I didn't know what would happen when I started painting Strength. I knew it would be difficult. The strength card never brings easy situations, it just reminds you that you can handle the difficulties. The original card was a completely different set up, softer, more pink. There was a story in it but that's not mine to tell.
But it didn't feel right. I kept painting but telling people that I felt the card would need to be painted over. It took days, it felt like weeks, but I knew this was all happening for a reason. Shahriar Shadab was staying with me, fresh in from Australia and we had been talking a lot about cycles. With the Scorpio full moon ahead of us and the Venus retrograde coming up we knew something big was happening. Both ruled by Venus we understood that we should take this time to observe, assess, and cleanse. In a heightened state of sensitivity and cycle breaking I was glad to painting dear friend Kai Altair.
The Strength card is about breaking cycles, addictions, and habits. She teaches us about willpower and taming the beast within. She harnesses raw passion and connects to the higher power. Kai has amazing cat energy as they are one of her main totems. Her incredible calming but inspiring energy became the perfect basis for the card including the turbulent times that were about to happen.
Being a former addict, I have an addictive personality. If it's not drugs, it's food, internet, work etc. There's always something that becomes a fixation. Sometimes it's people, relationships, or a certain pattern. I began to notice patterns in my own life. I was worried that I was repeating them. Shahriar assured me that I was doing a good job of not revisiting old patterns. I wasn't so sure.
And one night after a major cleanse I decided that even if something felt slightly familiar it didn't mean I was falling into a pattern. As long as we acknowledge our past and our cycles we can learn to not only break them but shift that energy into positive actions. The most important lesson we must learn from Strength is that by pushing or forcing we will never get what we truly desire. Strength has tamed the lion simply because she was patient, understood the situation, and asked. This isn't an easy or fast process but with determination and patience you can harness your passions and that direct energy to the universe and create a beautiful partnership.
The original name for this card is lust. Lust in passion in it's raw primal form. By understanding this energy, perhaps even getting burned by it or scratched by it a few times we can come to balance it, harness it and use it for positive action.
As I began to understand this about my own life, the card began to shift as well, allowing me to paint the passion involved. I posted it a few days later. Kai sent me this image in return. My Strength card had manifested itself into reality and one of the most passionate and talented souls I know was representing it.