Tarot cards don’t have to be used just as a part of a spread (laying a particular number of cards in a particular arrangement). They’re wonderful tools for self-examination and inner healing.
VIII/XI Strength is an excellent choice for meditation when you’re feeling really wiped out or when you’re coming up against your wild child self a little too often for your tastes.
Often we’re tired because we’re using a lot of our natural vitality to keep our less civilized self on a short leash. Most of us do that pretty much all the time (just imagine a public place if we were letting our bad dog selves act out!). If we spend a little time privately with our wild self, we can use our energy for something better than big cat containment.
Take a look at the XI Woodward from the Wildwood Tarot. He’s the Wildwood version of VIII/XI Strength. You can note, for tarot purposes, that he’s in the original position of VIII/XI Strength, before A.E. Waite changed the sequence for the Rider-Waite-Smith deck: XI.
A Woodward is the guardian of the wilderness. He’s the embodiment of all those Wilderness Protection and Preservation Acts, making sure the wilderness stays in balance as a functioning eco-system. He understands every element of the wilderness under his watch, and identifies with the wild spaces.
He definitely understands the processes of life and death: look at that spear tip and the materials he’s garbed in. He identifies so thoroughly with the big cat that he wears the skin of another one. That cat head on top of his own lets us know he thinks like a cat.
Put yourself in the position of the Woodward. If you were guardian to your own wilderness, what would you do for yourself to balance and protect it? Look at your day so far: where did your wildness factor into your experiences? Is there any wilderness restoration necessary after those experiences?
Then put yourself in the position of the big cat. If you knew you had the Woodward looking after you, what would you feel free to do? In what areas could you relax your vigilance or territorial behavior? What needs would you communicate to your Woodward?
Spend a little time this week learning about your inner beast, and about yourself as a caretaker of the beast. Tweak a few things in your life as a result of what you’ve learned; make your life a little more wild child friendly.