Strength Tarot Meaning: Upright and Reversed

The Strength card is accepted as the eighth (VIII) card of the Major Arcana although traditionally it was the eleventh. This card almost always brings an encouraging message. Whether it comes as a timely reminder to dig deep to overcome challenges, or as a gentle message to be confident in yourself and compassionate with others. There is no doubt that the Strength Tarot card has an encouraging message for you. This is one of my favorite cards, let’s dive in.

Strength (VIII) Numbering

While the Strength Card was originally set as the eight card, it was switched with the Justice card to have the eleventh position to correspond with astrology. The switch was done when the Rider Waite cards were designed.

Did You Know?

The switch was suggested by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. In the Golden Dawn’s astrological teachings, the strength was better aligned with the Leo sign in the eighth position. The Justice card was given the eleventh (XI) position, to align with the eleventh astrological sign of Libra (scales of justice). 

Strength (VIII) Card Meaning

The strength card in a tarot reading is an indication of your inner strength. But there are many ways this could be interpreted for your question, situation, or general reading. The strength card also indicates your resilience to get you through tough times, and lets you know that you have what it takes to get through the struggle with a calm resilicence. The strength card is also an indication of compassion. 

Strength Card Imagery Description

The strength card imagery is one of the most captivating, but that is just a personal observation. It could be because I love the African imagery, or just that the lion holds a special place in my heart, or that I value strength above many things. Either way, I love this card. Maybe you will too after I describe it to you. 

Imagery Description

A woman, calm and collected, holds a fully grown lion. She doesn’t just hold the lion, as much as cradle the open jaw. The lion always inspires feelings of awe, raw power, and strength. And even though most might find the lion to be a danger or even menacing, she seems to be in communion with it. I have read many descriptions saying how the woman has a certain power or dominion over the lion, but they’ve never sat quite right with me. I don’t feel the woman has dominion, but rather she has mastered her fear of the lion, and in trusting herself and nature, she has earned the trust of one of nature’s most formidable predators. 

The lion is the epitome of strength, so it comes as no surprise that it is part of the strength card’s imagery. 

But the most captivating element of the card? Grace. The card is exquisite. It depicts true strength- not force or brute strength, but gentle, graceful strength. This shows us the value of mastering ourselves in the face of fear. It encourages having the discipline to know ourselves despite the mental fears that plague us. And all too often, it is our own inner fears that bother us the most. 

We should also notice that the woman is holding the jaws of the lion. She is not just cuddling, but holding the most fearsome part. This is an obvious signal of courage and bravery. It highlights her control over her emotions and communion with nature. She is not forcing the lion- there are no whips or chains. Instead, there is love and compassion. There are mountains set over a blue background behind the woman, and it instills feelings of calm, peace, and stability. 

As I have already mentioned, the lion is synonymous with courage. But the lion is also a symbol of desire and passion. Both of which are strong elements of the human spirit. Desire and passion are also essential for the survival of the human spirit. But, they are like wildfires. And if not kept in check, can burn you and your life’s landscape to the ground. 

Another important feature to notice here is the woman’s calm, loving energy. Her inner strength comes through as well as her resilience as she seems to tame the raw power that is our emotion and passion symbolized by the lion. The lion, throughout many cultures, is a symbol of raw passion- nature at its finest. What does this tell us? Well, the woman can tame the lion because she is graceful and acts from a place of calm, loving energy. This inspires us to remember to find the centre of calm and act from that steadfast and rooted feeling when we are faced with fear.

The woman’s white robe is also symbolic and exudes her pure spirit while her flower crown is symbolic of her connection to nature. One of the most universal and widely recognised symbols, the infinity symbol, hovers above her head- telling us of the infinite wisdom and potential. 

We can’t bypass the Strength card without talking more about the lion. If you’ve ever been to Southern Africa then you know that a little bit of that wild African land gets etched in your soul. The poetry conveyed by the lion cannot be spoken about without acknowledging the lion is the epitome of strength, resilience, and nature at its most powerful. But, there’s more to it than that. The lion always shows us that the raw natural instinct is not only ferocious and fiercely protective but can also be a positive expression. We, I’m talking about us humans in general here, are resilient and dare I say stubborn in chasing our dreams, are also mimicking the raw natural instinct expressed by the lion.

Look, it’s human nature to dream big and dare to aim for the stars. That is your god (or goddess whatever it is you believe in) given right to shoot for the stars. But sometimes, we let our fear stand in the way. The strength imagery shows us the power we have when we master our inner critics and act with compassion, courage, and confidence.

So, that’s the imagery. It is beautiful and powerful. Now, how does this apply in a reading? 

Upright Strength Card Meaning

If you get the upright strength card during a reading, it’s time to call on your inner reservoir of resilience to guide you through tough times. The upright strength card is telling you to be fearless and speak your mind with grace and compassion. 

