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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Lee

A World without Tigers

In China, the tiger holds great mythical power and strength. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, tiger bone, whiskers, eyes and teeth are all prescribed in formulas for various conditions, from malaria to insomnia.

Today's card is Courage, formally the Strength card in the traditional Tarot. The bodhisattva, Avalokiteśvara, a male version of Kuan Yin, holds a lotus blossom while gesturing the mudra "dispelling fear".

The tiger below him, tamed by spiritual strength, symbolizes the quieting of our more animalistic natures.

Courage comes from the French for heart, cœur. When we act from our hearts, we can find a deep strength and resolve, even in challenging times.

Ironically, this animal, representing power and majesty, is on the Red List of Threatened species, two steps away from extinction in the wild. What does this situation say about the courage of our human species?

Bali, Javan, and Caspian tigers, three of the eight subspecies of tiger (Panthera tigris), are now extinct. Those that remain, Indo-Chinese, South China, Amur, Sumatran, and Bengal tigers, are continually challenged with illegal hunting, habitat loss and food shortages. Modern life and human consumption has complicated the eco-diversity of our natural world.

With courage and respect, these threatened wildlife can be protected before it is too late. What a tragedy it would be to live in a world without the magnificence of tigers.

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