“The art of stalking is learning all the quirks of your disguise,” Belisario said, paying no attention to what don Juan was telling him. “And it is to learn them so well no one will know you are disguised. For that you need to be ruthless, cunning, patient, and sweet.”

Don Juan said that his benefactor drilled him daily in the four moods of stalking and insisted that don Juan understand that ruthlessness should not be harshness, cunning should not be cruelty, patience should not be negligence, and sweetness should not be foolishness.

— From the Power of Silence by Carlos Castaneda

In Toltec sorcery, the art of stalking refers to the ability of a person to track their own mind and energy, in order to know their own patterns, masks, and beliefs so well that they can no longer be ruled by them.

In looking at the key points of stalking: ruthlessness (but not harshness), cunning (but not cruelty), patience (but not negligence), and sweetness (but not foolishness), we can see that the human figure in the STRENGTH card is a master stalker. S/he has ruthlessly and diligently dedicated hir life to understanding and predicting hir prey, and now the beast who would normally have hir for lunch is putty in hir very kind and gentle hands.

Strength is not about brute force. It is about being in alignment with one’s integrity, in alignment with the infinite wisdom of Spirit, and knowing and loving one’s self so well that there is no longer anything to defend.


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