Gryphon Tarot: Mastery (Strength)
There are many stories that come to mind with this card: Daniel in the lion's den. The Aesop's fable of "The Sun and the Wind," where the Sun's warmth, as compared to the Wind's coldness, persuades a man to take off his coat. Also tales of saintly maids who get brutish barbarians to kneel down in prayer. What we see in all these stories is the taming of the beast by way of inner strength and gentleness. The Maiden represents higher feelings and that we can experience if we bring our wild passions to heel. And so we willingly do so. This card, however, isn't just about the Maiden's power. Like its ruling sign Leo, this card is also about the hot, roaring energy and enthusiasm of the Lion including passions like "lust" (which is the name it was given by Crowley in his Thoth deck). The lion's power may be frightening, but it is also desirable. Much can be achieved if such power is put to use. Some decks, in fact, label this card as "Power." That energies can be brought under control and used is very close to the message of the Chariot, which might be why, in some decks, it is Justice that is card #8 instead of Strength. There is a difference, however, between Strength and the Chariot. The Chariot is a card about using your impulses to achieve a victory. Strength is about combining two strengths to overcome weakness. The Maiden is weak of form, but her mastery of herself is powerful. The Lion is strong of form, but weak when it comes to mastering himself. The Maiden's commands overcome the Lion's weakness, and his form overcomes the Maiden's weakness. This is why the Maiden doesn't try to harness the lion to a chariot, nor does she run from it or try to kill it. She meets its eyes, touches it, embraces it. This is a card about understanding our wild natures, accepting them, yet also gentling those passions so that they work for us rather than against us. Putting these two strengths together creates perseverance, personal honor, and courage. The card can also stand for a steadfast friend.
7x10" Watercolor on Board