The turning of a new year of some kind is and was often considered a portal time; perfect for rites of divination. In honor of the dawning of 2015, I spent the first few days of this month doing New Year’s divination readings for friends & Sisters. While the specific contents of those readings are of course confidential, I did see one card over and over and over again no matter what deck I used and how I laid out the cards. Strength.
For anyone with some basic numerology knowledge, this isn’t incredibly shocking once you consider that this is an 8 Year—2 + 0 + 1 + 5 = 8. Strength (VII) would seem an appropriate card to appear in divinations focused on the calendar year ahead. But the more I worked with this Major Arcana card in readings for one woman after another, the more I wanted to really dive into the concept of Strength this card brings to light.
This passage is from A Feminist Tarot by Sally Gearhart and Susan Rennie:
The strength shown here is not so much a matter of “taming” the lower nature so much as bridging spirit (person) and body (lion), relating to non-human forms in caring ways, and working with nature and the material world. Strength comes not from the discipline of inner weakness… but from steadfast adherence to a principle or from strength of inner conviction and harmony with the natural world.
I believe it is so important that the figure in this care is predominately a feminine one in most Tarot decks. This is the type of strength feminism aspires to embody and enact. We do not seek to dominate. Alternate forms of domination are no better than the oppressions at work in the world today. Instead, we seek the creative invention of new models of existence that do not require domination of one group over another. We seek cooperative strength. We seek to honor the strengths we each carry, the talents and skills we can all offer to affect meaningful change in a progressive direction. To borrow phraseology I first learned from Starhawk’s work, this is the quest for “power with” instead of “power over.”
Moving into the new calendar year, this is the strength I wish to embody in my life and work. This is the essence of the goals I want to set for myself. So I am sitting with this deeper understanding of Strength to see where it will guide me next. I invite you to do the same. How will Strength manifest in you this year?
Step. Step boldly.
Into this new space.
Reach out with courage,
your strong hands
that keep the faith.
For change, one day,
A Feminist Tarot by Sally Gearhart and Susan Rennie
Dreaming the Dark: Magic, Sex and Politics by Starhawk
Webs of Power: Notes from the Global Uprising by Starhawk
Kissing the Limitless: Deep Magic and the Great Work of Transforming Yourself and the World by T. Thorn Coyle
Kate Brunner is a writer, healer, ritualist, & member of The Sisterhood of Avalon, studying at the Avalonian Thealogical Seminary. She is an American expat, living in Queensland, Australia and homeschooling her children, with the world as their classroom. Before motherhood, Kate earned a Bachelor of Arts from Tulane University, while studying Economics, International Relations, & Religion. She served four years as a logistics officer in the US Army, after which, Kate became a doula and holistic birth educator. She is a regular contributor to The Sisterhood of Avalon’s online journal, The Tor Stone and is active in the Red Tent Movement. Kate volunteered in Houston as a presenter for monthly Red Tents and semi-annual women’s retreats before relocating overseas. She enjoys international travel, perfecting her cooking, reading great books, & having fascinating conversations with friends, old or new.