The Queen of Cups
(The Queen of Cups Card is from the artist Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/)**
We haven’t talked about the Court Cards of the Tarot in a while, so this month we will examine a Tarot “royal,” the Queen of Cups. First, let’s review some information about the royal family of the Tarot.
A Tarot deck has 78 cards. There are 22 Major Arcana cards, with numbers from 0 to 21; the Majors usually deal with broader and more far-reaching life experience issues, archetypes that are easy for us to identify with and connect with at some point in our lives. There are 56 Minor Arcana cards that are customarily grouped into four categories or suits that represent the four elements, with numbers from Ace to 10; the Minors usually deal with day-to-day issues.
The Court Cards are actually a part of the Minor Arcana, acting as a representation of the family unit. Individually, the members of the Tarot Court represent particular personality traits, traits of people, places and events in our lives. These cards can also tell us about our own personality, and how it is perceived by others. Thinking of Tarot cards as people, with each card having an individual personality, is particularly appropriate for the Court Cards, as they are the most human of all the cards in a Tarot deck. Even the illustrations for the Court Cards show humans in the majority of Tarot decks. Generally speaking, there are three different ways that Court Cards can speak to us in a spread: they can indicate personality traits of our Seeker or someone affecting the Seeker; they can refer to actual individuals in the Seeker’s life, including the Seeker; and they can refer to the general aura or atmosphere of a place or situation.
Court cards offer us these descriptions of personality traits and of different ways of being or acting, so we can make use of these styles or avoid them, whichever is appropriate. One way to become more confident in determining this is to learn about the Court Cards themselves, and how the personality of each Court Card interacts with its particular suit. Many times if you break a particular Court Card down to its rank and correspondences, you will understand its message. Let’s get started.
Instead of numbers, Court Cards have rank. The lowest ranking Court Card is the Page, the messenger or intern or apprentice who is still learning of life and living, but who is also good at dealing with the unexpected. Next comes the Knight, the representation of strong, focused and even excessive manifestations of his suit.
Both the Queen and the King represent mature adults. The Queen manifests her suit in a feminine or yin or inner way, and the King manifests his suit in a masculine or yang or outer way. This manifestation does not necessarily correspond to gender; a man can be represented by a Tarot Queen if he has a strong inner focus, and a woman can be represented by a Tarot King if she projects a strong sense of authority. Since we are talking about the Queen of Cups today, we already know that our Queen will manifest her suit in an inner yet mature manner. Our Queen is not so much concerned with results as with the enjoyment of just being in the world and surrounded by her element. She is associated with feelings, relationships and self-expression; she is relaxed and natural. The Queen expresses her suit from the inside, setting the tone without imposing it; she embodies the qualities of her suit, rather than acting them out.
Our Queen’s suit is Cups. The suit of Cups corresponds with the element of Water, and many Tarot decks use images of cups or chalices and water on their Minor Arcana Cups cards. A nice place to begin our exploration of the suit of Cups is with the element of Water itself.
In its natural state, Water is cool and wet. When amassed, it has weight, and it tends to gather or pool at the lowest place. Because of this tendency, Water creates its own roadways or channels, and it prefers to use those already-in-place channels if it can. Water is used for cleaning and purifying, and Water can be a carrier for other substances. For instance, we can dissolve salt or sugar into warm Water, and use that concoction for other things. A body of Water can be calm and deep, or it can be dangerously churning and filled with powerful currents.
The element of Water corresponds to our feelings and emotions, and this makes sense. Emotions flow and have currents and eddies, a powerful wave of emotions can be cleansing, emotions can be hot and expanding or they can be bubbling upward, like steam, or cold and contracting and heavy, like ice, and our emotions can affect our physical bodies (which contain a lot of Water) and our health. Often, tears appear when we feel things strongly through sadness or joy or anger, as physical manifestations of those emotions.
Water also represents the Inner Voice and the subconscious. If we were to sit beside a lake on a calm, clear day, we can understand this connection. As we look out on the surface of the lake, we will see a reflection of the trees and hills, and even the clouds and the sky, on its surface. We can’t tell how deep the center of that lake will be by looking at it from the shore; it might be shallow and easy to cross, or it might be deep and dark and cold, the home of mysterious creatures. If we were to step into that lake and keep moving away from the shore, we will discover the hidden depths of that lake, not visible from the surface.
In the Tarot Court, the suit of the card has an elemental correspondence, and the rank of the card has an elemental correspondence. Pages correspond with Earth, Knights correspond with either Air or Fire (depending on the deck), Queens correspond with Water, and Kings correspond with either Air or Fire (depending on the deck). All Queens represent the element of Water, as well as the element corresponding to their suit. This means that our Queen of Cups represents Water of Water! This can be seen as a reflective force, where emotions end up strengthening and supporting themselves.
