Updated: Oct 9, 2020
Leo season of 2020 provides a brief moment of pause in between some challenging astrology and some very challenging astrology. As we gear up for Mars retrograde, Mercury retrograde, and eclipses again in the fall, Leo season gives us the opportunity to reconnect with our resourcing to
weather the astro-storm ahead.
Leo, perhaps obviously, is associated with the Strength card in the Tarot. What I love about the image of Strength in the Smith Rider-Waite deck is the subversion of our assumptions about what strength really is. On it is a picture of a person and a lion. With the infinity symbol over their head, the person has found the courage to approach the lion and appears to petting it. While the lion is the symbol of Leo, the strength found in this card is not on the part of the lion but of the person. The person’s calm, confidence, and gentleness allows them to have the courage to approach what is apparently dangerous. In doing so, they embody true strength.
The notion that strength has anything to do with dominance is a harmful manifestation of supremacy culture. When we talk about Leo season, we often talk about individual power, people that are charismatic or strong or natural leaders. But this version of strength is not what the moment calls for. The moment calls for shared, collective strength. Particularly for gentle strength. The person on the Strength card is not trying to control or even tame the lion; their touch is encouraging rather than forceful as they gently stroke the lion’s snout. I like to imagine that the person is helping the lion to see that its own true nature is not one of violence but coexistence and peace. In its fear and confusion, the lion has tried to act from a place of violence, but the person’s strength allowed them to help the lion remember its own.
True strength is about the heart. True strength creates more room for empathy. True strength does not discriminate. True strength does not suppress, because it does not need to suppress. True strength doesn’t just allow difference; it cherishes difference. True strength recognizes the inherent worthiness of every being. True strength recognizes that the will to dominate threatens the social fabric that connects each of us to all other beings that live.
There are so many examples of true strength in action right now. Activists across the U.S. are fighting for the rights of black folks to not just live but thrive and for our right to assembly and free speech. We are fighting against the rise of authoritarianism and fascism, which are both manifestations of the opposite of true strength. The effort to suppress the collective in order to keep power in the hands of the few stems from a deluded understanding of what it means to be strong. When one of us is disempowered, we are all disempowered. Strength is only real when shared.