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How to tame a lion.

October card of the month – Strength.

When this card comes up what message should we take? As always it’s going to depend on what you are asking about and in what position it appears.

The keywords for this card include strength, confidence, courage in the face of adversity and resilience. So, in the past position you might consider the ways in which you have shown courage or needed to be brave. When we use the Celtic cross spread and look to our hopes or fears, this card can throw light on a desire to be confident or a worry that when tough times come along you will be asked to find more strength or bravery than you have.

The lesson this card teaches though is not about incredible physical strength or force. It has a much gentler energy. There is much balance to be considered here. Most traditional cards picture a smartly dressed lady who can represent civilised society or our higher self. She is shown taming a lion, the symbol of our base animal instincts, not by force but with patience and kindness. The lion is the alchemical symbol for primary matter that can be transformed into gold, a philosophical metaphor for attaining an enlightened state of mind. Indeed, other keywords for this card include self-awareness, patience and compassion.

From a self development point of view, if we take this card in isolation as a touchstone for the coming month, we should be looking at being more aware of the way in which we feel and react to external challenges. Next time your boss/colleague/partner/child asks you for that information AGAIN take a moment to breathe and name your feelings before you respond with respect. Accept that whilst you cannot control others, you can control how you choose to react. And what about internal conflict? This card relates as much to inner challenge as external obstacles. How do you speak to yourself? Are you your own best friend or is your inner critic allowed a free rein? Taming the lion is not a forceful takeover but self-control and courage when dealing with fierce impulses and your shadow side.

There is no place here for aggression. The route to success if you are teaching others or persuading people around to your point of view is via respectful listening and understanding, taking the compassionate view, and showing quiet determination to keep on trying even when it is hard. This takes mental and emotional strength plus the strength of your convictions. Physical strength does play a part too. Emotional and mental resilience over the long term is tiring. This is not about quick wins or point scoring, after all a lion is not tamed in a day.

At points along life’s path, we will inevitably encounter trials and adversity. The lesson we’d like to take on board is that we can handle all these challenges calmly if only we tap into our inner reserves of strength, master our animalistic drives and be confident in our own adaptability. We can become resilient.

In what small ways can you practice tapping into that inner strength today? What difficult or uncomfortable feeling might you address? This preparation encourages growth in readiness for future challenges.

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