Toth Key XI – Strength/Lust
Lose yourself in loosening the reins of weakness
Use your power to affect change
See the full vision of many paths and many ways of being
Trust in your instincts as….
The Strength Within You Grows
Wait, what? Why are the Strength and Justice Keys reversed in Rider-Waite vs. Toth? These are the numbers:
Rider-Waite: Key VIII – Strength
Toth: Key VIII – Adjustment/Justice
Rider-Waite: Key XI – Justice Rider-Waite
Toth: Key XI – Strength/Lust
The sweet irony of this draw is…
Strength and Justice make wonderful bedfellows. What we lust after is fueled by action, desire and determination. Strength benefits from these attributes when they are in balance – the necessary component to ensure that Justice is exactly that.
In drawing a comparison on this first draw between the Rider-Waite and Toth decks there is immediately an anomaly. The other cards within these decks parallel of one another. But, not so regarding the Strength and Justice cards. It is unclear why Crowley chose to switch these two cards in number and name, but for our purposes this differing assignation offers some interesting thoughts to be used in answering the initial inquiry.
The Numerologic Values…
The Rider-Waite key of Strength is attributed to the number 8 (VIII).
Eight (8) is the number of time, longevity and the ability to take knowledge acquired and give it practical application. Some fairly relevant correspondences for the Strength Key.
In the Toth deck this same card is given the value of 11 (XI). Eleven is considered a master number holding the replication of the singular one as it echoes back to itself. The “one” of self-identification and self-awareness. I consider the number 11 as the opportunity for awareness of the “I” that is human and fully embodied and the “I AM” that knows of its Divinity. And, having that knowledge rises into the space of power and cooperative dialogue with both the mundane and spiritual aspects of “itself”. Another excellent correspondence for a Key that speaks to the strength inherent in control and right action.
Toth’s Key of Strength is one of Lust…
The Tarot Key of Strength is named Lust in the Toth deck. Lust, by (modern) definition is used to describe intense or unbridled sexual desire. But, there are other definitions that should be considered…..
- obsolete form: pleasure, delight or personal inclination
- an intense longing: craving, enthusiasm or eagerness
Looking at the similar (Rider-Waite) image of Strength on the Toth Key is taking strength one step further.
The feminine is naked and astride the wildness that could easily claim her life. There is strength in the vulnerability displayed. Unlike the Rider-Waite Key that has a connotation of strength being found in quieting the primal using a genteel quality, Lust unabashedly claims its strength through in becoming a part of what is instinctual rising up on the back of what it feels no need to tame, nor is threatened by.
The lion in this Key is multi-headed and loosely resembles an actual Lion. Seven heads, seven different paths, seven different perspectives. The tail a lion headed serpent. The serpent of wisdom, the lion is a beast of courage and fierce protection of what is its own. Strength takes courage and following the wisdom of the strength is one that is fueled by lust for power and control. And, if we wish to hold onto the sexual attribution given Lust, there is no more powerful or potent force than the energy that arises from the act(ion) of sex fueled by Lust.
The reason I chose the Toth Tarot to use in tandem with the more traditional Rider-Waite is the rich and varied symbols that are presented in the images and as part of the Key itself.
In the lower left corner is a Hebrew letter, Teth:
The Toth Keys make use of the Qabalistic discipline, astrology and hermetic symbology in an overt and pictorial way. Teth in english means Serpent and in Qabalistic practice the letter assigned to one of the Paths of the Qabalistic Tree of Life-the Nineteenth-19- the path of the Serpent. This is a path that is one of creativity and necessary destruction. Polarities that are co-dependent on the other in order to cultivate a strength that can survive and surmount any difficulty. The serpent sheds it skin as it outgrows and outwears what no longer serves. This is the transformation needed- the shedding of old beliefs that have we have outgrown- so that strength can give us the courage to speak our truths and live our philosophies.
Strength Aligns with the astrological sign of Leo
The other symbol on the Tarot Key is that of the astrological sign, Leo. The power of the Sun, the charismatic and magnetic resonance that draws to itself the power of action and the potential for strengthening this light. Leo is a fixed sign of the Zodiac meaning that its energy is one of synthesis and stability. It aligns with the element of Fire and this Fire is one that burns brightly with intention to overcome and reform what holds us fearing our instinctual and more primal self.
You say Strength, I say Justice…
Here we go back to the beginning and the switch up of the Keys and their numeric assignment that differ. Although this is not a necessary component in comparing the two keys in the differing decks, I found it interesting that looking at the number of the Keys and having two different cards representing that number’s energy just happened to be two principles that are in such support of one another.
Justice and Strength- the courage to stand strong in your beliefs and the strength to take justifiable action towards change. Although, the Key of Justice was not drawn for this first endeavor, it is exactly the underpinning that is needed for these Troubling Times.
Blessings of Strength!
Next Draw: February 1st