Vitality depicts a young woman riding on a great lion, wrapping her arms around him in a loving embrace, as he gazes into the eyes of the observer of the card. From below, flames rise up describing the deep passions of our earthly animal selves. From above the woman’s head, vibrant energy from above pours down all around them – connecting their higher self. Together, they speak to a powerful strength, compassion, and self control.
This card is all about connecting to both your higher and lower self, honoring and acknowledging the two sides that make up who you are inside. It calls on you to acknowledge that you have a “lower”, more carnal and physical self, and a “higher”, mental and spiritual self. In this acknowledgement, it implies not only discipline and control over your ego, but mastery over your complete body of consciousness.
This card is called Vitality, drawing upon our deepest sources of strengths, passions, and inner power. It represents a place from where our life-essence comes from, and thus this card relates to both to our “lower” physical and animalistic selves, and our “higher” and spiritually connected minds, when both are united as one.
Where the previous card within the Major Arcana, The Chariot represented our external motion (yang energy), Vitality returns to yin by exploring that same motion on the inside, and returning to the root of our inner power. It speaks towards our passions, “that which drives us”, and relates especially towards our sexuality.
This card is astrologically symbolized by Venus in Leo, and so we see a young female patch lovingly holding onto a large lion, who together are in union and harmony with each other. There is also a great balance here between two very polar opposite energies, the strong male energy of the lion, and the youthful childlike spirit of the girl.
We all have an animal self, it is the aspect of us that is led by survival, instinct and our root desires. It is a crucial part of who we are, and a foundational part of the human experience. When we can accept these “lower” aspects of our consciousness, we can more easily merge them with our higher selves.
This card brings up the question, where do you draw your life force from? What is your passion in life? What sparks inspiration within you? What brings you energy and excitement? While you ask yourself these questions, acknowledge all aspects of yourself, both the highest spiritual goals, and your physical desires too.
Vitality is a reminder that we exist both in our animalistic nature, and in a higher space of awareness. When we accept both sides, then we can use both aspects to grow. You have within you both the loving, gentle energy of a young girl, and an assertive strong energy of a lion. It’s all about when and how we choose to draw these energies from within us.
If you find yourself to be more aggressive and impulsive, look to the calm energy of the feminine for support. If you find yourself needing more inner strength and courage, look to the male energy of the lion. If you are worried about something in your life, this card is a great push to remember your own strength. You can get through anything, and even if your conscious mind doesn’t believe it, deep down there is a part of you that does!
The reversal of the strength and passion sends Vitality into weakness. This might be seen as the opposite of the reversed seen in The Chariot who runs out of control – where Vitality cannot draw the life-force to go on, surrendering to its limitations. This may be caused for several reasons; it may be a lack of passion towards our jobs, partnerships, or lives in general, or a lack of discipline towards our own spiritual calling.
Sometimes all you need is to sit and meditate (or any other spiritual practice/activity) for enough time to find your source of vitality once again. Without the willpower to go and do it, stagnation will continue to exist through your body of consciousness. If the challenge is sexual, it might be related to being sexually dominated in a relationship, or a complete lack of sexual drive because of our own insecurities.
To turn this reversed card upright, identify where it is that you are going in your life, and see if the relationships, job, or other activities you are engaged with in your life are truly fulfilling to you. You can’t truly be happy if you are not doing anything that you genuinely want to be doing, and so this may be a time to break away to get centered and grounded with your own inner passions. Further, if you have blockages within you that are stopping you from living this dream, then it is imperative that you have your inner child speak to your inner lion. Between the two of them, you have all of the information you need to move forward, but unless they can speak with each other, you will only continue the conflict.
The Book of Thoth
The Golden Dawn
The Tarot Handbook