• Simone Stone

Tarot Competition Winner - Strength

The Winner of the 2021 Tarot Writing Competition is Laura Kaschak with her story about the tarot card Strength.

It seems that every town has at least one. The one who doesn’t conform. The one who tests the boundaries. Leona was that girl in the village. She made heads shake and tongues cluck with disapproval. As the story often goes with these natural born rebels, her unique perceptions and dissents were often spurned. Throughout her childhood

she was punished for standing up against injustices. Leona quickly learned to conceal most of the fire within her. They had managed to beat down most of her flames, but they didn’t know the embers deep within her could never truly be extinguished. One spring, a large beast had come down from the mountain and was stalking the village. The men gathered each night to

devise plans for their attacks. Each attack ended with blood but never the beast’s. Anger, frustration, and fear festered. Leona considered these men to be quite foolish in their strategies, for they believed brute force to be the only answer. She was now used to keeping her opinions to herself. To open her mouth would be to open herself to the ridicule she endured as a child. Exhausted and weary, the men eventually called a meeting in the village square seeking new ideas and brave people willing to take on this beast.

Leona quietly listened to villager after villager make their case for how the beast could be destroyed. To her, it was a parade of unimaginative bullies. She found herself empathizing with this beast. She knew what it was to be the target of these very same people’s need to dominate. It was a fate she wished on no creature. She understood the rage the animal must be feeling after repeated attacks. The heat of those forgotten embers inside Leona began to smoulder, simmer and intensify until she felt the fire of the sun burning within her

and could contain it no longer. Finding her voice after such a long period of silence proved to be harder than she imagined. Nevertheless, she persisted. She asked the crowd, “What if we quieted the beast with kindness instead of violence? What if instead of trying to conquer the animal, we try to care for it?” It took mere seconds for the laughter to erupt. She had expected and braced herself for this reaction but that did not take the sting out of it. The men were quickly silenced when Leona declared them too cowardly to face the beast without their weapons. Having their manhood challenged in this way was no longer amusing to the men so they invited Leona to enact this plan on her own that very night. She did not allow them to see her trembling with fear as she walked off into the darkness alone. By morning light she had not returned. The men gathered to search for her remains. Leona suddenly emerged from the wilderness with the beast by her side. She stroked his fur as he nuzzled against her. The men could only stare in awe. Her gentle touch of compassion held more strength than any weapon in the village. For it is in the vulnerability of compassion that true inner strength can be found.

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