Strength (Or Lust)
The card for this month is Strength, or Lust -- depending on whether you're using the Rider Waite Smith deck or Aleister Crowley's Thoth Deck.
The Rider Waite Smith version of Strength shows a virginal-looking maiden (seriously, the only other thing she could be wearing is a turtleneck) overcoming an already submissive-looking lion by holding on to its muzzle. A mountain in the background is supposed to be a phallic symbol, but jeez--it's triangular, people. Any study of ancient symbology is usually full of phallic symbols, and a lot of them may be laughable or take some imagination. But this? Nope.
The Thoth deck is about as different as you can get. Here, in a card full of fiery reds and oranges, you have the woman riding the lion, holding up a grail like chalice full of flaming red. She's even called "Daughter of the Flaming Sword."
Granted, that name refers to her position on the Qabalistic Tree of Life, but its not hard to take a foray into the land of sexual metaphor here. This kind of strength isn't about control, but about the fire of passion, extended outward from the warmth of one's own personal power. This is the excitement we have for engaging with life after we've satisfied our basic needs for shelter and food.
Either version of this card offers up to us useful nuggets of life-coachy goodness. Take the Rider-Waite. Often, we're really hard on ourselves in relation to aspects of ourselves we don't like. Maybe we think we're too fat, too outspoken, too thin, to timid, too this or too that. We think that if we could only get rid of that part of ourselves, or force it into submission, our lives will be great.
But this card is not about submission or control. That maiden isn't wrestling the lion -- she's able to work with it because she's kind and respectful of it. Don't try to stamp down parts of yourself thinking you'll come out on top. True strength is listening to and respecting the parts of you that don't make up who you want to be, and working with them.
If you're partial to the Thoth card, then mount that lion! Ride forward into your life with your sacral chakra flaming, and use your instincts and your energy to act with passion to accomplish your goals. Go for it!