Queen of Swords

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Queen of Swords from the Rider-Waite Tarot deck

The Queen of Swords is the thirteenth card in the suit of Swords. It usually stands for widowhood, female sadness and embarrassment. It can also signify absence, sterility, mourning, privation, and separation. Art in general.

General description

In the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, Pamela Colman Smith depicts the Queen of Swords as a Queen holding an upright sword in her right hand. Her 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 meaning

Queen of Swords from the Visconti-Sforza Tarot

This card must mean either woman ruling by matter, material or magnetic attraction, purely physical charm, or ruled by material elements herself. The latter may be seen as: ruled by the desire of luxury and money, or as: overpowered by material difficulties, weighed down under the burden of a material world. A woman of Saturnian and Martian qualities is seldom charming unless in a purely physical and sexual way; there may be higher virtues, however, which in this case will be developed by suffering, such as chastity, severity, continence—from which it will be easily seen, that sterility, privation and mourning may derive, personally.

On the one hand this card may be a woman under affliction and severed from her natural protector or protection—widow, divorced, separated, though not the unmarried; on the other hand we have to see in this card the woman who is paid for her love, and the fact that “woman costs money,” a fact of more occult significance than the world at large understands.

Well aspected, it may indicate art in general and sometimes wealth after assiduous struggle and toil.

If reversed, the card can mean: Malice, bigotry, and deceit. A woman with ill-will.

Tarot Topics
Major Arcana The FoolThe MagicianThe High PriestessThe EmpressThe EmperorThe HierophantThe LoversThe ChariotStrengthThe HermitWheel of FortuneJusticeThe Hanged ManDeathTemperanceThe DevilThe TowerThe StarThe MoonThe SunJudgementThe World
Minor Arcana Pentacles AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Wands AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Cups AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Swords AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Decks Visconti-Sforza TarotTarot of MarseillesRider-Waite TarotThoth TarotOccult TarotAngel TarotVlad Dracula TarotHieronymus Bosch Tarot