Tyldwick - Fortitude


What I notice in the Fortitude card:

garden wall with a protruding lion's head

The garden itself can represent an unprotected place. In the world outside the safety of our cocoons, we find people and situations that we have to deal with, from "pesky mosquitoes" to "poisonous vipers." The lion is the fiery passion and power we have to deal with these things, but it must be tamed to be useful. Its mouth is closed and its razor-sharp claws are hidden behind the garden wall. In this capacity, it provides us with courage (minus the violence) to meet our challenges; it gives us an inner strength (minus the arrogance) to remain steadfast, patient and tolerant. This is a power we must control, otherwise we will be controlled by it.

The wren symbolizes that strength sometimes comes in humble packaging. We have Carolina wrens here, and they can achieve an amazing decibel level with their songs. They remind me that it is okay to speak up (and do it loudly), as long as what I say isn't just used to shred someone out of anger (like the lion's teeth and claws). Justice rather than pride should be the goal. The Carolina wrens are very susceptible to icy, winter weather. This characteristic warns me to keep a warm heart in my dealings with others, even when trying to right a wrong. As the Dhammapada states, "Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love."



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I was having a good look at this card today and my perspective on it flipped.
Instead of a wren on a ledge in front of a green wall with a lions head above it, the image became that of a bird perched on the edge of a green pool with the dry lions fountain head on the other side of the pool.
The green pool is murky and it's hard to see what lies within it, but becomes a very calming image, possibly showing the calm control that can be achieved by looking deep within ourselves.

I was using it to meditate on my very calm and relaxed Sunday, so that may be influencing my interpretation.


I like the addition of the pool, Phineas!

ETA: The more I look at this card, the more I think you were right about the pool Phineas. The water in the pool is a green, murky color, and we are unable to see within its depths. I am reminded not to use what is outward to judge/assume what is inward. The only way to find out for sure what a person is thinking or feeling is to ask them.


At the risk of being too on the nose, my first impression of this card was that it was a pool. And how refreshing a little bath would be right about then, but the wren seems unsure, rather fearful. It is, after all, all by its lonesome, with just that lion across the way with its mouth bared.

The bird, I'm sure, realizes that it's just a statue, yet it is still intimidated and remains in pause/paralysis. Just as we can be when faced with something big and scary. How do we react when faced with our own fears, real or imaginary? What gets us moving beyond them?


Birds generally won't bathe in water that is deep, only shallow water where they can see the bottom. So as much as he'd like a bath, I don't think he'd attempt it. But even drinking out of such deep, murky water would make one cautious. What if something popped up and grabbed the wren? (Reminds me of the recent pictures of the baby elephant whose trunk was grabbed by a crocodile. Eek!) So now this makes me switch viewpoints and ask, "Am I intimidating someone? Am I using my anger and power to manipulate another?"
ETA: Baby elephant got away and was fine. :)


You're right! I've never seen a bird bathing in deep waters. :)

And thank you for the baby elephant story. I'm so glad that it was okay.

Sulis Manoeuvre

Yes, I see this one as a pool too. Or more specifically, a stone trough, with a few blobs of lichen on it and chisel-marks along the edge. I get a lovely sense of calm from that green expanse of water, despite the murkiness, and it seems to balance with the pink colour in the stone. To me, the wren is not frightened or threatened at all, it's standing there in the full awareness that the lion isn't going to harm it. That's where the usual meaning of the Strength card comes in for me, it's that quiet confidence in being safe and in control, despite the presence of powerful forces. The lion is weighted down by the hefty lintel stone above him, which keeps his power in check. I really like this card, the whole image feels calm and safe to me. There's something very delicately balanced in the poise between the stone lion and the live bird.

swimming in tarot

Just wondering about the title "Fortitude" rather than Strength. Prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude were the classical, cardinal virtues, which any educated gentleman of the time would be able to tell you. There doesn't seem to be a Prudence card, so I don't know if I'm attempting to pursue a false lead with this association.

ETA: Funny, I just looked again at the trough, because it appeared to be out of perspective, which was bothering me. It doesn't reflect what's above it, which would have given a sense of scale that we are noticing is lacking; instead, it shows the right-side-up silhouette of a seated or half-crouching lion (such as is found in pairs in statuary, as guardian lions) in pale green against the darker green, like the lion on the left, in the link. Suggests, to me, fortitude in one's stillness; strength in one's calm.


Just wondering about the title "Fortitude" rather than Strength.

Same here. What draws my eye in this image is the large crack running across the stone on top of the card. It looks like this section of the wall may have crumbled off by now... except for the lion that is patiently bearing the weight.

I may not have made this connection with "Strength" but "Fortitude" suggests endurance to me, especially over a long period of time. How long has the lion carried this burden? How much longer will it last? Either way it has no choice but to continue to endure until the weight is removed. Might as well face it with courage and strength!