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The Secret Tarot Queen
In Tarot readings, I am generally the Queen of Wands not only because I'm a Leo but because I'm strong and creative and a few other things that go along with that particular suit on a good day (and a bad one). From time to time however, I draw the Queen of Swords and I recognize that this card represents me too, whether I want it to or not.

The suit of Swords isn't thought of as a happy suit and we have only to look at Pamela Colman Smith's depiction of the cards it contains to understand why this perception is so immediate.

Traditionally Swords are associated with air, winter, wind, cold, strength, sharpness, intellect, independence, violence, loneliness, power and ruin - and Colman Smith has incorporated these themes into what has become the Tarot deck of choice for many readers as well as a interpretive point of departure for a majority of alt deck artists and designers - with an emphasis on the negative.

 I have never seen a person cheered by Colman Smith's Ten or Three of Swords!

The popular Tarot imagery of this suit is, in many instances, tragic. So tragic that it is easy to forget that Swords were, in medieval times, representative not of loss or need but of the elevated social class of the nobility. Wands, the suit of Spring and creativity, victory and manifestation, was in those days the suit of the peasantry or at the very least, the craftsman. Cups, the suit of love and happiness - the clergy. Pentacles, our modern indicator of prosperity - the merchant class. Swords however, would have represented the station most respected by society at large.

At its best the suit is worthy of respect. It is after all most symbolic of strength, independence, intellect and courage and these are fine attributes in almost any estimation. Loneliness as it appears in a reading predominated by swords may be a by product of these characteristics in the same way that violence and ruin, can be a potential consequence of decisive action. And yet, I cannot dismiss the inherent sadness of this queen.

Perhaps it is only a product of the season. Winter is, in northeastern Pennsylvania, is an austere and unforgiving time - easily engendering introspection and dark thought. Even in our modern age, it is a season of survival and I feel this very keenly when I force myself outside on the coldest days to walk the frozen ground and think. It takes a certain degree of determination to live this season well and I think that is, on a level, what reading Tarot is fundamentally about.

The Queen of Swords is an independent queen. She rules the wind, winter and herself with a strong and not necessarily gentle hand but she is the one I think most of us want to be when we face a challenge. Representing, not only the nobility, intellect and the most difficult time of year in northern climates, she is courage, maturity and self-determination. I can draw very direct associations between this card and the season. A time of year but more significantly, a time of life.

*For more posts on Tarot, please use the menu bar above.  To read my poem about the Queen of Swords, please see the following post: Timing a Card Reading.

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