The Strength card was originally named Fortitude and referred to "moderation in attitudes toward pain and danger, with neither being avoided at all costs, nor actively wanted." (

I recently started taking a martial art with a friend. It isn't the first time I've taken a martial art, but the particular martial art I'm taking has a more lethal reputation than most. The experience sparked an interesting conversation with a friend, a lesson in the Strength card.

When I was younger (even in college) I felt very disempowered. Paradoxically, the self defense classes offered to college women had the opposite effect for me: instead of feeling stronger and empowered I felt less confident in my ability to protect myself and also fearful that once I let the animal out of the cage so to speak, all of the fear I experienced would turn to unrestrained rage and I would seriously hurt someone.

When I decided to start taking a martial art recently, a male friend of mine was concerned. He had a long history with Muay Thai, a martial art from Thailand. He found that learning how to maim or kill someone in two moves had made him too prone to want to take someone out for mild infractions. One night, a drunken man pushed and insulted him and he was completely prepared to take the guy out when he saw the look of fear on the guy's face and realized he would have been reacting with excessive force because he was actively wanting an opportunity to vent through violence. At that point, he stopped training, feeling he was unable at that time to balance avoiding pain and danger with seeking it out.

I think this is a good concrete example of the challenges of embodying the Strength tarot card. Many, including myself, look to physical training and combat training to give them confidence in handling the pain, danger or violence they may encounter in their lives. Perhaps equally as difficult is learning the BALANCE of not just avoiding violence at all costs but of not letting our rage or feelings of injustice result in us seeking it out.

Perhaps true 'strength' truly is 'fortitude'.

Other possible meanings of strength (suggested by include:

Courage, Generosity, Patience
• Courage of spirit and convictions
• Compassion
• Patience and gentle persuasion

How has Strength manifested in your life?

Free Tarot Readings

Free tarot readings at can help you explore the meaning of Strength in your life and relationships.

Keep THREE eyes open...
Nikki Harris

Author's Bio: 

Nikki Harris is a professional freelance writer and longtime tarot enthusiast. In her work, Nikki enjoys combining her philosophy background with metaphysical explorations. She currently serves as VP, Marketing for -- the world’s most powerful, free tarot reading website.