Most mornings, after pouring myself a cup of coffee, I sit next to my altar and spend time in quiet reflection and journal writing. This ritual sustains my energy and provides direction for my day. I love how this practice helps me tune into my intuition and grounds me.

During a recent practice, I drew the Strength card from one of my tarot decks. Strength is one of the twenty-two major arcana cards found in a traditional tarot. Each major arcana card represents a different archetype or primary pattern of behavior found in mythology. Together the major arcana cards tell the story of a hero’s journey: a story in which the protagonist answers the call for adventure, overcomes adversity, discovers the necessary elixir, and consequently, is transformed.

The Strength card typically is portrayed as a woman hugging a lion in mid roar. The lion, who is expressing its feelings, is contained within the circle of the woman’s arms. The woman is meeting the lion from a place of compassion and respect. She is not punishing or shaming the lion, rather the woman is being kind to the lion. As a consequence, the lion is not hurting anyone as it expresses itself.

When working with a major arcana card, I find it helpful to place the card in the context of the hero’s journey. Some questions that I ask when interpreting the card are:

  • What stage does this card represent in the hero’s journey?
  • What feelings and ideas are evoked as I look at the card?
  • What direction does this card offer in my current situation?
  • How have other hero’s navigated this stage of the journey?

One resource that I use to support my understanding of tarot is Tarot for Change by Jessica Dore. One reason that I enjoy Dore so much is because she brings a psychological perspective to her interpretation of the cards. (Dore is a licensed social worker and worked in the self-help and psychology book industry.) Here is what she said about the Strength card:

We cannot rely on the deployment of willpower and brute force in the face of internal gatekeepers. When facing guardians like anxiety, self-doubt, or a harsh inner critic, we’re more likely to find that attempts to outrun, hide from, deny, or even destroy them is a path toward grave danger and deep trouble. 

But when we learn to honor the humanity in these difficult experiences – anger, grief, loneliness, despair, guilt, shame – we discover that they cannot “kill” us, nor can they pull us from our paths. We honor them by paying our respects, summoning willingness, being curious, and engaging a genuine desire to understand. (p.68)

Dore interprets the lion as the threshold guardian or the internal voice which elicits self-doubt, anxiety, and fear. This voice often tells us that we aren’t worthy or that we are incompetent or that we should hide. When we pay attention to this inner voice, we often play small, punish ourselves, or run away. We allow other people to treat us poorly because we believe that we “don’t deserve better.”

The Strength card not only encourages us to stay the course: it also suggests that these unwanted and uncomfortable feelings are part of the journey. Our inner voice, just like ogres and dragons in adventure stories, is testing our mettle and preparing us for the next step in our journey. If we want to find the elixir and to transform, then we have to be willing to address the feelings and thoughts that get in our way.

Shakti Garden Day

Thank you to everyone who came to the Shakti Garden Day: I can’t wait to see what we grow!

The woman portrayed in the Strength card tells us how to navigate our internal gatekeeper. Notice that she is not hurting the lion, rather she is embracing the lion: an act which evokes feelings of acceptance, kindness, and understanding.

As I pay attention to the message of the Strength card, I ask myself:

How might things be different if I approached myself with acceptance, kindness, and understanding as I confront my mistakes?

One answer lies in the interpretation of this card from another deck. In the Witches’ Wisdom Tarot by Phyllis Curott, the Strength card is portrayed as Rebirth and shows a woman in a green dress, arms spread wide, smiling with joy.

As I look at the Rebirth card, I imagine that is how I would feel if I approached my mistakes from a place of compassion and love. In fact, I know that is how I would feel because self-compassion is something that I am learning to engage with more and more often.

I wish the same for each person who reads these words. I wish for you to be kind and gentle and understanding of yourself, especially when you have made a mistake. I suspect that the more we can meet ourselves with compassion the better able and more likely we will be to meet other people with compassion when they make a mistake.

Wishing everyone a beautiful week!


Kim Bushore-Maki

Luna McFeistyA note from Luna McFeisty:

Did you know that one of the badges you can earn is a Tarot Badge? If the above article inspired you to learn more about tarot, then you may want to register for the Winter Shakti Badge Program where you can download the criteria for earning a badge which encourages the exploration of the Tarot.

Being a Shakti Scout is a great way to learn new things or to hone existing skills. If you want to receive a badge by the Spring Equinox (March 19), then please contact the Shakti Badge Team by email or by dropping by during Makerspace Open Hours. All Winter Badges need to be turned in by March 8. (Remember: there is no rush. You don’t have to complete the criteria before the beginning of next season.)

Kim Bushore-Maki is a soul-driven entrepreneur who understands the undeniable urge to create a business and a life filled with meaning and purpose. Her vision of opening a center where people could heal and grow led her to open Shakti in the Mountains in Johnson City, Tennessee: a place where the creative, feminine energy is nurtured and valued.

Kim is a licensed professional counselor and a yoga teacher. She completed the Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy program as well as the Shake Your Soul Yoga Dance program. Kim is very interested in somatic expressive therapy, archetypal psychology, gardening, herbalism, astrology, wisdom traditions, and regenerative economics.

Kim continues to build and to support inclusive, vibrant communities. She spends most of her time mentoring leaders, guiding healing programs, and providing mental health counseling.

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Shakti Badge Program

Shakti Badge Program

The type of fun that gives you permission to explore new ideas, to try new things, and to shift your perspective. We hope that people who participate in the program not only gain new skills but also make new friends.

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