path connecting Geburah and Chesed is symbolized by the Strength Tarot card.
Geburah and Chesed both represent different aspects of Christ; Geburah portrays
Christ as an avenger and punisher of sins, and Chesed represents Christ’s mercy
and willingness to forgive. This path connects Strength and Mercy and forms the
top section of a cross linked to the Pillar of Mildness.
The image on the Tarot card is of a Woman shutting the mouth of a lion. The woman is wearing a white gown like the saints in the Book of Revelations (Chapter 7). Like the Magician Tarot card, the woman has a symbol of eternity over her head – symbolizing that she is one of God’s chosen people who will inherit eternal life. The woman is closing the month of the lion; demonstrating that not all strength is derived from muscles. The lion is licking the woman and combined with the flowers (representing life) the image portrays the peace that will be experienced on God’s Holy Mountain, which is pictured in the background of the card.
Not all strength is physical. Courage and valor are examples of true strength, yet these characteristics have nothing to do with muscle. Christ exemplified courage when He identified Himself to the band of men who came to arrest Him – knowing that He would be tortured and killed (John 18:4-5). It is because of Christ’s sacrifice that He earned the right to offer forgiveness and execute judgment (Revelations 5:4-6) – the two spheres this path of the Qabalah connects.
It is fitting that a woman was used to symbolize strength on the tarot card, because women are capably of exerting great power and influence over men. In the Apocrypha, a king challenged the wisest men in the land to debate as to whom or what was the most powerful on earth. The winner of the challenge answered that women and truth were the most powerful.
1 Esdras 4:13-27 Then the third, who had spoken of women, and of the truth, began to speak. O ye men, it is not the great king, nor the multitude of men, neither is it wine, that excelleth; who is it then that ruleth them, or hath the lordship over them? Are they not women? Women have borne the king and all the people that bear rule by sea and land. Even of them came they: and they nourished them up that planted the vineyards, from whence the wine cometh. These also make garments for men; these bring glory unto men; and without women cannot men be. Yea, and if men have gathered together gold and silver, or any other goodly thing, do they not love a woman which is comely in favour and beauty? And letting all those things go, do they not gape, and even with open mouth fix their eyes fast on her; and have not all men more desire unto her than unto silver or gold, or any goodly thing whatsoever? A man leaveth his own father that brought him up, and his own country, and cleaveth unto his wife. He sticketh not to spend his life with his wife and remembereth neither father, nor mother, nor country. By this also ye must know that women have dominion over you: do ye not labour and toil, and give and bring all to the woman? Yea, a man taketh his sword, and goeth his way to rob and to steal, to sail upon the sea and upon rivers; And looketh upon a lion, and goeth in the darkness; and when he hath stolen, spoiled, and robbed, he bringeth it to his love. Wherefore a man loveth his wife better than father or mother. Yea, many there be that have run out of their wits for women, and become servants for their sakes. Many also have perished, have erred, and sinned, for women.
One of the wise men suggested that wine was the most powerful and another suggested the king was the most powerful, but the third declared women are the most powerful. Although wine can influence people and the king controls the wine and has the authority to put people to death, women have the ability to control the king.
1 Esdra 4:28-32 And now do ye not believe me? Is not the king great in his power? do not all regions fear to touch him? Yet did I see him and Apame the king's concubine, the daughter of the admirable Bartacus, sitting at the right hand of the king, and taking the crown from the king's head, and setting it upon her own head; she also struck the king with her left hand. And yet for all this the king gaped and gazed upon her with open mouth: if she laughed upon him, he laughed also: but if she took any displeasure at him, the king was fain to flatter, that she might be reconciled to him again. O ye men, how can it be but women should be strong, seeing they do thus?
The king may possess great power – to the point that all fear to even touch him – yet, his concubine can take the crown off of the kings head and place it on her own. If the king offends her, he is quick to flatter until he can get back into her good graces. The influence of women over men has existed from the very beginning.
Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
Genesis 3:12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Eve made the decision to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and she had no trouble convincing Adam to do the same.
Judges 14:15-17 Then it came about on the fourth day that they said to Samson's wife, "Entice your husband, so that he will tell us the riddle, or we will burn you and your father's house with fire. Have you invited us to impoverish us? Is this not so?" Samson's wife wept before him and said, "You only hate me, and you do not love me; you have propounded a riddle to the sons of my people, and have not told it to me." And he said to her, "Behold, I have not told it to my father or mother; so should I tell you?" And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she lay sore upon him: and she told the riddle to the children of her people.
