MAAT Study Group Queen of Swords


MAAT Tarot card of the Week- Full Moon in Gemini
Monday December 4th, 2006
The Queen of Swords

Planetary ruler Jupiter

The Queen of Swords represents the light in the darkest of times, as the sunlight in the northern hemisphere continues to wane we experience the darkest longest nights of the season. Yet the full moon's light remains with its brilliant light unchanged.
This moon is symbolic of the archetypical widow/ or sister of the historical/mythical male hero archetype. They are forever linked as a duo long after his death. There is usually some mystery to which only she knows the truth. Some classic Queen of Sword female archetypes, Mary Magdalen, Cleopatra. Morgana Le Fey, Hatchepsut, in modern times Jackie O. They all know the 'truth' yet the 'stories' spun about them and reported to the mainstream population lacks 'something' we all 'know' there is more to their stories yet we are not privilege to this information.
Just as we know woman's role historically has been down played simply because She was way too busy or tired to record her own story. Her work is often passed off as the work of Santa Claus, the Easter bunny or the tooth fairy, often goes without notice unless it is left undone. However the minute we grow up we learn the 'truth' behind the 'magic'. She is the archetypical mother of heresy(her-say) with little influence in classical history(his-story). The established male power systems of the past developed safeguards to ensure her power would be kept in check.
Her spark of knowledge still lies dormant within the collective unconscious it is during the darkest quietest nights of winter that it is easy to see her ancient truth shining through.

For deeper understanding of the Gemini moon check out the meanings of the other Gemini moon phase cards:

New-8 of Cups (occurring between May 21 - Jun 20)
with emotional lessons learned it is time to move on, a journey. The eight of cups can represent the short-lived romance this is the short but sweet relationship that teaches something and then after the lesson is learned the beloved moves on. The eight cups also seems to suggest an understanding of the cycle or journey of the sun with a cup for each one of the eight cross-quarter days we see that the sun like the moon has a cycle of waxing and waning light.

First Quarter- 3 of Wands (occurring between Feb.19-March 20)
Shows one type of tool we can use in order to convey a message or idea to others, the use of scale models is one way to help others to understand your ideas. Learning something new can enlighten us and raise our consciousness causing us to turn away from the past with hope for the future This card represents the understanding of complex systems by the use of scale models. Technology used in the process of teaching.

Last Quarter in Gemini- 2 of Coins ( occurring between Aug 23-Sept 22)
The 2 of Coins represents the blending of the two worlds, the world of the physical and the world of the spiritual. This card represents the ability to understand the physical and spiritual worlds and the ability to live with both worlds simultaneously. Once you become one with the two worlds you can never go back and live as if there is just one world. The two worlds coexist much like the to lobes of the analemma.** Our contact with the spiritual realm is only as clear as our ability to understand 'their' symbolic language or understand how the other world communicates with us. Our cultural fears of 'evil' and the pressure of a prevailing cultural bias's that a world just as real as the physical world does not exist only limit us.
**The analemma (seen in the 2 of Coins, Strength and The Magician) can be captured with the help of time-lapse photography. If you take a picture of the sun from the same spot at the same time of day the analemma(figure eight of suns) is formed. The figure eight is also the symbol known as infinity. Interestingly enough the crossing over point that forms the top loop shape of the figure eight occurs around August 30th every year. The analemma in the 2 of Coins card floats an image of the ancient Egyptian Ra in his sun boat symbolizing the sun's journey.


She look absorbed by her own thoughts. It is dark in the room. She is touching a skull. Behind the skull, we can see a candle flame. Maybe she is worried about something or someone. Maybe she think about the theme of mortality.

This card is the best or among the best representation of the Queen of Swords. This card also makes me think of the ads that Patrick Stewart had done for Amnesty International. The one where he is holding a white candle in front of him.

On the card, we can't see the candle itself but we see the flame. The candle is hidden by the skull. Maybe there is a link between mortality represented by the skull and the hope represented by the hidden candle and the visible candle flame...