Like the other cards of the Tarot, Court Cards have astrological correspondences. Our Queen of Cups corresponds with the cusp or joining point of the signs of Gemini and Cancer.
The astrological sign of Gemini is about communication of all kinds, and about collecting information and stimulating the mind. Geminis are a mix of yin and yang, and they can easily see both sides of an issue. They are practical, adaptable and flexible but they can also tend toward being wishy-washy, and they are not always good at following through to the end of a project. Gemini is all about the intellect, the mind, seeing the big picture, and the thinking process.
Cancer, the Crab, is responsive, emotional and generous, but that hard shell can shield a person who is moody, insecure or sensitive, and is often affected by the environment and people nearby. Those born under the sign of Cancer experience strong feelings and emotions, and they are very protective of those feelings and emotions. Cancer people tend to be very attuned to the past, and they place a high importance on family, both family of the blood and family of the heart.
The Gemini/Cancer cusp is an emotional and caring combination. Those born on the cusp of Gemini and Cancer may be emotional, but they are also logical and honest. They tend to be a bit private about their own feelings and even if they are hurting inside, they will welcome you with a glowing smile, hiding their inner discomfort. They may be slow to warm up to a new idea or a new friend, but once the Gemini Cancer cusp commits, they go all the way. They tend to be “foodies,” perhaps because meals are a big part of most social gatherings, and they love to be surrounded by friends and family.
Because they are Minor Arcana cards, Court Cards also correspond with a sephira on the Tree of Life. The Queens correspond with the sephira of Binah, along with the Threes of the Minor Arcana and the element of Water. The Queens sit at the top of the Pillar of Form; Binah, representing the Sacred Feminine and the Womb of Life, offers shadow and contrast, which in turn gives us shape and form. Binah restricts in order to provide a springboard, and that restriction can also be its downfall if it becomes greed. The energies of this sephira are the purest of receptive energies.
Our Queen represents people who are warm, gentle and caring, people who are good listeners and who are sensitive to the emotions and feelings of others. Unlike the King of Cups, who can be conflicted by his own sensitivities when dealing with a world where power and dominance are respected, the Queen of Cups is comfortable with emotions of all kinds. She feels what others are feeling (sometimes to the point where she seems to be telepathic) and she allows her heart to guide her. Her goal in any situation is personal satisfaction rather than the manifestation of a material outcome. She may be shy or even ethereal, but she is good at creating a harmonious environment. She enjoys art and beauty of all kinds, and encourages us to dream, to create, and to meditate.
In many ways, this Queen manifests the energy of The High Priestess of the Major Arcana with one difference: The High Priestess is more similar to the Maiden aspect of the Goddess, while the Queen of Cups is more similar to the Mother aspect of the Goddess. This Queen is often a caregiver of some kind: a nurse or doctor, therapist, or medical assistant; she may also be associated with the arts, as an actor, teacher, designer or musician. She could be a religious counselor or a psychic.
The Queen of Cups is open to the unconscious, and to the messages of her well-developed sixth sense. She is about romance rather than lust; she encourages others by her own actions to be ethical and virtuous and to focus on what we love, because she is able to resist indulging in effects that might harm herself or others. She has a reverence for all life, and she feels connected to Deity and to the universe. When reversed, she is a showoff or enabler of others or a drama queen, and can be downright dangerous and cruel, surrounded by scandal and corruption and vice.
The Llewellyn Welsh Queen of Cups tells of a woman with imagination and a romantic and compassionate air who encourages the dreams and talents of others. She is a loyal lover who believes in fair play, virtue, and generosity.
The Thoth Tarot Queen of Cups is a softly colored card of blues and greens that emphasizes within its image the idea of Water of Water, and reflection of reflection. In his book, “Understanding Crowley’s Thoth Tarot,” DuQuette describes the Queen of Cups as being popular and able to easily make friends because when others look at her, they see themselves.
The Legacy of the Divine Queen of Cups is comfortable with her own feelings and visions (whatever they are), and she is comfortable dealing with the feelings of others (whether serene or uncomfortable) without losing her own serenity. The image on this card shows a Queen adorned with pearls, associated with hidden knowledge and esoteric wisdom, accompanied by beautiful koi fish, flowing and undulating in the currents around her. She helps us to get in touch with the ebbs and flows of feelings and emotions, and visions and dreams.
The Queen of Cups is a true model of virtue, pure of heart, and a loyal friend who reminds us that “All you need is love, love, love is all you need.”
About the Author:
Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot reader and teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher. Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journey To Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.
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