a way in which to correspond to the demands of society and still maintain a way of living that might suit our needs.
And here, a click happened. Inner strengths… We all have this inner strength within us. Something we tap into when we need that extra push or that extra hand in order to fulfill a certain objective. In some individuals, this energy, this spark, burns very brightly; in others, it radiates a certain amount of heat and strength and nothing more. But in all cases it is there. This little seed of life…
As a part of that all-powerful force that is life, this little seed has the potential to overcome our limitations and give us enough power to accomplish what we set out to do. However, as with life, this force is chaotic and all over the place. By itself, it is directionless and exists only to create life and to destroy that which can not evolve… that which has become stagnant. When we tap into it, we feel like we can accomplish anything we set our minds into it, like nothing is too hard for us. It’s slightest touch is enough to make us glow in such a way it’s impossible not to notice. It’s as if a certain kind of radiance passes through us and makes us more visible, more special… But fail to guide it and the results can de disastrous, as it will slowly consume you and leave nothing but a broken husk.
This seemed to be very much in tune with the strength card. The life seed, represented by the lion (or corresponding beast); the theme of control and letting go, which is at the heart of the card. That edge, which can make us truly shine but, at the same time, burn us to the ground.
Such a force of continuous creation and destruction has often been associated with a phoenix: the bird that dies by fire, only to be reborn from its ashes. But the strength card usually gives as a lion. Not a phoenix. A simple Google search shows us that the phoenix is used in association with cards such as Judgement (in the Twilight Realm: A Tarot of the Faery); as Death (in the Soulscapes Deck and the The Amazing Fortune Telling Book) and even as Atu XVII, Hope (in this Harry Potter influenced Tarot Deck). In both the Death and the Judgement cards, we have change; transformation. In the last, well… the title says it all.
By tapping into our very own seed of life, we tap into an Unlimited Potential. Something that its very mere touch is enough to makes us shine like the truly special person we all are. And something that when properly directed can makes us reach whole new levels.
May we all be so fortunate to truly understand this little seed of life we have inside of us. And to use it to transcend our very own limitations.
And Merry Christmas to all!!!