A crowned woman sits on a throne bearing an upright sword in her right hand and raising her left hand in gesture. Both woman and throne face the viewer’s right. Her robe is simple and her cloak is decorated with clouds. The side profile of the throne is decorated with carvings of butterflies and a cherub’s face and wings. Behind her in the distance, puffy clouds are accumulating low on the horizon. Above her head a single bird soars. Tall windblown trees can be seen, with a river moving at their base.
Court cards often signify a person in the Querent’s life. If not a particular person, then the card will describe the role of someone making a significant influence in the matter at hand. I discard the physical descriptions normally associated with court cards, as there are more types of hair, skin color, and body build than there are court cards to try and pigeonhole them. I do not find a queen card always signifies a woman, nor does a king card always signify a man.
Waite states in his Pictorial Key to the Tarot (page 31): “…her sword notwithstanding, she is scarcely a symbol of power”. I disagree. She is the Widow, yes. But she is not powerless. Those that think her grief has weakened her, or that the lack of a king has effectively dethroned her, will be swiftly educated in how sharp her sword is, and how well it will pierce them. The Queen of Swords is severe, having no mirth to temper her. She is not gentle, but accomplishes what she wills, as she wills, and with scary efficiency.
Waite links this card to “female sadness and embarrassment”. A polite set of words for a misogynist view. A miscarriage is a terrible suffering, not an embarrassment. And there is more to a mother than birthing sons. Rather than keeping the meaning restricted to a particular set of organs that not all women share, I describe it in terms of the Querent’s works instead.
This is a card of loss. Of projects suddenly halted, of advancement suddenly unwound, of the sensation of all those things that made life bearable being forcibly and irrevocable ripped away leaving the Querent without warmth. The Querent finds themselves in this sudden vacuum of emotions and sympathy, surrounded by those that would discard the Querent and station themselves instead. What can the Querent defend themselves with? Sharp words and emotionless directives that makes sure the Querent remains in place but grants no favors in the acting of.
An ill-dignified Queen of Swords is vicious. Where before her tongue was held back by social mores and careful accuracy, when angered she strikes quick to her target’s emotional wounds and rips them open anew. Being deprived of warmth, she will make sure that everyone around her suffers as well. She will tolerate no happiness in her presence, and will go so far as to condemn all external successes as treason against her state.
When working with a Queen of Swords, the Querent is advised to be formal and punctual. The Querent can not cheer her up from her mourning until she has worked out her own issues. Be true, be supportive if she asks, but do not dismiss her as weak because she cries. Or she’ll give the Querent something to cry louder about instead.