Archetype 21: The Lion

“I’m more afraid of a lion leading an army of one hundred sheep than of a sheep leading an army of one hundred lions.”

The gist of the quote is that the lion – not being able to communicate with the sheep – must bypass words and lead through deeds. A lion will teach sheep to fight alone if they must, but a sheep can only teach lions to seek strength in numbers and to be subject to control. If you think about it, this actually has a high degree of resonance with the gift of the 21st – Authority. It also has a high degree of correlation with the actual dynamics of a lion pride, where control is diffused through synarchy, and when things go astray, it’s females who are actually in charge.

If we’re seeking to use the energy of the Door to go up the spiral, our fixation with control is exactly what needs to be dropped, being replaced by the decentralization of control. The lion rules simply because of its “Iion-ness:” it doesn’t need to roar for others to know its strength, and heaven help one who forgets. It understands that control should only be used when control is called for.

The ultimate expression of the 21st is the Siddhi of Valor, exemplified by Major Arcana card VIII in the Tarot: Strength. The card depicts a virgin calmly holding the face of a lion, her innocence and purity so devoid of fear that the lion surrenders to the interaction in recognition of the virgin’s status as her equal.

When we miss the point of the 21st, the card begs the question: who is more powerful? Is it the Lion, who is larger than her? Or is it the Virgin, because her very presence tames him?

But when we get the point of the 21st, we see that control is only an illusion, and only those who choose to forsake it are the ones who actually have it and can best wield it.


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