Well, this is one of those majors that really draws my eye when looking through a new/less familiar deck, not least because it is often a card that is done really well, an image that's really interesting to look at. The concept behind this card also is one that makes a lot of sense to me and that I can really connect with, another reason why I often pay this card special attention (and why certain renditions of it can *really* rub me the wrong way - this is NOT supposed to be a card of a muscular man violently slaying something >.< ). Unsurprsingly the, took me a bit of considering and pondering to choose favorites...
I love this card, this rendition of Strength. Totally and unabashedly I love it. Visually I find it stunning, lush, just...I could stare at it all day. The woman with the two great cats, the light showing her control over the, and the KIND of control she has, the glowing hold on her skin, her relaxed pose, the way she can take command of them gently...conceptually it captures the meaning of the card completely. It keeps the traditional symbolism. And it is just. so. damned. beautiful to look at. There's really not much more for me to say about this one. Hands down, no doubt about it, my most favorite version of the strength card and Ciro Marchetti's art at it's best. No longer explanation need...to me, the visual really speaks for itself here.
As is turning out to be not so uncommon for me in doing this exercise, I went back and forth and changed my mind several times in trying to pick out my second choice for this card. Finally, and a bit unexpectedly, I settled on this Strength from the Celtic Tarot. This is a very, very new acquisition of mine - haven't even done a reading with it yet, but had a reading exchange on Aeclectic and someone read with the deck for me and I loved the art and it was on sale and...you know how that goes. I love the mosaic-type style of the artwork, especially in the majors and courts of this deck. What I like especially about this card is the detail and pattern of the background. The stylization adds to the effect of the whole, somehow. Nice color balance. And I love the dynamic nature of the way the woman gains control over the lion - there is movement there, a struggle, but is is wrestling? playful? serious? The situation looks mutable, readable in many ways, which is apt. That there is a hint of a struggle is a nice touch, because yes, its about inner resources and the light touch and love and self-love and compassion and all that, but it is also about energy, the push and pull between the fortitude and lust competing traditions relating to this card, the fact that, even if it is within you, there is a bit of a struggle here sometimes. Also the sorta-not-quite-lion creature amuses me.