Queen of Swords Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretations
Court cards, like the Queen of Swords, are unnumbered which makes using numerology to unlock their basic symbology a trickier exercise. On the surface we have the female ruler of the elemental domain of Air but not much else to go on. We can however link Tarot's Queens to their supreme ruler, The Empress, which would give her a numerological attribute of 3 by proxy. Cards in the suit of Swords tend towards the negative aspects of their element and numerology. The same element and numerology is found in the 3 Of Swords. With it's themes of emotional pain, suffering, loss, heart break and unhappiness, it is difficult to see anything positive in the basic symbology of the Queen of Swords.
The Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) Deck changed the position of the Queen of Swords from facing left or backward, as she had been depicted in traditional decks like the Marseille, to facing directly forward. The artist, Pamela, C. Smith, also gave this Queen a severe appearance. The right corner of her mouth turned slightly downward and a discernible frown can be seen from the sloping of her right eye brow. This is not a happy woman.
The RWS Queen of Swords emphasises the importance of where the Queen's attention is focused with her left hand gesturing in the direction in which she stares. What ever it is that she is upset, angry, worried or critical of, it is in front of her, in the east or in the future. The raised sword in the right hand could be either defensive or offensive. What may at first have appeared to be a simple image with little symbolical detail now offers a wide range of possibilities for interpretation. e.g. Paranoia, gossiping, criticism, speculation, scheming, manipulation, ambition or drama. The central theme is one of unhappiness from focusing entirely on the future and forgetting about the present moment. This is a character who is looking for trouble.
The Queen of Swords maybe a cold, unpleasant, cynical, unfairly critical or bitter person. She maybe highly intelligent with one or many professional or academic qualifications. She may command respect and have authority over those around her. Her vocation in life may be related to the element of air. She could be an air stewardess, meteorologist, teacher, academic, scientist, lawyer, judge, dentist, doctor, surgeon, nurse or policewoman. The Swords offer a great range of possibilities of vocation in their symbolism.
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THE PICTORIAL KEY TO THE TAROT
By Arthur Edward Waite (1911)
Her right hand raises the weapon vertically and the hilt rests on an arm of her royal chair the left hand is extended, the arm raised her countenance is severe but chastened; it suggests familiarity with sorrow. It does not represent mercy, and, her sword notwithstanding, she is scarcely a symbol of power. Divinatory Meanings: Widowhood, female sadness and embarrassment, absence, sterility, mourning, privation, separation. Reversed: Malice, bigotry, artifice, prudery, bale, deceit.