VIIII. Fortitudo - Andreia - Fortitude (9, 11/8)

Magistra Gladii - Mistress of the Sword

Domina bestiarum lenis (Gentle Lady of the Beasts)
Kurene (Cyrene); Artemis (Potnia Theron), Diana.
2+4 = Virtue + Female (Water); 4+3 = Virtue + Third (Fire).
1+6+4 = 1st Ogdoad + Virtue + Female.
Greek Letter = Iota:
Iskhus = strength, force, might; Iphi = strongly, valiantly.
:II Name: Sun = the Gentle. Image: Wind, Wood. The First Daughter, associated with penetration, following guidelines, work, vehemence, changeability.


In an uncultivated field a young woman holds the open jaws of a lion, which sits to her right, but is partly hidden behind a thorny, wild rose bush. We cannot tell whether she is trying to open or close his jaws. Though the lion looks ferocious, the woman has an expression of calm confidence. Indeed, a sword lies unused on the ground nearby.

The woman wears a lion skin mantle, with the paws hanging in front, over an elegant saffron peplos (long robe), and has a wreath of white roses in her hair. The lion's hair coat is reddish-tan, and he has a wreath of red roses around his neck.


With gentle hand and eye she charms the beast And teaches him the time to speak. Released From fear of one another, freedom grows For each, a bond that blossoms like the rose. It's love, not force or fear, that tames the beast!


In simplest terms this trump represents fortitude, that is, strength, vigor and courage. However, fortitude appears on two levels. The lion represents the strength, vigor and courage of the primitive elements of the psyche, the fiery vitality of one's animal nature. The lion is noble, even regal, but potentially savage, uncontrollable, destructive and devouring.

The young woman, Andreia, represents the anima, which mediates between the ego and the beast. She symbolizes fortitude of a different kind, for she has a magical control over beasts of all kinds, directed not by a wand, but by her eyes and hands. Her power is strong and she has the courage to use it to control animal nature.

Though Andreia is skilled with the sword, she has set it aside, because it's ineffective for training the beast. The sword represents rational discrimination, but this task demands a gentle eye and the physical application of compassionate hands. For Andreia does not want to kill the beast; she knows it will be better for both of them if he is tamed and trained. In this way they can cooperate and both will win new freedom. No longer will consciousness be forced to flee the beast; no longer will the beast be driven by its instincts.

Andreia is manipulating the lion's mouth. She may encourage the beast to close its mouth and cease its primitive roaring; or she may encourage him to open his mouth, and help him to articulate his needs and desires. In this way Andreia and the lion can help one another, and live happily together - for he is her familiar.


About this trump Dummett (118) says, "In all early Italian sources, the card is called la fortezza, which (apart from the irrelevant meaning of 'the fortress') can only mean 'fortitude.'" Fortitude (Greek andreia) is one of the four cardinal virtues (or excellences), which were enumerated by Plato (Rep. 442b-d) as the basis of all other virtues, and which were analyzed by Aristotle (Nic. Eth. II.vii); the other three are temperance (sophrosune), justice (dikaiosune) and prudence (phronesis).

In Latin, fortitudo means both physical strength, vigor and courage. It derives from fortis, which means strong, vigorous, healthy, sexually vigorous, robust, brave, bold and heroic. (OLD s.vv.) The corresponding Greek word, andreia, is literally manliness, but was also applied to women (LSJ). This apparent inversion of sex roles is characteristic of rites of passage; it's a key feature of the myth of Apollo's marriage to Kurene (see below) and several similar myths (Bonnefoy 100-1). I've adopted Andreia as an attractive name for the young woman in IX.Fortitude.

The lion itself is a symbol of courage and strength, but also of the danger of untamed nature (Cooper s.v. lion; Beidermann s.v. lion). In classical times, demigods (such as Hercules) were often depicted defeating lions, a symbol of the triumph of human nature over animal nature (Biedermann s.v. lion). Therefore, in IX.Fortitude we see personified human strength and courage taming animal strength and courage (Nichols 202).

