Circe (pronounced /ˈsɜrsiː/; Greek Κίρκη Kírkē “falcon”):
And yet, when others came to the palace of Circe, they also saw many beasts, but of the regular kind, that is, such as lions, bears and wolves, which however, acted as domesticated animals, showing their kindness by wagging their tails. Some say that these were actually the drugged victims of Circe. This power displays her ability to control the wild and potentially dangerous forces of the natural world. In her possession of the beasts, she does not dominate them by force, rather she controls her victims, man and beast alike, to which Odysseus feels ‘oppressed’.
The image above crossed my path this evening and I immediately thought, “Strength.” Not just because of the image of a woman and a lion, but because of the mythology surrounding Circe, especially that found in Homer’s “Odyssey.” When questioned on her habit of transforming her guests into various wild animals, Circe professes that she merely gives men their true forms, as the beasts they are. Once transfigured, the men/beasts are then subject to her will. I see this as a wonderful metaphor for the Strength card:
“Amazed, the Fool asks her, ‘How did you do that?’ One hand on the lion’s mane, she answers, ‘Will power. Any beast, no matter how wild, will back down before a superior will.’ At that moment, the Maiden meets the Fool’s eyes; though saintly and young, her look is knowing and filled with great power. ‘Likewise,’ she says to him, ‘there are many unworthy impulses inside us. It is not wrong to have them. But it is wrong to let them control us. We are human, not beast, and we can command such energy, use them for higher purposes.’ “