The Tarot deck that I use is The Tarot of the Animal Lords. Although Strength is XI and Justice is
Strength depicts a mongoose wrestling with a cobra. While that is happening, the earth is opening up under them and volcanoes are erupting behind them. The scene is enveloped in smoke and ash. I can almost smell the sulfur spewing out of the earth. In front of the battling pair, are two salamanders, who are facing in opposite directions. I feel the immediacy that someone has to decide quickly to flee or be killed. However, the two center characters are frozen in the moment of the chaos. Does that mean that Strength can be either the calm focus or the frozen stance? Is the downside of Strength to be locked in a struggle oblivious to what is going on?
The Hermit presents a black bear entering a dark cave. His lamp barely pierces the blackness. This bear carries keys and scrolls with him. This made me wonder if he hoped to find a treasure chest. Behind him in broad daylight is a peaceful countryside. Right above him, dripping in honey is a beehive. I think that the Hermit is leaving the sweetness of the known life for an unknown future. This card elicits a feeling of answering a sacred call, of going deeper into the Divine.
The Wheel (of Fortune) telescopes the concept to a circular tree branch and the life cycle of the butterfly. The adult butterfly lays her eggs on a leaf that hatches into the various stages of caterpillars until finally the juvenile butterfly becomes the adult. And the cycle continues. To emphasize The Wheel’s motion, the wind blows in a circle high up in the mountains. The dominant theme of this card is a circle, going round and round. I get dizzy just looking at The Wheel. This Wheel focuses on the cycles of life that we all experience repeatedly at different points in our lives.