The virtues are traditionally depicted as young women in long robes, sometimes with wings (Biedermann s.v. virtues); one reason they are women may be that in Latin and Greek the virtues are feminine nouns (as are most abstract nouns). Therefore, we find Fortitude represented in two common ways: (1) a young woman holding a marble column, which is often broken (in Ferrarese and Bolognese cards); (2) a young woman holding a lion's jaws (as in the Visconti di Modrone, Cary-Yale Visconti, and Marseilles decks). The Visconti-Sforza deck is nearly unique in showing a man - apparently Hercules - clubbing the lion. (Dummett 118; Moakley 78) Since the pelt of the Nemean Lion was impenetrable, Hercules wore it for protection; a lion skin is another symbol of fortitude (Biedermann s.v. courage). The Tarocchi of Mantegna card called Fortezza combines four different symbols of fortitude: A woman in a long robe (1) wears the pelt of a lion (a la Hercules) or a helmet, (2) breaks a marble column with her left hand, (3) holds a mace in her right hand, and (4) has a lion standing behind her.

IX.Fortitude is the last card of the Triumph of Virtue, which comprises trumps VI-IX, including VII.Temperance and VIII.Victory. X.Fortune separates the Triumph of Virtue from XI.Old Man, the first card of the Triumph of Time. (cf. Moakley 78) In Petrarch's Trionfi, Chastity defeats Love and so the Triumph of Love is followed by the Triumph of Chastity, who is attended by many other virtues, including Moderation (cf. 7.Temperance), Honor and Glory (cf. 8.Victory), Perseverance (cf. 9.Fortitude), Prudence, Foresight, Purity and Beauty (Trionfi, Wilkins tr. p. 42; Morley tr. ll. 123-141).

We might expect XX.Justice, one of the four cardinal virtues, to appear in the Triumph of Virtue. In some old tarot decks (and in Levi, Papus and Wirth) it is trump 8, which puts it in Tr. Virtue, but at the expense of Fortitude which becomes trump 11, and thus in Tr. Time. Therefore I have left Justice as trump 20, its position in the oldest enumerations of the trumps (e.g. Sermones de ludo cum aliis, c. 1500). As will be explained at the appropriate time, I think XX.Justice represents more than just the virtue.

When the lion peeks out so that only its head and open eyes are visible, it symbolizes vigilance; when it moves out as though to pounce, and its head and shoulders appear, it represents force; but when the lion boldly exposes itself to full view, it is a sign of courage. In our image the lion is three-quarters exposed to represent the ambivalence of the animal nature, for it is not truly domesticated, nor can it be. The lion is associated with the heat of the summer sun, which fosters growth but also scorches the ground. (Cooper s.v. lion; Goldsmith 117, 119)

The following is from Pindar's Ninth Pythian Ode (translated by C. J. Billson), and describes Apollo's first glimpse of the nymph Kurene (Cyrene):

Apollo, lord of the wide quiver fair And far-sped arrows, found her on a day Wrestling unarmed against a lion bold, And cried to Chiron: "Son of Philyra, Come from thy sacred cavern and behold What woman's soul can dare! This calm-browed girl essays a wondrous fight. Her heart no toil can weaken, and her mind No fear subdue. Born of what mortal kind Is she, and stolen from what tribe of might, Who haunts these glades of shadowy mountains wild? Illimitable strength her actions prove. The nymph Kurene was the daughter of Hypseus ("Highest," referring to the sky) and the Naiad Creusa (a water nymph). She was known as a virgin huntress who used her skill with sword and spear to protect her father's herds. After Kurene had defeated the lion, Apollo proposed to her, which is notable, since gods are usually content with rape or seduction (Bonnefoy 100-1). In this he followed the advice of Chiron, the wise centaur, who represents complete integration of human and bestial vitality; Chiron also prophesied that Kurene would bear Apollo a child, Aristaios ("the Best"), who would be a second Apollo and a second Zeus, nobler than the originals, who had defiled themselves through violence. For their wedding, Apollo took Kurene to Libya, where the queen had promised the kingdom to whomever could kill a savage lion that was devastating the country. Kurene, of course, did the job, and the country was henceforth named after her (Kurene, i.e. Cyrene). Incidentally, when Apollo mated with her he took the form of a wolf, thus effecting a true conjunction of the anima and the beast. (Kerenyi 141-2; Oswalt 79)

