2015 and Strength
From the Paladini Tarot
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood
2015 is coming to an end. It has been an “8” year, the year of the Strength card in the Tarot. Looking back it seems that strength exerted a strong-arm hold on us and went out of its way to be noticed. The news has been full of violence, retaliation, terrorism, politicians exploding with bully language, and an ongoing litany of push-and-shove attitude and attention getting antics.
Is this strength? Unfortunately, it is the dark side of strength. The side that uses power to impose personal will upon others for gain that is used abusively. But strength is far more than this. It has its light side as well. Many of us used it this year to flex our physical and spiritual muscles to dig in deep and discover what powers lie within us. We have applied this effort to accomplish positive personal goals, to overcome grief, hardships, and to help others. We have found strength to create, to carry on, to be vulnerable enough to expose our weaknesses and fears, so that we can move forward in meaningful living and celebration of the divine.
We are humans living in duality with free will to express ourselves as we choose. Part of finding balance within ourselves is to come to understand the true nature of Strength. In the Paladini Tarot card above, we see a woman and a lion fused as one. The infinity sign above her head reminds us of the divine nature of our human and spiritual duality working together. We are called to understand that strength and power are tools given to us to expand the divine through our actions. It is perfectly good and right to use our power and strength to improve our lives and to be the best we can be. What makes us strong is then called upon to be in service to help others be strong.
In the Egyptian pantheon, Sekhmet is the lion-headed goddess of power. She is the goddess who maintains the order of Ma’at – the sacred balance of the universe. Stories of her strength and even her rage are legendary. What is often forgotten about her is her fierce compassion, her ability to use her strength and power to serve that higher purpose. Sekhmet’s fierce compassion is the kind that when a lioness’ cubs are threatened in times of severe draught or no food, she will kill one so the other can live. That is fierce indeed. The other side of Sekhmet is often shown as the goddess Hathor, who is known for her celebration of love, life, passion, and sensuality. Look again at the card above and see Sekhmet and Hathor living as one great being, sharing consciousness and experience in divine balance.
As we come to this year end, take some time to contemplate your strength. How did it come up this year? Did you honor it and use it wisely? Did you hide from it or give it up to someone else’s power plays? Did you celebrate your unique powers and share them with others? Did you take time to lick your wounds and learn to heal? However Strength played out in your life this year, may its lessons continue to guide you to embrace your unique and precious life. As you come to find that higher balance within you and have the strength to use it to better yourself, you help to shift the world and bring a little more light to the darkness. And we need that. We need you.
…Kathryn Ravenwood December 2015