Cirque du Soleil & the Tarot

If you’ve seen any of the Cirque Du Soleil shows before, you’d know that they’re always a gorgeous explosion of dreams and fantasies, expressed through a combination of magical + haunting + fun music, and some truly amazing athleticism. If they did the Olympics like this, I’d watch it every time!

So while watching Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away the other night (aside: no plot, but mesmerising visuals), I was so impressed (as always) by how much precision was involved in the choreography, and yet, it was all executed so gracefully. When we think about precision, beauty is not the most natural association. But this is exactly what Cirque du Soleil is – Precision + Artistry + Grace.

Strength & Effortlessness

And then it occurred to me that Cirque du Soleil performances are a wonderful real-world representation of what the Strength card in the Major Arcana is about. Take a look at it.


In the classic Rider-Waite deck, Strength is represented by a lady closing a lion’s mouth. Look at her, all in white, the personification of purity, integrity. That infinity sign above her head, the lush greens and the blooming flowers – they say Spring to me – abundance, growth and beauty from nurturing, gentleness and patience. The lion (wild, ferocious, regal) is letting her tame it – check out its tail ;)

Put it all together: Strength comes from  applying gentle, patient effort with integrity to harnessing our raw passions.

…which is exactly what the Cirque du Soleil performers do. And the end result? Effortlessness. Something I think most of us, if not all, would love to have in our lives. It doesn’t take a big leap of the imagination to know they must have spent thousands of hours training. And consider the number of failures they have had to experience, to produce this level of performance.

It must have been tough for them, and could still be, but like what is so often repeated it’s almost a cliché now – pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.  It’s true though. If you feel like you’re suffering, you might need to do some rethinking – is what you think you want, what you really want? Sometimes you may need an overhaul, other times, all you need is a little tweaking or change of perspective.

There really is a big difference between suffering and effort. Between easy and flowing. And I’m not talking about effort like pushing against a wall (that’s plain dumb) but Effort in the sense of harnessing time, energy, brains and heart to create flow towards a desired outcome. That’s it.

For example, it’s how I’m (trying to) think about building a business. There are so many things I don’t know, so many things to explore, experiment with, and do. It’s challenging. And the challenges are not limited to the business bits, they spill over into other areas of my life. I remind myself that every time I “practice”, I get closer to what I want to create and where I want to be next. Because it’s what I really, really want to do. Towards Effortlessness~

So, where in your life do you want a great outcome? What kind of Effort would be meaningful there?

Or, where in your life could you apply harnessed Effort so that you create space and time for new things + things you want to pursue?

What kinds of action mean doing “Strength” to you?

Share your thoughts below!