Essence: As an ox-goad or upraised arm, Lamed refers to all that raises and extends to impel an animal. It is related to the idea of lightening and all that lifts us up, eases and elevates us, and to lightning, which by illuminating the darkness, transforms and enlightens us.
Rider-Waite Tarot: Strength
30 ל LAMED, OX-GOAD, UPRAISED ARM, LIGHTNING
The Lamed is the number 30, the symbol of an Ox goad or an arm upraised. It represents all that extends, uplifts or unfolds. Lamed is what impresses or impels the animal to some course or activity. Because it is upraised, it is related to ideas of elevation and inspiration. It is the serpent energy in the body, our animal self that can be raised through the center to merge with the Divine. By extension, Lamed also addresses the opportunity to be transformed or to transform others through learning or study. Aware as teacher we are also the student, we can be called upon to teach, charm or inspire, and by so doing raise up that which is down.
The Hebrew word meaning “night,” Lila, is Lamed, also the name of the Angel of the Night. Within the body of theMidrash (stories or interpretations which elaborate on the deeper meanings of incidents in the Bible) it is Lila who educates the soul. She carries the soul throughout the universe, teaching it all it can learn in the months before its emergence into the world as a newborn.
The darkness of the night and the white flame blade of lightning that illuminates and throws everything suddenly into focus, into consciousness are Lamed.
Lamed had a special relationship to the Vav (6) because together they form magical number 36, the number representing Life eternal. Also, the Lamed Vav, or thirty-six truly righteous and good beings born in every generation. It is said that if even one of these humble, and thus hidden in plain sight, persons were missing, the world would come to an end,
It exemplifies the strength the small must have to balance the great or powerful. On Chanukah, the darkest night of the year, it is the strength of a single candle flame that by its existence balances the vast darkness. Lamed is the summer rainstorm that refreshes nature and relieves a prolonged state of tension. Like the electrical energy that comes rushing up from the earth,Lamed is the heart singing and healing laughter. We delight in learning through joy, for that which the heart learns, the mind remembers. Finally, Lamed is the fool having the chutzpah to talk back to the Eternal One, and the miracle of the Eternal One listening.
The card Lamed shares some meaning with the Rider-Waite Tarot’s Strength card.
This is a spiritual strength, a triumph of intelligence over brutality. It is not the strength that vanquishes or eradicates the opposition. Instead, it is the strength that integrates opposites and maintains balance in both the personal and universal realms. It is about gaining a new perspective. For like the lightning, Lamed is the sudden illumination that brings understanding and enlightenment.
When the message of Lamed is reversed, it means that we are too stale and weighty. Time to stop feeling helpless or pessimistic. Time to lift off our heavy stones of guilt. We need to forgive ourselves and others as we realize that the weight of blame, hurt, anger or resentment crushes our lives. The time for awakening, to become enlightened by a fresh perspective is now!