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 Swords card, and yet another Court card as well, in a year that has had many. But this is a visitor who we’ve not seen since November of 2008. We welcome the Queen of Swords.
Of course in a reading, the Kings, Queens, Knights, and Pages of the Tarot are usually actual people in our lives. 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 a certain kind of energy, which is why they are easier to interpret in the context of a layout.
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 correspond to 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 does not suffer fools or swallow flattery.
Clear, direct, and candid, she is 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.
The Queen of Swords encourages us to hold ourselves accountable to high standards, possibly more exacting than those with which we have become comfortable. Her criticisms can sting, but they are clear, valuable, and without prejudice. She is a reminder that these are times for courage rather than comfort.
The Queen of Swords in the World
I believe it is significant that we have not been visited by this Queen since the economic crash of 2008. One Queen of Swords we might do well to heed in the days ahead would be Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
Brilliant, idealistic, and maybe the most refreshingly candid voice in either party, her expertise in economic issues may be needed, as Congress threatens to shut down the government and plunge the country into a fiscal crisis next week over the Affordable Health Care Act.
Meantime, for the rest of us this week, the Queen of Swords suggests that we must be willing to see and speak with precision and intelligence. Discern the facts for yourself, examining carefully what you are being told by “experts.” Critical thinking is called for, with emotional reactions put into the background for now.
Only when we face matters with clear-headed honesty can we begin to discern what is true in the world around us.
And only then, can we make wise choices.