Tarot - 10 Minor Arcana - 01 The Queens
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Queen of Disks
All the disk cards stand for the physical aspects of life—money, food, health, sustenance and sustainability. A positively inclined Queen of disks may well have ‘greatness of soul’. She is described as ‘grounded’, practical and down to earth. She may be nurturing, big hearted and sociable, resourceful, and trustworthy. However, a Queen of Disks turned ‘bad’ becomes a sorceress – a black witch or Demeter when she was angry [see below].
The main archetype goddess in the group of all Queen of disk types is Demeter. In ancient Greek religion and mythology, Demeter was the goddess of grain, agriculture, harvest, growth, and nourishment, who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth. She was the goddess of divine order, and the sacred law, and the cycle of life and death. Demeter was often considered to be the same figure as the Anatolian goddess Cybele, and in Rome she was identified as the Latin goddess Ceres.
Practically all the Queen of Disks cards, have a picture that links the Queen with her ‘earthiness’. Stones and the use of stone [her throne, her disk etc] also portrays the down-to-earth, physical nature of this Queen.
Interestingly quite a number also link the card with astrological symbols. According to these explanations “She rules from the 21st degree of Sagittarius to the 20th degree of Capricornus”. And because of these links with Sagittarius [half horse half man – the archer] and Capricorn [the sea-goat], both may occur in the picture.
Because under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits this sign between approximately November 23 and December 21. With Capricorn from 22 December – 20 January, the background may be made to look wintry and devoid of vegetation.
And now a quote:
The Queen of Disks is throned upon a carving of vegetation. She contemplates the background, where a calm river winds through a sandy desert. Oases are beginning to shew themselves amid the wastes. Before her stands a goat upon a sphere. There is here a reference to the belief that the Great Work is in part about fertility and diversity – myriads of forms – ‘go forth and multiply’ meaning create as many types of form as possible. Her armour is composed of small scales or coins, and her helmet is adorned with the great spiral horns of the markhor, [a markhor is a species of wild goat found in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Tajikistan, and southern Uzbekistan]. In her right hand she bears a sceptre surmounted by a cube, within which is a three-dimensional Hexagram, and in her left arm is curved her proper disk, a sphere of loops and circles interlaced. She thus represents the ambition of matter to take part in the great work of Creation. Note the hare at the bottom right.
Queen of cups
A E Waite
Beautiful, fair, dreamy—as one who sees visions in a cup. This is, however, only one of her aspects; she sees, but she also acts, and her activity feeds her dream.
Waite also listed a number of positive attributes that could be associated with a Queen of Cups, notably that she is recognisable by being ‘good, fair, honest, and devoted’; as well as having ‘loving intelligence, and hence the gift of vision’.
The planetary/goddess archetypes are not at all clear.
Aphrodite was an ancient Greek goddess associated with love, beauty, pleasure, passion and procreation. She is identified with the planet Venus. She was born from the waters in legend and on the left we see the detail from Boticelli's Birth of Venus. Aphrodite's major symbols include myrtles, roses, doves, sparrows, and swans. As such if this correspondence is being used then these may appear on the card. The archetype of Aphrodite was largely derived from that of the Phoenician goddess Astarte, the goddess Ishtar, and Inanna. Aphrodite's main festival was the Aphrodisia.
In one or two cards the generic symbol of the Moon is used, a symbol for the 'feminine' and the Sub-conscious .
If a Queen of cups turns ‘bad’ then she remains a distinguished woman, but one not to be trusted; she may even become perverse. Notice that Crowley's card almost makes her 'not all there', which indeed may describe this archetype supremely well.
Queen of Swords
In one of the cards, the Queen of Swords sits on a throne, her right hand raises the weapon vertically and the hilt rests on an arm of her royal chair the left hand is extended, and the overall impression given is one of a form of non violent punishment, - being chastised. The hand is reaching out, but the sword is being used as a threat …. ‘or else’……This is punishment by the inciseful use of words – the power of words, not to belittle, but to ‘get to the point’.
This Queen is needed. My mother never laid a hand on us, not one single instant of physical chastisement took place – but her words – my goodness, her words - and the way she delivered them slowly and deliberately, they really did cut through you like a knife. HEADS WILL ROLL. Obedience instantly followed.
