As we shift into the astrological Sun sign of Leo, so we come under the auspices and energy of its corresponding Major Arcana card of the Tarot, that of Strength.
Often referred to as ‘The Lady and the Lion’, for me this can be about coming to terms with a hitherto unknown or suppressed part of ourselves. This may be to do with identifying what it is we really feel/want/think in a particular situation, or about admitting to ourselves our true nature and instinct.
In this I am reminded of a quote from the film ‘Apocalypse Now’, itself based on Joseph Conrad’s’ novel ‘Heart of Darkness’, using the horror of the Vietnam War as an analogy for the journey into the depths of the human soul. “Horror has a face, and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared”.
This may seem like quite a dramatic response to this card, but in my approach to the Major Arcana cards and energies, they represent the complete self, the soul, as this from which derives our spiritual, mental, emotional and physical selves. As such, they represent active energies that pervade our whole self and life, and so can reach to those depths and with that power.
Those familiar with Tarot may know that the lady places her ha
nd on the lions face not in suppression but more in supplication. In so doing she can recognise a part of herself that she must come to know and befriend, lest it forever threaten her, remaining as a threatening presence in the shadows of her mind, heart and life.
What the lion may represent can be different for each of us and indeed can be different things at different times, shaped by our early and transformative experiences and responses to them, (as well as those from our previous lives, if you accept these). It is not what we are afraid of, more what we have not yet integrated into the light of our being; what it is we perhaps do not like about ourselves but yet is there and must first be accepted, before we make friends with our lion.
In the acceptance of such traits we can begin the process of gaining power over it – again not to suppress but to embrace and finally to create a merging with the beast. Once this is achieved, a gradual and gentle process, then we find that we gain the
Strength that is truly the subject and energy of this card, for me anyway. That fortitude, courage and strength within ourselves that knows, from experience, that we can truly handle and deal with whatever the vagaries of life may choose to throw at us.
We may not always get it right of course but we do know we will come from a place in ourselves not of fear and trembling, but of ‘facing and embracing’ the lion’s roar.
Cards illustrated are from ‘The Gamble-Hounsome Tarot: The Tarot of Gnosis’ and
‘The Tarot Therapy Deck’.