exploring life in all its variety

April 13, 2005

Four lions in the Crystal Tarot

Crystal Tarot

Yesterday the Four of Wands came up in a reading with the Crystal Tarot. Later the King of Wands appeared in a separate reading with the same deck. Both cards have lions in their images. This sent me on a search of other lions in this particular deck, and of course I looked next at the Strength card. Finally I noticed there’s a lion’s head in the World card. These lions set me to thinking about the significance of the lion as a symbol.

The keywords given for these four cards in the Crystal Tarot are:

4 of Wands — Alliances
King of Wands — Entrepreneur
XI Strength — Energy
XXI The World — Reward

All are associated with the Fire element. Strength is usually considered to be linked to the astrological sign of Leo, a fire sign. The World is the culmination of things, incorporating all the elements.

The lion is considered the king of beasts, also associated with strength and courage.

The lion is a powerful symbol in one tradition after another, including Judeo-Christian scripture and Buddhist discourses and koans. In Hindu culture the Moodlahara or Base Chakra is associated with the number four (usually depicted as four Kherubim), with the color red, with various animal symbols including the lion, and with the Goddess Devi. The 4th avatar or form of Lord Vishnu is as Narasimha, a Hindu deity who is part lion and part man.

The 4 of Wands in the Crystal Tarot depicts four wands arranged in a square against a deep red checkered background. At the base of the image a lion reclines beneath the square. This lion appears wakeful, as if just beginning to rouse itself from a nap, energy wound up and ready for action. It makes me think of Kundalini sleeping coiled at the base of the spine, a firm foundation with immense potential. When we form alliances with others we create great potential for collaborative action toward our career goals, our family life, and fulfillment of our highest ideals.

The King of Wands image shows a lion sleeping beside a king, who rests one foot on the lion. The King himself appears to drowse. Lights glimmer in the background, arranged in rows like lanterns hanging in the garden. The lion has come home to rest. He’s a dull grayish color, unlike the other two more vibrant lions in the deck. We’re put in mind of an experienced hunter, powerful yet contented to the point of satiety and possibly even complacence. What stories he must have to tell. Perhaps sound advice as well. Do we dare rouse him?

Of the four the Strength card is the most dramatic. This lion is fully awake and ready for action. It takes impressive courage, trust and strength to interact with this cat, not to mention finesse and a certain amount of delicacy. Often we find the most courageous individuals are also the most sensitive. Harnessing and taming our own emotions can be for some of us a lifelong ordeal. But according to Vidyadhara Chögyan Trungpa, “When you begin to experience the process of going towards emotions, rather than emotions coming towards you, then you begin to make a journey. A sense of dance begins to evolve.” The appearance of the Strength card in a reading invites us to dance with our inner beasts, to bring our passion to life in creative or gracefully constructive action and interaction.

What does the lion symbol mean to you?

File: — Barbara @ 6:37 pm PST, 04/13/05

3 Comments

  1. etherealfire says:

    Great assessment! Also that looks like a very cool deck!

  2. creatrix says:

    Thank you for linking to us! I’m enjoying touring your blog. :)

  3. TarotGirl says:

    This is actally one of my favorite tarot decks :)


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