Kurene the virgin huntress reminds us of Artemis, and indeed Kurene's story was probably originally a myth of Artemis, which was transferred after Artemis came to be thought of as a virgin goddess rather than a mother goddess, as were many stories (OCD s.v. Artemis). (See VI.Love for the nonvirgin Artemis.) Artemis, the Lady of Wild Things (Potnia Theron), is certainly an appropriate goddess for IX.Fortitude; we saw her as a moon goddess in IV.High Priestess, but both trumps represent the anima. As the High Priestess we saw her as an autonomous faculty of the psyche, an unconscious source of moods; here we see her in relation to deeper levels of the unconscious.

Artemis is often shown wearing an animal skin over a peplos (long dress) (OCD s.v. Artemis). It is interesting that most tarot decks depict Andreia as a cultured and refined woman, which stresses that it is not by brute force that she tames the lion, but by empathy and subtle influence (Nichols 203). We may call her "the Lady of the Beasts," or even: "the Beauty of the Beasts," with all the multiple meanings of "Lady" and "Beauty" intended.

Artemis is associated with the lion, as is Cybele, another Lady of the Beasts (Biedermann s.v. lion; Cooper s.v. lion; OCD s.v. Cybele). Homer (Il. 485) called Artemis a "lion unto women" because she can bring them sudden and painless death (as Apollo does for men), which reflects the ambivalent character of the anima.

Fortitude represents the practical application of the vitality of the anima, the lunar, feminine strength, which is latent in 4.High Priestess. Thus 9.Fortitude contrasts with 8.Victory, which is the practical application of the animus, the solar, masculine strength, which is latent in the Magician, but especially in 5.High Priest. In many tarot decks, Victory and Fortitude are trumps 7 and 8, and correspond to the Magician and High Priestess, trumps 1 and 2. (Pollack I.68)

Andreia exerts a magical influence over the beasts, but her power is in her hands, not in a wand like the Magician's; her magic is conveyed through physical contact and personal relation (Nichols 201-3).

You can't reason with a lion, but you can love one, and it can love you. Logos must defer to Eros. For taming lions, the woman's magic hands are more effective than the man's sword or wand, for she brings strength and experience to the taming of beasts. Hers is a diplomatic role, for, as the anima, she must serve as a mediator between the ego and the primitive elements of the psyche. She is a mediator between the external authority represented by the Emperor, which addresses community needs, and the instinctual authority of the beast, which pursues the needs of the individual. Like Artemis she must tame the animal nature and train it, and so channel its vital energy, which is self-fulfilling, pure and uncorrupted, but irrational. She does not dominate the lion in a masculine way, but like a rider well attuned to her horse, she forms a cooperative bond with the beast. The result is liberating and empowering for both: consciousness is no longer driven by unconscious, irrational instincts, and the animal vitality is no longer condemned to inarticulate, instinctive behavior. Both benefit, and neither destroys the other. IX.Fortitude depicts Artemis and the Lion as "a witch and her familiar." (Nichols 202-8; Crowley 95)

The centaur is the symbol of horse and rider perfectly attuned, man and beast united as one. Is it surprising that Kurene wrestled lions near Chiron's cave? She probably learned the ways of animals from him! It is no coincidence that the centaur is both a symbol of wisdom and a symbol of the union of the human and the bestial (Cooper s.v. centaur).

