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Fairytale Tarot (MRP) -- King of Swords

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Fairytale Tarot (MRP) -- King of Swords

The fairytale used to evoke the meaning of this card is The Maiden King, or the Maiden Tsar, which I finally found reproduced on the Internet here. Marina Tsvetaeva wrote a long poem telling the story, and Robert Bly and Marion Woodman wrote a book examining the tale (among other things), so there are other references to this in the literature.

This particular fairytale is an interesting choice to illuminate this card for two reasons I can think of immediately. First, because this is a depiction of a King of Swords who happens to be female. Second, because the story of the Maiden Tsar includes so many elements that I think of as being very strongly Russian--Baba Yaga, the Firebird, and a matryoshka-like setting for the Tsar's love for the story's protagonist. There is an oak, in which there is a coffer, in which there is a hare, in which there is a duck, in which there is an egg, in which the love is hidden away. Wild.

Something that I find disconcerting about this card itself is that it is the Maiden Tsar who is the tarot King of Swords, yet I find myself thinking about Ivan the protagonist when I read the fairytale itself. We really don't learn that much about the Maiden Tsar. But that is because, I think, the King of Swords him or herself is by nature somewhat aloof. This card conveys that in a subtle way. The image combines several aspects of the story--the thirty ships of the Tsar, Ivan flying by in pursuit on the Firebird--but the Tsar herself appears nowhere on the card.

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