Mythic Tarot - Strength


Heracles, wearing a blood-red loin cloth, battles the Nemean Lion inside the darkness of the beast’s cave. He has managed to wrap his arms around the beast’s neck. On the ground before them are a broken sword and a shattered club.

  • ferocity; malevolent, threatening or punitive powers; untamed wildness; cruelty
  • an image of the childish, savage and totally egocentric beginning of a unique individuality
  • its pelt provides one with an invincible sense of identity, which is impervious to other's opinions
  • its savageness and viciousness is shown in the “me first” drive, where one’s own gratification is all that matters; rage and inflated self-importance are manifestations of this drive
  • it’s like an angry infant inside who demands that the world revolve around it and destroys blindly and randomly when it doesn’t
  • Metaphors/Proverbs:
    • “to get’s the lion’s share” is to receive the greatest part or to take more than anyone else
    • “to go into the lion’s den” or “to put one’s head in the lion’s mouth” is to put oneself in danger
    • “the lion is not so fierce as he is painted” means that some people’s reputations far exceed their real characters
    • “a man is a lion in his own cause” means that people tend to exceed expectations when they have a personal interest in the outcome
Battle with the Lion
  • can only be conquered with one’s bare hands because there are no man-made tools (as shown by the discarded weapons on the ground) or shortcuts in this battle, only one’s own resources
  • symbol of victory over death
  • symbol of the victory of intellect over animalistic nature; it’s also an image of the problem of containing the powerful and savage beast within while keeping its creative and vital qualities
  • Heracles’ conquest of the lion transfers its strength and determination (through its pelt) from animal to human
  • darkness represents the unconscious mind and primitive instincts; the primitive part of the self or the subconscious
  • that which is hidden, a place of initiation and second birth
Blood-red loincloth
  • color of Ares, suggests that Heracles has already learned the lesson of harnessing his aggression and directing it toward a creative end
  • power, willpower, a warning of danger, aggression, anger, rage, ferocity
  • Zeus’ son by a mortal woman, Hera persecuted him and drove him mad, causing him to kill his family
  • to absolve himself of that deed, he subjected himself to 12 years of hard labor in the services of an evil king who was a favorite of Hera
  • the first of his 12 Labors was to kill the Nemean Lion, who was impervious to all of Heracles’ weapons; Heracles finally had to kill it with his bare hands, choking it to death
  • can represent the kind of strength that represses all instinct, leaving behind a shell of a person whose soul lives without passion, without anger and without a true identity
  • was prone to bouts of jealousy and of being short-tempered; consequently, he often had to make amends for his actions
  • was characterized by brains, brawn, gluttony and sexual prowess

Written in my workbook on 12 Aug 91:
Since neither the club of youthful energy nor the sword of self-lies is enough to kill the lion of passion, envy and greed, Hercules must use his strength, determination and clarity of purpose to overcome the beast. The battle is being waged in the cave of happiness and growth. Outside of the cave is truth.

My key color was black (stealth, energy, strength, self-assurance).


Gloria Jean

The mythic Tarot was my very first deck. :)


Mine too... I think I may get it out and re connect with it.

Thankyou rwcarter for your notes -


The Mythic Tarot was also my first deck, which is why I thought I should go back to it with almost 20 years of learning under my belt and see how the deck and I get along now. My goal is to post on all of the cards in the deck. Please join in.