Similarly, the sphinx - a woman's head and breast on a lion's body -symbolizes strength and intellect united; it is a form of Horus (Goldsmith 118). Crowley (93-4) identifies Horus with the New Aeon; the sequence of aeons - Isis, Osiris and Horus - corresponds to the High Priestess, the High Priest, and the Divine Child, conceived in VI.Love, born as VII.Temperance, and manifesting in the Triumph of Virtue (VI-IX).

Many myths tell of the union of human and beast; often a god comes in the form of an animal to a woman: Kurene and the wolf, Leda and the swan, Europa and the bull, etc. This union of the human and the beastial is more profound than the union of male and female depicted in VI.Love, since the former is a union of divine animal vitality with human wisdom and compassion, intercourse between heaven and earth, which precipitates revolution, both on earth and in the celestial spheres. (Recall that Leda bore Castor, Pollux, Helen and Clytemnestra.) (Crowley 92-3; Nichols 208-9)

Like sexual intercourse, the mutual vigor and vitality of Andreia and her lion is a source of joy and excitement, which is why Crowley (92) calls this trump Lust, for it depicts the union of human feeling and animal instinct. Indeed, the lion is Kundalini, the fiery serpent power (Case 103).

The lion, of course, is Leo, ruled by the sun and representing fire and the fiery principle, golden Sulphur; that is, the lion is the fiery life-power. Andreia tames the beast and unites him with the alchemical Mercury, which is the self-conscious mind. She blends the opposites (like VI.Temperance) so that the Mercury purifies and sublimates the Sulphur, transforming it into the spiritual Gold, which is the Red Lion and the Stone of the Philosophers. (Case 106; Nichols 207; Pollack 69)

Alchemical Sulphur and Mercury are represented by red and white roses, respectively. The rose bush, with its thorns, symbolizes courage, and there is a myth that Mars was born from a rose bush, which is a symbol of joy and love; it is also a symbol of Helios, the sun. The rose is said to have arisen from the blood of Adonis, the sacrificed god (cf. VI.Love). (Biedermann s.vv. rose, virtues; Cooper s.v. rose/rosette)

Andreia (trump 9) may be identified with Neria (also, Nerio, Nerienis), the wife and companion of Mars (trump 8), for she represents his fortitude; her name means "fortitude" in the Sabine language (Andrews s.v. Nerio; Anthon s.v. Mars; OLD s.v. Nerio; Oswalt 181).

Callisto is another derivative of the nonvirgin Artemis (see above), specifically Artemis Calliste (the Fair). She made love to Zeus and bore him Arcas. After she was later transformed into a bear and killed (the stories vary), Zeus placed her in the heavens as the Great Bear, whence she guides the Hero in his Chariot (see 8.Victory). (OCD s.v Callisto)

The color of Andreia's robe comes from the saffron robes of the arktoi, the "bear girls" who danced for Artemis. Shape shifting of this kind - identification with the beasts - was common in her cult; other votaries "played the faun" (OCD s.v. Artemis). For Diana wearing the animal skin mantle over the peplos (long robe), see, for example, the picture of her killing Actaeon by the "Pan Painter" on a vase in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (Bulfinch/Holme 66), or on an Attic red-figure amphora found at Vulci (BMC E 256; Birchall & Corbett pl. 6).

Andreia's final position in the Triumph of Virtue is reflected in the numerical value of her names: ARTEMIS OREIBATHS (Artemis Oreibates, Mountain-roaming Artemis) is 1352, which reduces to 11+2-5+3-1 = 10; and H CRUSHNIOS KURHNH (He Chrusenios Kurene, Cyrene with Golden Reins) = 2232, which reduces to 11+2-3+2-2 = 10. Thus she has the character of the Decad, which the Pythagoreans call "Power" and "All Embracing, All Limiting Mother" and "Trust"; it is a symbol of concord, love and peace. (Pike 638; Shimmel 180; TA 81, 86; see also the discussion of the Tens in the Minor Arcana)

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Last updated: Fri Jun 23 11:01:57 EDT 2000