Annik's idea of the hidden candle

Hi Annik,
I think your idea about the candle hidden by the skull is a great analogy.
I hadn't thought about the symbolism of it but I think you make a good point.
Just because we can't see the candle doesn't mean it is not there. We see the flame so it must be there. The flame implies life the scull or remnant of the dead body blocks our view of the source or the container of the flame of life.
until we change our point of view we will not see that source.


Maat Queen of Swords--imagery

The full moon in Gemini creates twins by way of reflection. The Queen of Swords rising in the cold, blue night reflects upon birth and death—a set of twins we tend to want separated. But the Sword’s Queen cannot do so because within herself she carries life and without, she touches death. Taking the form of the Magdalene great with the world’s child, she sits at a table (or at the end of a shelf) perhaps in her bedroom: a mirror stands near one of the table’s edges, which suggests that the table is a dressing table. She, herself, is dressed in rich, but very loose clothing for she is well advanced in the pregnancy, and it is night.

The objects on the table/shelf—the mirror, a skull and a light—are some of the elements one finds in artistic themes that address vanity, although to a pagan these same things might be used to reveal the view beyond the veil of time and space. A wooden box, its clasp loosened, supports the skull whose lower jaw is missing. The skull, lacking the jaw, can’t tell her very much, but she has other pathways to knowledge--specifically her fingers. Made nearly translucent by the light, they lightly touch the skull’s face as if they were brushing it with life. And note the position of her right hand as it props up her own head and shadows her lower jaw. Like the skull, she neither hears nor speaks. Rather, touch and sight are her tools, and good tools they are for darkness or for light.

And yet She does not look at the skull, but rather at its image in the mirror and/or at the small, bright flare which emerges from behind the skull’s right side. Or perhaps from her index finger. Or from a hidden taper. One doesn’t quite know (one never can in such direct confrontations with death), but the general result is illumination: ours as well as hers. Behind her a single sword hangs; the emblem on its blade thrown into relief reveals a tiny crescent moon with its horns pointed to the east.

Reflection is a good word upon which to proceed with an inquiry into this arcana which represents it in several ways. To cite an obvious and very interesting example, there’s the mirror on the dressing table which reflects what we otherwise would not be able to see clearly: i.e. the skull and the box. The skull looks as if it had a coin over its eye-socket which was moved so that the socket is partially revealed (though that “coin” is very possibly a rendering of the temporal bone) and the box reveals itself to have a delicate filigree of paintwork on its side such as a jewel box might have. It’s as if looking directly at certain things—death, wealth—is quite difficult for us, as if we can see them better through some sort of transformation that distances them, that makes them less real. The queen, however, seems quite absorbed in the contrast represented by the image she beholds in the mirror and the object she touches.

Which of the two is most accurate? Note that her fingers do not appear in the mirror.

Another reflection, this one more subtle, is that of the queen’s head and the skull. These images mirror each other because of positioning. The Queen touches the skull with her left hand and her own head with her right hand, the left mirroring the right as if messages were moving from one head to another through her hands, her arms, and across her heart. So the past (the skull) informs the present (the living woman) which in turn holds the future (the infant)—all connected directly with no mirrors involved. The direct experience of sorrow, of bringing forth life & suffering its loss, and of wealth's real value will in time breed wisdom. One cannot acquire it vicariously.

Of course, “reflection” is also a mental methodology. Considered as thought, reflection is not an exploratory process in the sense that one sets out to collect experiences or data or images. It is not a creative process like brainstorming or similar methods that one might use to generate new ideas. Rather it is a slow, thorough process of making sense of what one already has already experienced and of integrating data that one has already collected. Illuminated by the scrutiny of the present, events and ideas in our past may look different to our inner eye. They may portray novel aspects of themselves, odd pairings and unexpected inversions which try our wits and our patience. Sometimes the process is painful, sometimes peaceful, and almost always arduous because of the time it requires. But, difficult or not, those with eyes to see can emerge from that sojourn warm and whole—as long as there is light.