Samson’s wife coaxed the riddle from him and told it to her people. This betrayal resulted in intense anger, and Samson’s wife married another while Samson was focused on revenge.
Judges 16:5-7 The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.” So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.”
Judges 16:15-22 Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it. So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.” When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, “Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had left him. Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison. But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.
Samson did not learn from the betrayal of his first wife, and once again his secrets were coaxed out of him by a woman.
Proverbs 2:16-19 To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.
Proverbs 7:1-12 My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart. Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words. For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. For my husband is not at home, he is gone a long journey: He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed. With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life. Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.
Women have great power over men, and can easily influence them. The warnings in the Book of Proverbs are meant to equip the child with a response to the dangers it he will face. The adulterous woman can lead men to their deaths, but wisdom can protect them. Proverbs personifies both the women ‘Wisdom’ and ‘Folly’ in Proverbs chapter 9, and compares the two in order to encourage people to seek wisdom over folly.
The symbolism of the woman shutting the mouth of the lion on the Strength Tarot card alludes to God’s power to shut the mouth of lions in order to protect His servants.
Psalm 91:13-15 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
Daniel 6:15-17 Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.” So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed.
Daniel 6:19-23 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.” The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
God has the power to shut the mouths of lions, and He provides strength to those who trust in Him.
2 Timothy 4:16-18 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Philippians 4:12-13 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
1 Peter 5:7-9 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
The above verses remind us to trust in God and cast our anxieties on Him. He will support us in the good times and the bad, but we are also warned to be alert; our enemies prowl around like a lion, looking for someone to devour. We are to be cautious and to live prudently, but in all things we must trust in God – knowing that He will give us the strength to overcome any temptation we might face (1 Corinthians 10:13). We can trust in God and have confidence.
Proverbs 28:1 The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
Numbers 23:23-25 There is no divination against Jacob, no evil omens against Israel. It will now be said of Jacob and of Israel, ‘See what God has done!’ The people rise like a lioness; they rouse themselves like a lion that does not rest till it devours its prey and drinks the blood of its victims.” Then Balak said to Balaam, “Neither curse them at all nor bless them at all!”
Numbers 24:8-10 “God brought them out of Egypt; they have the strength of a wild ox. They devour hostile nations and break their bones in pieces; with their arrows they pierce them. Like a lion they crouch and lie down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse them? “May those who bless you be blessed and those who curse you be cursed!” Then Balak’s anger burned against Balaam. He struck his hands together and said to him, “I summoned you to curse my enemies, but you have blessed them these three times.”
God blessed the Hebrew people to the point that Balaam was unable to curse them – his attempt at cursing them was turned into a blessing. God’s people can stand with the strength of lions; while the wicked flee when no one is even pursuing them.
1 Samuel 17:33-37 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you.”
God gave King David the strength and courage to face the giant Philistine, and protected David previously when he faced a lion and a bear. God is able to rescue His people from any danger.
Psalm 17:11-13 They have tracked me down, they now surround me, with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground. They are like a lion hungry for prey, like a fierce lion crouching in cover. Rise up, LORD, confront them, bring them down; with your sword rescue me from the wicked.
Psalm 91:12-14 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
God will rescue His people from the wicked. In the Book of Revelations, Jesus is referred to as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and is prophesied to open the scrolls and lead the heavenly hosts against evil.
Isaiah 31:4-5 This is what the LORD says to me: “As a lion growls, a great lion over its prey—and though a whole band of shepherds is called together against it, it is not frightened by their shouts or disturbed by their clamor—so the LORD Almighty will come down to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights. Like birds hovering overhead, the LORD Almighty will shield Jerusalem; he will shield it and deliver it, he will ‘pass over’ it and will rescue it.”
Revelation 5:4-6 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
Jesus will lead the armies of Heaven and liberate God’s chosen people from the evil in the world. Once in Heaven there will be peace. On God’s Holy Mountain the lion and the lamb will lie down together, and there will no longer be any danger.
Isaiah 65:24-25 Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD.
Isaiah 11:5-7 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.