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Court Card Close-Up: The Queens of Tarot

Original photo by Amanda Wilson | Feat. Queens of The Celtic Tarot by Kristoffer Hughes

Of all the cards of the Tarot deck, I find that it’s hardest for me to understand the court cards: King, Queen, Knight and Page. That’s why I’ve decided to write a series of articles about them. We can learn about them together! We will start with the Queen, as I find myself drawn to the Queens of Tarot. There’s something about Her countenance, Her imagery, that just pulls at me, partly recognition, partly longing.

There are four Queens in the Tarot deck:

  • The Queen of Cups/Cauldrons
  • The Queen of Wands
  • The Queen of Pentacles/Shields
  • The Queen of Swords

The Queen of the Tarot represents a person with a number of attributes, many of which are associated with the Crone, or an older, matured woman. I personally don’t think of the Queens as women- they could be any gender, or no gender – which means people of any gender (or lack thereof) could identify with and seek help from the Queen archetype. This is why I refer to the Queen(s) as they/them. The Queen is a person who has been through a lot in their life – a lot of pain, heartache, tragedy, and has learned their lessons well. The Queen is strong, and tough- they may come across as cold or distant, but really, they love hard. Their whole heart and soul goes into loving. That doesn’t mean they’ll go easy on the people they love, though. The Queen is firm, and fair, and never one to coddle. The Queen teaches the hard lessons, tells the hard truths. They will be blunt, if need be. Their wisdom and intelligence is astounding, as is their creativity. Even more admirable, in my opinion, is that the Queen has what it takes to pursue the ideas they come up with. There’s no procrastination, and no excuses, with the Queen. Each Queen has their own unique style, of course. The Queen of Wands is discernibly different from the Queen of Cups/Cauldrons, as the Queen of Swords is from the Queen of Pentacles/Shields. Let’s take a look at each Queen.

Queen of Wands

The suit of Wands is the fiery, passionate suit of the South. The Queen of Wands is energetic and motivating- they’re the kind of person who somehow manages to complete everything on their to-do list and more. Their courage and confidence is admirable, so it’s no wonder they’re a social butterfly.

The Queen of Wands reminds you that you are upbeat, courageous, and determined. You are here to see through your creative visions and life purpose, even in the face of adversity.

Biddy Tarot

Queen of Cups/Cauldrons

The Cups, or Cauldrons, suit is that of Water, the West, and associated with emotions. Thus, the Queen of Cups/Cauldrons is one who is led by love and compassion. They are honest and trustworthy – you never have to worry about this Queen letting you down. This Queen is artistic, and appreciates the beauty in all things. They are intuitive, following their heart and their ‘gut’, which are usually spot on. Kristoffer Hughes states that the Queen of Cauldrons “emulates the true quality of love” and is the “epitome of love and compassion”. (The Branches of the Celtic Tarot, p. 185)

Turn to this Queen if you are lacking in integrity, if you’re weak-willed, if you find it difficult to allow yourself to love others or yourself. If you need help intuitively detecting truth, honesty, or authenticity, this Queen can help with that as well.

Queen of Pentacles/Shields

The Queen of Pentacles/Shields is that of the North and represents the Earth. The Pentacles/Shields suit represents the material side of life. The Queen of this suit is someone who is deeply connected to the earth and an embodiment of the Mother goddess. There is a slight difference, I found, between the Queen of Pentacles and Queen of Shields. The Pentacles Queen represents someone who is affluent and successful, while the Shields Queen is a more spiritual archetype. Hughes writes in The Branches of the Celtic Tarot:

What can be more magnificent than the very earth itself? The queen represents this, the sovereignty within the land. And in the true nature of a mother, she selflessly gives of herself in order to sustain, support, and feed her children.

Kristoffer Hughes, The Branches of the Celtic Tarot p. 232

While the Queen of Pentacles would be an excellent advisor for that which concerns finances, such as career goals, catching up on your bills, financing a house, or saving for a vacation, the Queen of Shields would make for a powerful magical ally, as she is keenly aware of and in tune with the magic of nature.

Queen of Swords

The Queen of Swords is, well, a bad ass bitch. This is one queen I do associate with those who identify as women, simply because of her strength. I’m sorry fella’s, but only a woman could possess the strength of the Queen of Swords. She’s lived through horrible shit and come out wiser, more powerful, and hell of a lot stronger. She may seem distant or cold, but she loves hard. Maybe even harder than the Queen of Cauldrons.

This is the Queen to go to when you’re struggling to find yourself. When you feel like the world has turned against you. When your heart is broken, your mind is tired, your soul is bleeding…this Queen will see you through. She won’t coddle you, nor will she do anything for you. She’ll give you the tools you need to do it yourself, because this Queen values independence and sovereignty. This Queen will give you hope when you have none, and that, my friends, is the most blessed of all magics.

Who is the Queen to me?

The Queen’s qualities may be found in Dark Goddesses, such as The Morrigan, Hecate, Cerridwen, and the Cailleach. I admire the Queen, and seek to gain Her help with many of my challenging attributes. For example, I’m horrible with procrastinating. I avoid finishing tasks, put off starting projects, inadvertently forget to make important phone calls or write important emails. I don’t know why this is, but I know it’s a problem that I need help with. Help the Queens of the Tarot could provide.

