Firstly, before I start blathering on, if you want to see an awesome Queen of Swords doll that my friend Polly made me, looky here. Polly rules.
Okay. How have I not written about this card before? My all-time number one lady in tarot’s great soap opera, the Queen of Swords? Or, as I like to call her, Pat. As in, Pat Butcher, long-suffering, determined, plain-speaking, ‘what have you done to me Pat?‘ heartbreaker and broken-hearted matriarch of Albert Square Pat Butcher. Oh yes.
The Queen of Swords knows *everything*. Like Pat, there is no experience life can throw at you that she hasn’t been through. Divorce, miscarriage, cheating, heartbreak, terrible kids, crime, sex, bitterness, forgiveness…oh, you couldn’t come to Pat with a problem she hadn’t learned the answer to the hard way.
Okay, so my Pat Butcher analogy is a very westernised idea of what the Queen of Swords might be like. But I bet there’s a culturally appropriate Pat Butcher in every countries where different kinds of bad shit happens. Which is every country. In every culture I bet there’s the woman who’s been through it all. I do think though, that wherever she is in the world, her experience is often specifically a woman’s experience.
I opened Rachel Pollack’s excellent Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom and found that she agreed with me:
In the sense that powerless women will often suffer from the actions of men, the card refers specifically to women. In its character, it can represent someone of either sex, for neither sorrow nor courage are restricted by gender.
Rachel Pollack, Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom
“You can’t touch me – I’m TOO WISE”:
From the Anna K Tarot, by Anna Klaffinger
Her experiences makes the Queen a very powerful, very wise figure. She is someone to go to who will tell it to you like it is, but with sensitivity, and with a full understanding of what you’re thinking about, what you’re worrying about. She is trustworthy and good, at heart, though she may seem cruel at times. She understands how the world works, how the wheel of fortune turns.
Having experienced pain […] and having faced it with courage, acceptance, and honesty, she has found wisdom.
I think she also has a very sharp wit and a good sense of humour. She’s seen enough of life to know that there are times when you just have to throw your head back and laugh. When times are tough, it’s good to call upon the Queen of Swords, not so much for tea and sympathy as good hard loving truth.