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The Queens and The Empress

Posted by George
My name is George and my interest in divination began at home on my fathers farm where I learned as a child ho...
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on Saturday, 16 June 2012
in Tarot

rwqueenwandsI recently gave a reading for a woman who had both the Queen of Wands/Rods and The Empress in her Tarot spread. I saw the Queen of Wands as who she was now and The Empress as who (or where) she wanted to be. It's a re-occuring theme, I often see as a tarot reader, The Empress turning up in spreads for what a woman wants as a goal, dream or destiny.

In Tarot there are 5 women of power, 4 Queens and The Empress. What is the difference between a Queen and an Empress? Let's take a look at the Queen of Wands first as this is where my train of thought began. Let's compare her to The Empress.

In the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot the Queen of Wands sits upon a throne set in dry hot lands. She is the Queen of the element of Fire. In the background we see what is maybe Pyramids. In one hand she holds a Wand, or Rod, which is budding into life and in the other hand she holds a sun flower that has been cut at the stem. A black cat at her feet, she looks left, or east, her gaze on something we can only guess at. Is she dreaming of being elsewhere or does she have her eye on some distant goal?

In such a dry, waterless landscape where did the sun flower come from? How does the Wand in her hand bring forth life? Sun Flowers turn up again later in the Major Arcana in The Sun (XIX). In The Sun we see a child on a horse back. Fertility is a key theme among the Queens and this is particularly true of The Empress. The Empress has a yellow sky in her background representing the element fire and The Sun. The Queen of Wands is a woman who has the desire for fertility but is looking for the other elements required to bring forth life and be creative. Water is the main element missing from her life, she needs love.rwqueenpentacles

Take a look now at the Queen of Pentacles. She too has the yellow sky but her green land is not as rich or as plentiful as the lands of The Empress. The Queen of Pentacles is facing to the right, or west, with her eyes fixed on the Pentacle in her hand. She's lost in her fixation with her wealth, she sees not the beauty of what she has around her.

The Queen of Swords faces left, or to the east, and looks directly at what she is challenging. That hand gesture is either a challenge to those who she would engage in war or an indication of where she thinks her troubles lie.

The Queen of Cups faces right, or to the west, very much like the Queen of Pentacles. Her gaze is locked on the chalice in her hands. Contained in this vessel will be the waters of all she cherishes emotionally. Like the Queen of Pentacles, she does not see the Ocean in front of her containg vast quantities of the element she has lock away in the chalice.

The Empress from Tarot's Major Arcana. Rider Waite Smith 1909There are two re-occuring themes with the Queens. One is of looking into the future and dreaming of something different to what they have or where they are. The other is being fixated with holding on dearly to what they have, fearing to lose it. If they would only look up and around them they would see they have so much more.

The Empress looks directly at you. She has all the elements in abundance and under her control. She has it all, she has the rich fertile lands, she has a river running down the hill and irrigating her earth, she has the yellow sky and the sun shine to warm her and make her crops grow and in her hand she holds a sceptre of gold with the globe of the world on top. The only element missing from the picture is air. It's missing for a reason. She has tall trees in the background sheltering her lands from the winds. Here no storms trouble her. This is the difference between a Queen and an Empress. An Empress is the ruler of many domains and not just one. She is The Empress of the 4 elements.

This is the woman that many dream of being and every woman can be. The message from the Queens is this. If you a dreamer gazing east bring your attention back to the present and where you are. Only there can you be The Empress. If you are fearful of losing what you have, and face west, lift your head up and shift your focus to all that is around you. You have so much more than what you fear to lose. The Empress faces you as if she were a mirror. What you see is yourself looking back at you. She is telling you that you have all that you need. You need only look around you and come back to where you are.

What about the men? Take a look at the Emperor and the 4 Kings and see what you think. Use the comment area below to share your own thoughts! 

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