The strength card in an upright position is also a reminder to be patient and work your way towards your goals slowly but surely. Compassion is a large component of this card, and the upright strength card reminds us that compassion for yourself and others reaps rewards. 

Upright Strength Card in a Love Reading

We all want to know about love. When is it coming, is this one the one, etc. So, let’s take a closer look at the strength card’s appearance in a love-focused reading. 


Confidence, compassionate relationship, attracting lovers and partners confidently

Have you pulled the Strength Card while doing a love-focused reading? Well, you might be happy to hear what it means for you. Remember, my interpretations are always tinged with a bit of personal influence. That’s just how it is- we’re all human. So, remember to feel what it brings up for you and listen to that inner voice too. 

In the same breat,- there are universal meanings and attributes to this card too. And, well, I love the strength card in general, but in a love-focused reading? Well, let’s just say you’re in for a treat.

Want to know more? Great! Let’s get started. 

If you haven’t already found yourself in a passionate encounter, brace yourself because it could be on the way. You can expect intense feelings, or a current relationship strengthened. But, beware, it could also be a message for jealousy and other intense emotions. Is this always a bad thing? No, certainly not. 

The upright strength card can also indicate empathy, compassion, and positive use of emotions after we’ve acknowledged them and expressed them. If you find yourself with intense emotions surfacing, remember that instead of acting on them like a volcano, it’s important to understand the root of the emotions, and exactly what it is they could be telling you. 

The upright strength card in a love reading is a beautiful reminder to cultivate inner strength, compassion, and empathy. Because these are the best qualities to cultivate within ourselves if we are seeking a romantic partner, or any type of relationship- even platonic. If you are already in a partnership with someone, then it is a beautiful reminder that nurturing these qualities will bring you closer together. 

And finally, the upright strength card in a love-focused reading is a gentle reminder to remain patient with empathy and compassion for the partner in your life, or even for a friend you value dearly. If you find yourself staring down at a lion, remember the strength card. Heated arguments can be diffused with a view tainted with love, gentleness, compassion, and empathy. 

Upright Strength Card Career Meaning

You have a whole lot of passion and big dreams. But is it time to act on them? 


Courageous career decisions, knowing your worth, bold steps forward

The strength card appearing in a career reading is telling you if you can get those animalistic emotions and feelings within your control then you are ready. 

But remember, this doesn’t mean you should sweep them under the rug. Instead, allow them to ignite you to take that step forward. They are not the driver of your chariot but they can be used as horsepower. Allow them to work in cohesion with all the other elements and emotions. Channel them into moving along your career path. 

There is something you’ve been wanting to do with your career, allow your passion to drive you towards taking that step. You have cultivated the skills. And now is the time to dig deep and find the courage you need to leap forward. 

Are you seeking to change the trajectory of your career? The upright strength card is telling you it’s time to go for it. If you are seeking a promotion, have the confidence and do something to get yourself in the spotlight. All you need to do is to have the courage to follow your dreams. Take the leap of faith. 

Upright Strength Card Financial Meaning

Despite the strength card indicating a large purchase or expenditure, it also indicates that the decision should be made with wise counsel and thorough thought. 


Bold purchases, controlled and wise spending

This spending should not come from a spontaneous or emotional decision, rather it is well thought out and the result of careful planning and control. It also indicates that if you have tightened your grip over your budget and been wise in money matters, it will begin to pay off.

The upright Strength card in a Tarot reading could be an indication that your control over budgeting will pay off. Financially your position could be favorable and you could find yourself comfortable with enough resources to do what needs doing. 

There may also be a possible decision on the horizon, one that you might have to be bold about. This could also be telling you to control any compulsive habits you may have to prepare for a financial position where you will be able to get the go-ahead on something you’ve always wanted to do. 

Upright Strength Card Health Meaning

An upright strength card in a health-focused reading is a great indication of your health. If you have been battling with something, it could indicate that you are set to triumph over it. If you have been thinking of putting bad habits to bed, now is the time. You have the mental strength to overcome addictive behaviours and any steps you take towards improving your health, whether it is a workout plan or diet, will feel easier than you think. 

Reversed Strength Card Meaning

Although many cards in the reversed position are a direct mirror for the upright, the Strength card is not one of them. If you draw a reversed strength card- there’s no reason to panic. Both upright and reversed share similar positive qualities. The reversal simply indicates you may encounter a few more obstacles along the way. The reversed strength card is telling you to dig deep to overcome your inner challenges, your weaknesses. And if you succeed, you will find yourself in the same position as the upright strength card. 


