Really glad I picked this card.
The first sentence of the book says it all for this card really
…symbolizes control over potential destructive power, achieving a balance between the opposites of passivity and aggression…
In the myth Sekhmet was sent by her father, the sun god – Ra, to rage war on his enemies. She was the destructive power of the Sun, the hot desert wind and could destroy her enemies by breathing arrows of fire at them. However, she got so carried away that her father feared for the survival of humanity. To stop her he tricked her into getting drunk on beer and pomegranate juice!
The Gods of Egypt were often associated with animal deities and depicted with human bodies and the head of their animal. Sekhmet was no different.
The Goddess Sekhmet, has the body of a female and the head of a lion. She is the daughter of Ra and wife of Ptah. Her headress contains both the sun disk and the uraeus. The uraeus is the cobra, which was used as a protective symbol. It was thought that the spit of the cobra would ward off enemies. She carries the ankh in one hand representing life but I am not sure of the implement she carries in the other hand.
Her name means powerful and she protects the good and destroys the wicked. Although she represents the destructive power of the sun she is also associated with disease, healing and medicine so she is the balance between being destructive and being passive. That is, finding the inner strength to tame the emotions and control actions but also to find the patience and confidence to face fears and to make healing changes.
The lion who represents strength courage and dignity lays peacefully in front of her whilst she on the other hand stands dominant and with composure. He represents the baser instincts and she has control over him. We see that each is easy in the company of the other but I always think that he has allowed her to tame him, that at any time this relationship could change with her being subdued and him being dominant.
The flame reminds us that whilst fire can give warmth, illumination and purity it can also be destructive.
The lion has his paws crossed, I wonder if that is significant?
So in Strength we experience meeting with our darker sides, our base instincts and emotions or passions and controlling them or integrating them so that we become masters of ourselves, with nothing to fear. A balance between self-discipline and control with gentleness and healing.