The planetary goddess or archetype from which this queen arises appears to be Themis, although Themis may be closer as an archetype to Justice. Themis (Ancient Greek: Θέμις) was an ancient Greek Titaness. She was the personification of divine order, fairness, law, natural law, and custom.
At best, the overall impression is of a person with a very sharp intellect, who can be witty – even funny – is strong, principled and fair. She is direct, perceptive, observant, the sort of person who can provide constructive criticism, and displays an intelligent scepticism, always having an open mind. She will remain objective and unbiased even under pressure and she checks her facts – almost obsessively. She needs no one’s approval as her investigations and fact checking are her underpinning. And she isn’t easily fooled. At her best she can be a ‘noble and gracious soul’. The keywords shown on this card are sometimes ‘Astute’ and ‘Forthright’.
But, taken to extremes, this Queen can belittle and put people down with real malice, especially those of lesser intelligence or greater sentimentality and emotion. She looks on the Queen of Cups with her dreamy muddle headed floatiness as an absolute fool – a waste of space. She may be far too critical, show little empathy or compassion, and constantly exhibit pessimism. At her worst she can be manipulative and rude. She can be cruel. She may meddle. She was the wicked stepmother in Snow White.
There are one or two analyses of this type of Queen in the literature, that indicate she is created by pain – perhaps real physical pain, maybe the pain of sorrow, trauma or grief, perhaps by the neglect her own mother [or family] exhibited. She is unlikely to be a mother herself, if she is, children are likely to have been sent away to school. This degree of intelligence can create loneliness – most men prefer the dippy queen of cups, few men want a companion with an intellect greater than theirs and many other women find her terrifying. ‘This woman prefers solitude to the company of fools’.
But in her positive persona this woman is essential to our future survival. And if anything she needs a great deal of support to make sure she does not descend into wicked stepmother mode. Practically all our problems are created by men who do not act with prudence, or by dippy emotional women almost incapable of putting two thoughts together. Both the Queen of Cups and Disks are perfectly capable of shopping until they drop, which is not exactly sustainable, and only the Queen of Swords is there to stop them – no men have the courage to stand up to a dippy woman, even if it is their wife with their credit card! Men cave in every time, but this woman doesn’t!
‘She tells it like it is because it is true, how people react to it, is their problem’
Queen of Wands
The Wands throughout this suit are always in leaf, as it is a suit of life and animation. Emotionally and otherwise, the Queen's personality corresponds to that of the King, but is more magnetic. The King of Wands is a natural-born leader, a person of grand visions, enjoying long-term success.
Unlike the other Wands court cards, the King and Queen are not so interested in creation and creativity, or in dreaming up ideas and implementing them. Instead, they are more inclined to take an idea and then enlist others to help them realise it. Both King and Queen have a clear vision of where they want to go, and ‘manifest that vision with the support of those around them’. Others naturally gravitate towards them because both are charismatic, focused, and determined. They are also masterful at getting other people to do their work for them, while keeping them on-side throughout the process.
Both King and Queen have ‘fire in their veins’! A sort of passion for what they are doing. Both make good ethical business people, if they keep to the path of good.
But once either slip from this ethical framework, one has a tyrant – the Devil wears Prada – a slave driver whose objective is money and power, and whose treatment of people is appalling. It is these people that the Queen of Swords often has to contend with, hence the difficulty of being the Queen of Swords!
With great power comes great responsibility.
The archetypes in the Greek pantheon are again difficult to match with this archetype, but Athena or Athene, often given the epithet Pallas, is an ancient Greek goddess associated with wisdom, making things, and strategic 'battle'/thinking. Minerva ( Etruscan: Menrva) was the Roman goddess of wisdom and strategic thinking and the sponsor of arts, trade, and strategy. From the second century BC onward, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. Athena is usually shown in art wearing a helmet and holding a spear. Her major symbols include owls and olive trees. In Greek mythology, Athena was believed to have been born from the head of her father Zeus. She had the intellect of her father in other words.
The source of the experienceTarot, the
Concepts, symbols and science items
SymbolsKing and Queen
Activities and commonsteps