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Strength / Forza / Fortitude card with column - symbolism question


Misterei

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Hello,

I recently read about the symbolism of the Column is some of the older Italian Strength cards (Tarot and Minchiate) that show a woman holding a column. Sometimes broken, sometimes whole.

 

According to the source I read … it is a specific column with a specific meaning  … NOT intuitive “a pillar symbolizes xyz”.

 

I want to say it references a biblical story or Solomon’s temple …? 

Anyway I can’t find my source now and didn’t take very good notes. 

Anyone know the specific symbolism of this column?

Thanks if you do!

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I know this is waaay late, but did you ever figure it out? Because I'm down a rabbit hole now 😂

 

I think it could reference Samson in the bible:

"Samson is led into the temple, and he asks his captors to let him lean against the supporting pillars to rest. However, while in prison his hair had begun to grow again.[30] He prays for strength and God gives him strength to break the pillars, causing the temple to collapse, killing him and the people inside." Wikipedia

 

"Traditionally, the allegory of Fortitude (also called Strength) shows a woman with a broken column – such iconography is symbolically related to mental strength. The original depictions seem to be more linked to the biblical tales of Samson who destroyed the pillars of the temple; and for that feat he was converted into an icon of physical and moral strength." Terravolatile

 

Also I have a book on symbolism and it says that columns from a Freemasonry perspective are inspired by the Temple of Solomon. Originally brass or bronze, the one on the right is Jachin (stability) and the one on the left is Boaz (strength). Jachin is masculine, Boaz feminine. Also, apprentices stood before Jachin, Masons before Boaz and Masters between the two. 

 

So maybe the pillar being held by Fortitude is Boaz? While also referencing Samsons strength? 🤔

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On 11/18/2023 at 5:08 AM, akiva said:

I know this is waaay late, but did you ever figure it out? Because I'm down a rabbit hole now 😂

 

I think it could reference Samson in the bible:

"Samson is led into the temple, and he asks his captors to let him lean against the supporting pillars to rest. However, while in prison his hair had begun to grow again.[30] He prays for strength and God gives him strength to break the pillars, causing the temple to collapse, killing him and the people inside." Wikipedia

I DID indeed figure it out and wrote a whole section on this card for my October class };>

 

The broken pillar was an ancient "suicide bombing" in Gaza. The Philistines had imprisoned Sampson in Gaza and enslaved him grinding grain in a mill. Then they brought him to their temple one day ... and BOOM!

WHOLE LOTTA symbolism in this story.

In any case, the woman started appearing with the Charles VI deck [?] where Virtues were always symbolized by a woman wearing a funny octogonal halo/hat thingie. This was Tarocchi telling you the card was a Virtue. So this s how we gt the woman with the broken pillar as Strength/Fortitude.

Edited by Misterei
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3 minutes ago, Misterei said:

The broken pillar was an ancient "suicide bombing" in Gaza. The Philistines had imprisoned Sampson in Gaza and enslaved him grinding grain in a mill. Then they brought him to their temple one day ... and BOOM!

WHOLE LOTTA symbolism in this story.

In any case, the woman started appearing with the Charles VI deck [?] where Virtues were always symbolized by a woman wearing a funny octogonal halo/hat thingie. This was Tarocchi telling you the card was a Virtue. So this s how we gt the woman with the broken pillar as Strength/Fortitude.

So it was Samson? 😯 That's cool! I didn't know it was a bombing. The story I read said he pushed the columns over in prison after asking God for his strength back/his hair grew. Though it wasn't exactly the most detailed story! 

I still wonder if there's a Freemasonry aspect to it, the pillar symbology is too perfect! 😁

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3 minutes ago, akiva said:

So it was Samson? 😯 That's cool! I didn't know it was a bombing. The story I read said he pushed the columns over in prison after asking God for his strength back/his hair grew. Though it wasn't exactly the most detailed story! 

I still wonder if there's a Freemasonry aspect to it, the pillar symbology is too perfect! 😁

@akiva I was joking about the bombing, silly!

Samson had been enslaved grinding grain in Gaza for so long that his hair grew. His strength returned and he was able to break the column and collapse the temple. It was similar to a suicide bombing b/c he also died whilst taking out all those Philistines. This sh*t in Gaza has been happening forever.

 

I think it may be the other way around with the Masons. Boaz as the pillar of strength to reference Samson's story. There are many layers to his story if you get into it deeply. He was seduced, tricked, blinded, then enslaved grinding grain, then killed himself to take down a bunch of his enemies ... plenty to unpack there ...

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14 minutes ago, Misterei said:

@akiva I was joking about the bombing, silly!

Samson had been enslaved grinding grain in Gaza for so long that his hair grew. His strength returned and he was able to break the column and collapse the temple. It was similar to a suicide bombing b/c he also died whilst taking out all those Philistines. This sh*t in Gaza has been happening forever.

 

I think it may be the other way around with the Masons. Boaz as the pillar of strength to reference Samson's story. There are many layers to his story if you get into it deeply. He was seduced, tricked, blinded, then enslaved grinding grain, then killed himself to take down a bunch of his enemies ... plenty to unpack there ...

Oh yes, how did I not see the joke! I'm going to Google and try to find an actual version of his story that's not just a synopsis, as it sounds like a soap opera! 😆

 

Just double checked and Solomons temple was after Samson and he even references Samson in his own story apparently (something to do with lust). So yeah, it makes total sense that one of Solomon's pillars would be referencing him.

