Strength is the ability to combat adverse odds and to remain stalwart even when things are tough. Throughout history, people, governments and organizations have sought strength and looked for things that represent strength. Strength is a quality that is associated with many different things, and if you are choosing a theme for an artistic work or considering a tattoo that expresses your own inner strength, look to see what other people have looked to in the past.
The lion is an African cat that is known for its size and its power. It is associated with many royal houses and crests in Europe, but it also carries connotations of strength in Buddhism. It symbolizes the Buddha, with his roots as a royal prince, and the lion is often used in artistic motifs when the throne of the Buddha is depicted. The Buddha’s teachings are also called the Lion’s Roar. The lion may be used to represent power and regal bearing as well as strength.
Jaguars were an important part of the iconography of the Mayans, a Mesoamerican civilization. The Mayans attributed great power and strength to the jaguar, as the jaguar was one of the rulers of the Mayan underworld. It was associated with the Mayan kings, and in some cases, the pictograph for jaguar was appended to the name of the king. Jaguars were associated with night and leadership as well as with strength.
The Victorian language of flowers allowed people to send coded messages in floral bouquets so long as both parties were using the same code book. While some flowers stood for beauty or for promises, there were several plants and flowers that stood for strength. Garlic was one such plant, though it could also stand for courage and good wishes for the recipient’s health. Ginger stood for strength, and snapdragons could stand for strength or for a gracious lady.
The Tarot is a set of cards that is used for divination. Among the named trump cards is included a card labeled “Strength.” Strength is often depicted as a young girl in white placing a daisy chain around the head of a lion. This card represents strength as the ability of civilization to tame raging impulses and to gentle wild or dangerous forces. It calls to mind the energy of the lion.
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