XI Strength
Sally Anne Stephen
The Color Purple

So many of the traditional interpretations and keywords for the Strength card personify the character of Celie in this story. Finding one's way to meet adverse force head on with benevolence and compassion is indeed a central theme throughout. And as we discover, the strongest souls don't always win the match by overpowering the will, but quite often countering with an unexpected reaction is what ends up subverting the opponent's advantage. Celie keeps her innocent spirit safely tucked away among the words of her letters and despite the many unbearable circumstances she faces along her road, she somehow manages to persevere through a substantial part of it without any conscious sense of her own self-worth.

Finding love and understanding, reconciling the forces of the past - with others in her life as well as herself, finally frees Celie's heart and allows her to discover and embrace her personal power.

The card's image shows us a woman whose life story can be accurately gauged by the depth of her expression, occasionally pausing to read between the lines in her face and finding solace among hopes and dreams as could only be seen though her eyes. Always at her side, the young girl that she never really got to be, yet to whom she remains true in her heart. The iron shackles symbolic of another era of oppression have come loose, no longer holding the spirit captive. And should we ever need to find our own Strength within, a reminder to notice the color purple as we pass by the fields.

XI - Strength

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