+ Survival; trying to reach homeostasis; tested

– The constant struggle to survive; epic tasks

This card is a pictorial fan fiction for the 2005 film, The Descent. It supposes that Sarah ultimately survived inside the cave system and has become an old woman there. In order to achieve this she latched on to the delusion of the cake and celebrating with her dead daughter. 

The Descent is an exercise in both mental and physical fortitude. Sarah isn’t just trying to escape her surroundings but ultimately her anguish at the loss of her family. Casting her in my version of the Fortitude card, she hasn’t tamed a lion but skinned a wolf and adapted to the harsh conditions. 

This isn’t to say, “Yeah, life is hard. Skin a wolf and get over it!”; instead it suggests that we are stronger than we think and survival, just like grief, looks different for each of us. 

If this card comes up in a reading it could mean a number of things depending on its position. First, look at where it lands in the spread. If it’s in the beginning, how does it relate to where you are at right now? When I am in a state of survival mode I am not acting rationally. Instead my decisions are impulsive, rash, and sometimes dangerous. Over time I have learned that getting through the long dark tunnel requires moments of quiet reflection and planning. Sometimes taking no action is the right action. Maybe your mere existence is the resistance. If this comes up later on in a reading, maybe there is something or someone that you can gain some strength from. Asking for help is not a weakness but a sign of wisdom that you cannot carry a burden alone. 

Fortitude isn’t always a sign of suffering. It can tell a story of persistent strength. That could be a person who inspires you. It could also be a warm thought or meditation that brings the blood pressure down and centers your thoughts. Ask, how are you strong? 

August 30, 2022 — Genevieve Barbee-Turner