Believe those who are seeking the truth;
doubt those who find it.
— André Paul Guillaume Gide (1869 – 1951)
French author, Nobel Prize laureate
This week brings us another court card. Of course in a reading, the kings, queens, knights and pages of the Tarot may be actual people, and if so, they may or may not be the same gender as the card depicts. Or they may be an aspect of ourselves. Then again, they may not be a person at all, but instead an energy. Ah, yes. Another reason why Tarot is so rich and wonderful!
In the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot, the Queen of Swords holds an upright sword, similar to that of Justice, as well as the Ace of Swords. Swords are the element of Air, so these concerns revolve around the intellect, communication, discernment, and judgment.
The Queen of Swords is a smart, savvy observer who insists on honesty and fairness. She is perceptive, intelligent, and is an outstanding leader and communicator. She is clear, direct and candid. Wise to the ways of the world, she never plays games, or “spins” the truth, nor is she easily deceived. She is at best an idealist, but rarely is she “warm and fuzzy.” In her shadow aspect, she can sometimes be too much of a skeptic; even cynical, bitter, or judgmental.
Certainly, her serious, frowning expression hints that she is a woman who has known sorrow, and traditionally this is the card of the widow. Although she may seem distant and aloof while she makes up her mind about you, once her trust is won, there is no friend more loyal. And she may surprise you with her finely-honed, dry sense of humor.
In a reading, she can reveal the grief within ourselves, or a bitter truth that it is time to face. Her gift to us can be the wisdom that comes from hard-learned lessons. The bird flying above her head indicates the purity of her motivation and her clarity of vision.
A torn tassel hangs quietly from her left wrist, although the trees in the distance are blowing, and stormy clouds billow below her. She holds out the hand with the tassel, showing it to the world, as a reminder, perhaps, that the truth can set us free. Yet truth often comes at a price, and whatever bondage has been broken, we must never forget it.
This week, in the U.S., we honor our military veterans who have fought for us. They have paid the price for freedom and we must never forget their sacrifice. But perhaps the Queen suggests we should reconsider our beliefs about the value and purpose of war. And doubtless, we can expect that we will be challenged to face new, possibly unpleasant realities that will emerge as an administration that has been steeped in a culture of misinformation and deception now gives way.
The Queen of Swords encourages us to hold ourselves accountable to high standards, possibly more exacting than those with which we have become comfortable. But she is a reminder that these are times for courage rather than comfort.
This week, be willing to see clearly what must be seen and speak with compassionate candor. Only when we are completely forthright and honest with ourselves can we begin to discern what is true in the world around us. And only then, can we make wise choices.