I was asked a fantastic question the other day about the purpose and meaning behind the infinity symbol (which I have since learned is actually called a “lemniscate”) on the Strength card.
Let’s step back one moment. The lemniscate symbol is most commonly found depicted on The Magician, Strength, The World and the Two of Pentacles in the tarot. While the symbolism contained in the tarot is rich and multilayered, and in an attempt to avoid a full dissertation, I will only point out a few, simple connections that stand out for me.
The lemniscate most recognizably refers to infinity or that without beginning or end. A similar meaning can be found with the Ouroboros (the serpent eating his own tail - ouch!). However, there is less of an alchemical or ancient esoteric iconographic element and instead a more holistic, spiritual dimension associated with the lemniscate. In this way it is a connection to divinity, or that which always is and always will be.
In the Magician card, this represents the connection with a divine source of power. The Magician is the master of the elements, but the skills of his craft (his powers) are divinely gifted.
In the World card, the lemniscate can be glimpsed in the ribbons on the wreath. The World card is one of cycles and the completion of one chapter of life which initiates the next. The Fool steps out of the World and into it once more to repeat the process of growth and development. Self-discovery is an endless process.
In the Two of Pentacles, the energy of and message behind the lemniscate manifests as the eternal balance to prioritize. Our attention is divided between two objects, two individuals, two resources, or even two halves of ourselves. This duality can also represent the struggle to balance our physical and spiritual, or conscious and unconscious, sides of our being.
But why is the Strength card included in the company of these other three?
For me, the Strength card is more one of inner perseverance and fortitude than outer, physical strength. This “true” strength is one that tests our faith and our resolve. Unlike the Magician with his one armed raised to the Heavens, to call upon this Strength, we must appeal to the divinity within.
Of course, in many decks, the Strength card is the number 8 in the major arcana. Perhaps the symbol for infinity was included as it just so happens to look like a figure-eight on its side? Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar….
I’d love to hear your thoughts about the lemniscate in the tarot!
In peace & love,