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1 hour ago, akiva said:

 I'm going to Google and try to find an actual version of his story that's not just a synopsis, as it sounds like a soap opera!

Yes, you will eventually find a detailed recount.

All I can say is that recent events in my own life resonated with the blinded and enslaved grinding grain. This part of the story touched me deeply.

 

The lion symbolism [some tarocchis picture killing a lion] referenced Samson killing a lion with his bare hands.

How all this ended up as a woman who is clearly the goddess Durga petting a lion in TdM and RWS ... is pretty amusing.

Edited by Misterei
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56 minutes ago, Misterei said:

All I can say is that recent events in my own life resonated with the blinded and enslaved grinding grain. This part of the story touched me deeply.

Ah the ol' spiritual community? Time to grow your hair and break some columns! 💪

 

57 minutes ago, Misterei said:

The lion symbolism [some tarocchis picture killing a lion] referenced Samson killing a lion with his bare hands.

How all this ended up as a woman who is clearly the goddess Durga petting a lion in TdM and RWS ... is pretty amusing.

I did see reference to the lion symbolism but all it said was that the Greeks favoured that representation. Never knew it was Samson when it's a male on the card. I assumed it was Hercules killing the Nemean lion!

 

I'm guessing it became Durga petting a lion because of the female representation of the virtues? The parallels are interesting in how it doesn't matter if it's Durga or Samson, it's still about divine strength/courage.

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4 hours ago, akiva said:

... Time to grow your hair and break some columns!

Exactly so. But no one needs to die for the occasion };>

 

@akiva <<I did see reference to the lion symbolism but all it said was that the Greeks favoured that representation. Never knew it was Samson when it's a male on the card. I assumed it was Hercules killing the Nemean lion!>>

 

I've heard that too. And it's plausible b/c the educated Renaissance Italians were into Greek philosophy and mythos. So the man killing the lion in early tarocchi might be Herakles.

 

@akiva <<I'm guessing it became Durga petting a lion because of the female representation of the virtues? The parallels are interesting in how it doesn't matter if it's Durga or Samson, it's still about divine strength/courage.>>

 

Or symbol soup. You got a pillar. you got samson. you got a lion. you got female virtues wearing funny hat/halo thingies. Now let's mix it all up in a blender and see what comes out. Oh look! A woman petting a lion wearing a big hat!

 

I also wonder if Durga iconography made its way to Europe via the Silk Road and Spice trade. And some french guy making blocks for TdM thought, wtf, I kinda like this Indian icon. Let's put her in there instead of the chick with the pillar or the guy with the lion. Et voila, problem solved.

 

And the rest, as they say, was history.🤣

Edited by Misterei
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5 hours ago, Misterei said:

Or symbol soup. You got a pillar. you got samson. you got a lion. you got female virtues wearing funny hat/halo thingies. Now let's mix it all up in a blender and see what comes out. Oh look! A woman petting a lion wearing a big hat!

 

I also wonder if Durga iconography made its way to Europe via the Silk Road and Spice trade. And some french guy making blocks for TdM thought, wtf, I kinda like this Indian icon. Let's put her in there instead of the chick with the pillar or the guy with the lion. Et voila, problem solved.

This made me laugh. But it's so right. The silk road was definitely a way to inject culture into places that would otherwise be so disconnected. It would of been a lot longer before Durga made an appearance in the west otherwise! 

 

The inner/mental power aspect of Fortitude I much prefer over the armour clad, sword welding Fortitude. It feels more like a combative force when depicted that way. As opposed to the kundalini-esque 'I'm gunna lift this burning car off this trapped person' kind of energy the Durga/Samson card gives 😁

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QuintenSophox

Both Hercules and Samson have stories of them defeating a lion with their bare hands, and breaking pillars with their raw strength. So the connection to these archetypal heroes is still there regardless. What I like about La Force is she is dressed like a lady, not a wild barbarian. She conquers these heroic challenges, but she remains civilized and calm. Because she has conquered her own inner lion as well. 

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2 hours ago, QuintenSophox said:

Both Hercules and Samson have stories of them defeating a lion with their bare hands, and breaking pillars with their raw strength. ... La Force is she is dressed like a lady, not a wild barbarian. ... she has conquered her own inner lion as well. 

I never knew about Herakles breaking a pillar ... or do you mean when he broke the mountain to form the Pillars of Herakles?

I like how you put it about conquering the inner lion.

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QuintenSophox

Oh maybe he doesn't break them, he lifts them into place? Its still a test of strength.  One thing that I like better about the pillar symbol the  the lion, is the pillar is a singular object. It matches all the other "I" cards. I=magician holds a want VI = cupid about to shoot a single arrow, XI = pillar, XVI= the tower, a  column of stone. XXI = Le Monde often holds  a baton (although sometimes she has 2 which would ruin the singular connection).

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12 hours ago, QuintenSophox said:

She conquers these heroic challenges, but she remains civilized and calm. Because she has conquered her own inner lion as well. 

I too like this analogy! 😊 There's something more refined when it's not some crazed male beating down a lion or breaking a pillar. 😅

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On 12/3/2023 at 10:31 PM, QuintenSophox said:

What I like about La Force is she is dressed like a lady, not a wild barbarian. She conquers these heroic challenges, but she remains civilized and calm. Because she has conquered her own inner lion as well. 

In the Tarocchi di Mantegna (from around 1465, the Charles VI being from 1463, I think) she also wears a lion-shaped breastplate and, like Hercules, lion's hide over her head.

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