The reversed strength card could also be letting you know that you’re about to come face to face with your emotions. And not just any emotions, but the guttural, the intense. It is common for this to be either fear or anger. In the reversed position, the strength card is telling that although you do not feel like you have that inner strength and courage to get a grip on these emotions, you do. Find the confidence inside yourself, and you’ll find your courage to overcome anything. 

Have you turned your back on pursuing your dreams? The reversed strength card could also be interpreted as an invitation to return to your path, your goals, and the things that you love to do. 

Reversed Strength Card Love Meaning

And here we get to one of the most feared in a love reading – pulling a reversed card. But what does it mean if you draw a reversed strength card? Well, there are a few interpretations to consider…

Perhaps your current relationship is pulling you away from your personal power. This doesn’t mean it is the partner’s issue, instead, it is an indication that there is codependency in the relationship. 

Where are you feeling insecure? Are there trust issues that need attention? 

Is one person in the relationship domineering or bullying? 

Take care, look at the situation objectively- this card is drawing your attention to an imbalance. Don’t lose yourself in the quest of a perfect partnership (because they don’t exist)

Reversed Strength Card Career Meaning

If you draw the reversed strength card when inquiring about your career, the message couldn’t be any clearer: take confidence in yourself- you are the only one holding yourself back. 

You know how far you’ve come and the work it took to get where you are. Stay humble, but know what you are worth. Recognise your experience and abilities. Trust in yourself, and others will learn to trust you too. If you feel insecure, then just act confident. Eventually, the pretense will settle in, you’ll become attached to feeling confident it will become a reality.

Reversed Strength Finances Meaning

Have you drawn the strength card in a reversed position with a financial intention? Well, it’s time to curb any impulsive or emotional purchases. 

This is a warning that any compulsive spending could wreak more havoc than you expect. On the other hand, the reversed strength card in a financial implication could also mean that you are holding back with spending your hard-earned cash on things that could help you. Only you will know the details. Generally, the strength card reversed in a financial reading indicates you are feeling insecure about your finances and budget. Whatever the case, think carefully about your finances and use your money to better your situation. 

Reversed Strength Card Health Meaning

A reversed strength card in a health position could indicate that challenges are on the way. But, don’t be alarmed, because it is the strength card it is telling you that you have what it takes to overcome them. 

You could avoid the challenges by cultivating the positive qualities suggested by the strength card. If you do, then you will manage these challenges well. If there is something you are doing that you know is not that great for your health, the strength card in reverse is telling you to quit while you’re still ahead. 

Strength Card for a Person

It is a good sign if you pull a strength card with a particular person in mind. If you are drawing it for yourself, well, sit up a little straighter because this is a compliment. The Strength card signals that the person in question is filled with courage, confidence, healthy self-worth, and gentle power that comes from compassion. 

Strength Card for Past, Present, and Future

Strength Card for Past

Strength in the past position typically lets you know that the composure you held during past challenges is what brought you the success you now have. It could also be a symbol of how your constant seeking for new challenges can limit you from sticking to one position for a prolonged time.  

Whatever the personal details, if you draw the strength card in a past position it indicates how you have an ability to transcend through challenges while maintaining your composure and your centre.

Strength Card for Present

Strength in the present position is an encouragement to take on new opportunities. 

Strength Card for Future

Again, Strength in the future position is an encouraging card to pull. If you are experiencing troubles, you can overcome them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Question: What does the strength card represent if I am Looking for Love?

Answer: The strength card can signal the “right time” for someone new to enter our lives if that’s what we are seeking. This new person could be someone exciting and possibly someone that goes against the grain. Keep your heart and mind open to the possibility of new adventures. 

Question: Should I be worried If I draw the strength card reversed?

Answer: The reversed strength card is similar to the upright strength card. You will meet the same fortunes as long as you master the extra challenges along the way. 

Question: Is a strength card a yes or no card?

Answer: As a blanket statement, we could say the strength car is a yes. This is particularly apt when you are on the verge of diving into something new and close to your heart. 

Question: What can the strength card tell me about the future?

Answer: If you draw the strength card as a future card, i.e, in the future position of a past present and future spread, take heart! Drawing the strength card in the future position is an encouraging card letting you know that you have what it takes to triumph over troubles. 


As much as I try not to have favourites, the strength tarot card always makes me smile when I draw it, Yes, even when it is reversed. It is a reminder to cultivate compassion and to learn from the inner guide steering our decisions and the relationship we have with ourselves. If you pull it in a reversed position, whatever the question or topic, it can almost always be a reminder to lean on our own wisdom and trust ourselves. What a beautiful reminder. 

Continue reading:

The Hermit Tarot Meaning: What Does It Stand For?

Justice Tarot Meaning For Love, Life, Career, Health and Family

Wheel of Fortune Tarot Meaning: Upright and Reversed

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