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Observations placeholder

Wirth, Oswald – 11 Strength



Type of Spiritual Experience


Thy Will be Done

A description of the experience

The Tarot of the Magicians – Oswald Wirth English translation 1985 Samuel Weiser.

First published in Paris in 1927 under the original title: Le Tarot, des lmagiers du Moyen Age

Supreme energy which no brutality can resist is represented in the Tarot by the aspect of a blond and graceful queen who without any apparent effort tames a furious lion whose jaws she is holding apart. This conception of strength, seen as a cardinal virtue, is remote from the banal representations of a Hercules leaning upon his club and clothed in the spoils of the lion of Nemea. It is not physical strength, nor muscular, which arcana 11 is extolling.

It is concerned with the exercise of feminine strength, much more irresistible in its gentleness and subtlety than any outburst of anger and brute force……………….

It is not an evil animal in spite of its ferociousness. Left to itself, it hoards, devours and destroys with a selfish fury; it is not like this if it is tamed, for, being very like the black Sphinx of the Chariot (arcana 7) it renders great services to whoever can master it.

There is, therefore, no reason to kill the animal, even within our own personality, as the ascetics do. The Wise man respects all energies even when dangerous, for he is of the opinion that they exist to be caught and wisely used.....................

This Initiate scorns· nothing inferior; he considers to be sacred even the least noble instincts, for they are the stimulant necessary for every action. Strong mastery over life requires that the forces which tend to evil should be changed into useful energies. What is vile must not be destroyed, but ennobled through change, like lead which one must learn how to elevate to the dignity of gold.

It is useless to expect from the mass of people virtue, disinterest, the austere accomplishment of duty.

Egotism in all forms remains the Prince of this base world; the Wise man makes his decision and takes the Devil into account to force it, in spite of itself, to take part in the Great Work. Such is the teaching of arcana 11.

The feminine Magician who thus puts the masculine or dorian programme into practice is called Intelligence. She is the Charmer to whom we owe the conquests of learning and the progress of civilization; but the marvels which she brings about secretly are more admirable than those which are obviously confirmed.

Were it not for the irresistible intervention of the royal tamer, in which are united the Empress (arcana 3) and Justice (arcana 8), selfish interests would oppose all collective life.

If the organism resists the discords of the elements which make it up, it is because it possesses an organic soul in which resides a strength superior to that of mean grabbing.

When the citizens think only of themselves, the nation is in danger, if it resists the force of individual appetites, it is the miracle of national spirit symbolized in the Tarot by the Woman victorious over the rapacious Animal.

The queen who is calmly mastering rebellious energies is clothed in the colours of the Priestess (arcana 2): a blue dress and red mantle, for her action is mysterious like that of Nature-Isis. But the blue of strength is the light sky-blue of the Empress.

Like that of the Magician (arcana 1), the headdress of Strength takes on the shape of an eight on its side 00.  The return to this sign at the end of an active row of the first eleven arcanas  assigns the Infinite both as the source and the end of conscious, willed and dorian activity.

The Magician's hat is simpler than Strength's, having neither crown nor coloured plumage, for spiritual power (crown) is only acquired by exercising it, and practical knowledge is not innate. The Magician has the capacity to achieve all, but he has instructed and disciplined himself in the course of his career as an Initiate in the masculine or dorian sphere. Arcana 11 in this respect, marks the ideal which it is possible to attain. The wise man can have at his disposal an immense strength if he thinks wisely and if his own will is identified with the Supreme Will.


Keywords :  Reason and feeling combined to master instinct. The individual word. The expansion of the Thought-will emitted by the individual. Triumph of intelligence over brutality. Human wisdom and knowledge subjugating the blind forces of Nature.
Virtue, courage, calm, intrepidity. Moral force imposing itself upon brute force and selfish passions.

The source of the experience

Tarot, the

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps