Courage isn’t just a matter of not being frightened, you know. It’s being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway.
22 Doctor Who Tarot Quotes,  Tarot studies

Doctor Who and the Major Arcana: Strength

On our voyage through tarot’s major arcana cards, exploring the meaning of each card through the lens of a quote from Doctor Who, we have reached card number 8, Strength.

Strength, in the sense of this tarot card, is not about the sort of physical strength that allows you to bench 200 lbs or win an arm-wrestling contest. The Rider-Waite-Smith card shows a person taming a lion, which is often interpreted to mean using inner strength to combat our wilder, more primitive urges. I tend to read it as being about compassion and courage, which ties in perfectly to this quote going way back to the Third Doctor: “Courage isn’t just a matter of not being frightened, you know. It’s being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway.”

I love this interpretation of Strength. It’s very personal, more about discipline and self-control than overpowering someone. I’ve read that while the Chariot signifies outer strength and determination, Strength, the card that follows, speaks to inner strength, stamina and persistence. When I see this card come up in a reading, I feel like I can hear the Universe whispering confidence into my ear: “You’ve got this!”

The Doctor is strong in this way. They aren’t particularly fit or physically impressive, but they don’t cower in the face of monsters much larger, much stronger, or much more physically intimidating. The Doctor uses courage, compassion and their wits to overcome their opponents or adversity, not physical strength.

What do you think of this reading of Strength? Are you in control of your inner beast, of the darkness within?

In the next post of #22DoctorWhoTarotQuotes, we’ll look deep within and examine The Hermit.

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