This arcana is, to my eyes, one of the most beautiful in the deck. The rich, deep colors, the blues, reds and ambers and the lovely caressing light reveal an aspect of the Queen of Swords that one seldom sees. Her rule is not an easy one; sometimes she must be ruthless in her decisions and in her actions. She does not have the easy abundance of summer to fall back upon if she makes mistakes. Indeed, she cannot fail because if she did all creatures under her rule might perish. So she has the reputation of being emotionally cold, smart but sometimes spiteful, and a black widow at the last. No doubt she is all these things. But she is also the mother richly gowned in red at whose touch life flares with a golden light. And what she does reveals more than what she says.


Maat tarot IDS

Card/Number: Queen of Swords/17

Card Image: see attached

First Impression: I love this depiction of the Queen of Swords. So beautiful in her dark mysteries! This is not your traditional warrior/cold female depiction, though there is no doubt that this woman is a warrior, with her sword hanging behind her. Yet, this card also shows so much more- the total picture of the dark Mother; reflective and wise, proud yet graceful, beautiful and strong.

Card Description: A beautiful, pregnant, woman with long brown hair sits by a table with a contemplative look on her face as her hand rests softly on the skull before her with candlelight flickering softly in the background. She is thoughtful, yet fierce, her sword sitting behind her. The skull before her sits on a large book- perhaps a book of mysteries- with a picture of the skull and book beside them on the table. She is wearing a sanguine red gown with cream sleeves, the area under the table an astral blue, very reminiscent of the colors in the 9 of Swords card- perhaps alluding to the fact that this is the young girl, grown up, firmly established in her awakening and work, wise from years of love and loss.

Masculine/Feminine/Neutral: Feminine

Colors: black, blue, sanguine red, cream, yellow and brown

Senses: you feel the soft warmth of the candlelight dancing against your skin. You smell the clean scent of the melting wax and the dusty fragrance of the old pages in the book in front of you. All is quiet in the room, as you sit thoughtfully, tasting the smoke in the air.

Symbols: brown haired, pregnant, mature woman, skull, book, candle, sword, red/cream/blue colors

Story (intuitive): I sit and watch her, she is deep in thought. I do not speak, yet I know that she senses my presence. "Come, sit with me.", she says in a soft husky voice. I sit beside her and she looks over at me, and continues speaking, "I am the all of the feminine mysteries; dark, strong, untamed, and feared by the patriarchal ideology that has permeated your lands. I have walked with death yet borne life. You know me well, for I have always been.". And, as I sit watching her, the face before me fades and changes into that of my Mother, the goddess I know and love so well. She smiles slightly, then the face fades, changing and flowing into the visage of the dark goddesses and feminine heros of all cultures and ages. I stare in wonderment, blessed by the vision. Then, finally, the face shifts on last time, and I find myself staring at a reflection of my own face. I am overwhelmed and weep quietly. "Do not fear who you are.", she whispers, "For being strong does not make you less feminine, being dark does not keep you from the light, being a warrior does not keep you from motherhood, being a whore does not keep you from love, being a bitch does not keep you from kindness, walking with death does not stop you from living- in fact, they are all strengthened by it. That is the divine feminine mystery, that which keeps the patriarchal masses in awe and fear, the fact that we are all of these things- an embodiment of the feminine divine. Live it, love in it and learn from it's wisdom.". I am filled with emotion, love, and self-acceptance. I thank the lady kindly, knowing the strength of the bond we share: my Mother, my sister, my friend, my Self.

Astrologic: week of the full moon in Gemini, planetary ruler: Jupiter

Element: Fire and water

Keywords: dark mother, sacred whore, bitch

Meanings: a dark haired woman with the sign of Aquarius, a woman who has suffered loss, the dark goddess personified

Quote: "I am the dark goddess embodied in all, the center of the feminine mystery."



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Another amazing post. I am awed by the use of the mirror to see the goddess in yourself. I knew you were going there but I had not even thought of it myself!
I really love these! Thanks