~ Discovering the Wild Unknown: Strength ~
Today’s card draw in the Discovering the Wild Unknown series is The Wild Unknown Strength.
I want to start off by providing an important notice, which will be included in all of this series. However, other things that will be included that you can skip to are:
I only include the latter as a comparison, to show how wandering down your own understanding of images and symbols can bring you to a similar meaning, though along a different path with different experiences. This is to help expand knowledge of the card.
I will not, however, be including the definitions from the guidebook, as that is not the point of this. Also, I don’t have rights to that material.
I started this series because I had read that people struggled with the deck purely because the definitions in the Little White Book were very Rider-Waite-based, and that there wasn’t much wisdom regarding the animals and symbolism chosen.
This series is to help you to decipher the meanings yourselves. I am by no means saying what I have to say about the cards are correct for anyone outside myself. However, I am providing my daily journal entries regarding the deck to act as a guide so that you can begin your own journey.
When I started tarot, I had no idea what to write in my journal, and thus didn’t. Instead I obsessively read and re-read the Little White Book belonging to the Spiral Tarot (which is why today I can completely quote the book). I didn’t trust myself to know the cards, even when I could recite the definitions. I was afraid to put the book down.
To this fear of lack of knowledge, Kim Krans, creator of The Wild Unknown, writes:
You do know enough. You’ve been a person on earth every day since you were born. You’ve experienced all the emotions and situations these cards depict. Quiet the naysayer…don’t let it prevent you from sitting down with a friend (or yourself) and using these cards to help talk about what’s going on in your life. It will be positive. It will be radical. You’ll find things start to reveal themselves through the cards that have been hidden away, covered with dust.pp. 10-11, The Wild Unknown Guidebook
The Wild Unknown Strength shows the face of a male lion in the center of the card. He looks directly at the reader, his mane filling the from left to right. In his mouth, he holds a white rose. On his forehead is an orange infinity symbol. His body isn’t seen, only his head. Where his mane gives way in the card toward the bottom, there is blackness. Above the mane is white. Above the lion’s head is a sun with many rays pouring over the lion which are orange at the base which fade to yellow as they stretch out.
The traditional depiction of Strength, a woman is seen bending over a lion, her face on top of his head and on the bottom of his open jaw. She isn’t forcing the lion into anything, but rather actively soothing the beast.
Strength is about approaching a difficult situation with compassion rather than force. This is a call for peace, for using the strengths within rather than without in order to succeed. This can sometimes be the hardest thing we have to do, but it is also sometimes the thing that can define us for the rest of our lives.
In the Wild Unknown Strength, the lion doesn’t look brave, or ferocious, or King of the Pride. He looks humbled, peaceful, and offering a gift. When I think of lions, aside from thinking of the Lion King, I think of all those images in movies of lions in cages, waiting for their captors so they can attack them. I think of lazy lions laying on rocks at the zoo. I think of nature documentaries where Their faces are covered in the blood of their food.
This depiction is none of this. The lion is regal, approaching with permission, and making an offering. There is wisdom to this lion, and a gentleness.
Lions as a symbol generally stand for courage, and this lion may very well be courageous in his offering of a rose. Who is he offering it to? What is he up against in doing so? It makes me wonder if he’s up against himself, if he’s battling his nature in order to maintain that peaceful demeanor.
Courage is a strength, as we all know, but courage isn’t all going to war or slaying dragons. Courage represents doing what’s right in the face of fear, or when things are extremely difficult. The courage we must muster in order to face ourselves is one of the most difficult things we can do in our lives, and sometimes, the monsters that live within us that we have to battle are the hardest of all. But how do we fight them? With teeth and claws? With Swords? No. The only way to fight our inner monsters is with compassion and understanding. The only way to fight them is to sooth them until they transform into the good in us.
The lion has the power to attack, to tear down, and to dominate. But instead, he offers a rose. He offers peace instead.
The Wild Unknown Tarot is a 2016 Harper One publication, created by Kim Krans. The deck is widely available at most bookstores who carry Tarot cards, but also on Amazon. Kim Krans always wrote The Wild Unknown Guidebook.
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