Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Queen By Any Other Name

Admittedly, I'm kind of running out of puns for these posts. We're up to a discussion and examination of the Queens, the second to last Court cards of the Tarot. At this point it would be useful to reiterate that the gender assignments of these cards are not absolute. Queens are often representative of women, but not always. Rather, they represent feminine, more passive energies- these need not be limited to women, nor do the more active energies of the Kings need to be limited to men. There is a numerological and zodiac system that determines which court card represents an individual- your own big muscular narrator falls under the Queen of Swords, referring to the most common type of energies and traits displayed by a given person- not necessarily their gender. At any rate, the Queens have as their common element Water, meaning they tend to be more intuitive and rely less on cold hard logic. They are more humanitarian, perhaps, than others, considering the person's emotional state, interrelatedness to other people and places, and more holistic than analytical, applying this both to themselves and other people, and in their style of relating to others, and even leadership styles. They correspond in the Major Arcana to the Empress, a figure of support and growth, yet also ruling and directing growth.
First, let's consider the Queen of Wands-
This regal lady comes to us from the Art Nouveau Tarot, and has some of the more traditional symbols associated with the Queen of Wands- first, a sunflower, and second, a black cat. I always liked the black cat, put in the foreground very often when it appears on a card. I take it to be a symbol of power, kind of like the cliched witch's familiar. It signifies a command of forces and a knowledge of mysteries. The sunflower likewise signifies energy and power- it also appears on many versions of the Sun card in the Major Arcana. The Queen is often shown seated on her throne, as here, with an air of gentle authority and dominion. This Queen represents Water of Fire- she tends to be a person or a woman of boundless energy, and is highly charismatic- a natural leader, not by virtue of overwhelming will, but by good sense and intelligence, and by an inherent likeability. People listen to her because she's strong and lovely, in other words. In my own experience, the Queen of Wands is a strong Aries figure in the zodiac. The downside to this is that the Queen, much like the negative aspects of the Empress, can sometimes use her energy not to inspire others, but to drag them down, becoming too controlling and too involved in their lives. Her Fire and Water aspects mean tremendous potential for growth and energy, but this can lead her to be very controlling and manipulative of those around her, especially in order to remain the center of attention.
Next up, we have the Queen of Swords-
This version comes to us from a perennial favorite (at least for me), the Necronomicon Tarot. The guidebook with it describes her as "an Egyptian street prostitute", not exactly the most flattering description, but perhaps one that does convey the essence of her character. As Water of Air, the Queen is very intelligent and graceful, and has keen powers of observation. She tends towards physical grace (odd that someone like me, who can trip over his own shadow, falls under this card) and insight into other people. This type of person is often a problem solver, and may enjoy puzzles or complex problems, taking enjoyment from undoing the knots of life. Think of a therapist or counselor, (or maybe even a Tarot reader!), someone who leans on intuition as well as hard facts.
Coming to the more negative aspects of this card, this person can be manipulative, using physical or emotional charms to manipulate or control others- she could tend to be very two-faced, showing a friendly side to the world, while concealing her own purposes to use others. The Air aspect of this card indicates that she has the intelligence and cunning to do just that, and serve some higher purpose of her own. However, this is not entirely a negative aspect, as this person will very rarely be taken advantage of, and has the acumen to realize when she is being exploited.
Next, we have the Queen of Cups-
This image comes from the Tarot of The Silicon Dawn, and seems to sum up this Queen pretty well. She represents Water of Water, and the positive and negative aspects of Water. She tends to be very loving and gentle, and would make a great healer, as she relies heavily on intuition which rarely fails her. As you can see here, she's a naturally happy and loving person, and enjoys life and the company of close friends. She's very much a "Mom", looking out for other people, and helping them to feel better when they're down. Also like a Mom, she's fiercely loyal to loved ones, and can have a bit of a temper when she or someone she loves is crossed. This person also is very physical and prone to physical contact, always hugging other people as a gesture of friendship and support. In her more negative aspects, she tends towards extremes and self-absorption. Alcoholism and substance abuse are possibilities here, when that energy of Water turns inwards rather than outwards. Likewise, being lost in her own world to the point of being virtually invisible and shy is also a factor here.
Finally, we have the Queen of Pentacles-
Here we have Water of Earth- another powerful "Mom" figure- she represents both the supporting and nurturing aspects of Water and Earth, and as such indicates a supporting and hard-working figure. A main characteristic of this Queen is stability- she's a reliable and strong provider, and will work hard to take care of family, balance the budget, and keep house, and represents a very giving figure. She tends to work in the background, requiring little recognition or thanks for her efforts apart from seeing her family or loved ones doing well and being well-taken care of. This self-reliance can also contribute to her being somewhat in the background, and other people can tend to take her for granted. In many ways, the Queen best represents the Empress she corresponds to, being both supportive and unfailing, and relying more on intuition than intellect, yet intuition of a type that rarely fails her.
In her more negative aspects, the Queen tends to be caught up in her own tasks- whether or not these are that important or useful is beyond the scope of what the Queen sees and notices. She can become wrapped up in dull, repetitive labor with little reward, and will resent the fact that she is stuck in this position. Yet at the same time she does not realize that she has the power to change that- the issue is simply that she is unable to see beyond her immediate surroundings,to her detriment. That same hard work ethic and unfailing persistence are there, but what is lacking is the knowledge that she can do greater things than this.
So to sum up, the Queens represent one half of the equation formed by the Empress and Emperor- the Empress represents support and nurturing, and the Emperor tells of control and structure, as we will see in the Kings. The Queens tend to reflect a mature woman, though again, the gender roles assigned to these cards are flexible. The Queens tend towards intuition and emotion rather than cold hard reason, and as such can be more humane and caring than someone driven solely by logic or self-interest.

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