If I channeled the Queen’s energy into myself every day, and became half the person (because who said the Queen had to be a woman?), the Queen represents, my life would be so different. I’d be more successful, my house would be cleaner, my children would be more polite. My life is great, don’t get be wrong, but I’m far from perfect. I love my life, which is why I am willing to put in the work to improve it. My magic is strong, but a little help from the Queens of the Tarot would magnify my magic four fold.


The Queens of Tarot are…

Strong & Resilient

Wise & Intuitive

Firm & Fair

Love hard but do not coddle

Experienced pain, heartbreak, humiliation, and tragedy; have come through stronger, wiser, and more determined

Honest; Not afraid to tell it like it is

Possess the ability to not only come up with endless ideas, but has the gumption to make those ideas a reality


Sources

The Celtic Tarot by Kristoffer Hughes

Biddy Tarot

The Tarot Guide


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Get to Know a Goddess: Part 4

November 22nd: Leucothea

Happy Birthday Sagittarius Babies! Sagittarius is the centurion archer who represents harmonious mingling of the physical and spiritual living. Saggitarians tend to have a strong drive for justice, much like the goddess Leucothea.

Leucothea is a Greek goddess. The word Leucothea translates to “milk-white goddess”, alluding to her maternal nature. According to mythology, Leucothea was the mother of centaurs, and wet nurse for the famous Dionysus. In more recent times she is depicted as a sea goddess with art work presenting her as a mermaid. Telesco (author of 365 Goddess, the inspiration and resource for this post) explains that through this transformation “we see the mingling of the spiritual nature (water) with that of the earth (half-human appearance) to create Sagittarius’s customary energies.”.

Themes

  • Creativity
  • Energy
  • Communication
  • Balance
  • Harmony
  • Change

Symbols

  • Bow and Arrow
  • White items
  • Milk
  • Seawater

Celebrating Leucothea

Include milk or milk product in your diet today to consume a bit of Leucothea’s maternal nature or invoke her spiritual balance into your life. Wearing white is a way to figuratively don her power.

Ask Leucothea for help with personal transformation, especially those that encourage personal comfort and tranquility, while taking a salt water or milk bath.


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Creating Balance and Harmony in Ritual

You Must Have Balance

Ever since I started learning witchcraft, just about every book I’ve read has emphasized the importance of balance. You must have balance for your workings to be successful. I agree with this, but as I’ve spent time actually doing the work, I’ve learned a thing or two that wasn’t in books- wasn’t in articles online.

This push for balance comes from the Hermetic Principles, which are outlined in The Kybalion. The Fourth Principle, the Principle of Polarity, states: 

Everything is dual; everything has poles; everything has its’ pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.  

Wiccans have drawn many of their ways from this little book. When they applied this Principle, they also apply it to the Deities. You must invoke the God and the Goddess, you must have a Matron and Patron deity. This implies that the God and Goddess – no matter which ones – are polar opposites and that you need both to learn the ‘truths’. Hmm…nope. Don’t think so, sorry! I’m sure this principle applies to other things, but I don’t think it can be applied to humans based on gender. 


Duality and Deity

I started writing this blog Saturday night, after having an epiphany. ButI knew it wouldn’t be a very good article if I just shared my discovery without doing a little background research. One of the books I went to was Silver Ravenwolf’s To Ride a Silver Broomstick. Now, I like Ravenwolf as an author – she’s a good writer. But I don’t like how she states her believes as dogma – I wouldn’t like that even if I believed what she does, but I really don’t like it because she has very different beliefs from me. For example, she states that deities exist to help humans.  I was talking with a friend (who happens to be an amazing author) about this and she said that Ravenwolf’s point of view is that “humans ate the center of the universe”. (literally laughed out loud at this). But I digress… the point is she and many other authors hold this believe that male and female deities represent certain things and they both must be  present in order to bring a balance of power to the ritual. I haven’t been practicing as long as Ravenwolf or any other author that makes this claim, but I’ve learned from experience that the deities are all very different from one another, and some deities possess qualities that are said to belong only to the opposite sex. So I decided to try something different.

Calling The Three

I created a talisman for my bedroom, and as I was setting up my altar, something in me said to call upon the three deities that have the most presence in my life: the Morrigan, the Cailleach, and Lugh. I affectionately call them “the Three”. I thought about what they represent, most prominently anyways, and I thought of the elements.  Not the four elements of traditional witchcraft but the elements as the Celts saw it: Land, Sea, and sky. So I arranged the candles I have dedicated to each deity in a triangle. I raised my hands in goddess position and called the Morrigan and asked her to bring the power of land – the strength of stone and stability of trees. I called to Cailleach and asked her to bring with her crashing waves of wisdom, and then asked Lugh come to my circle as rays of light come in through my window in the early morning hours. And it was incredible. The Morrigan came on a mist and rose like the standing stones she used to stop a retreating army once. Cailleach came in on a crashing wave –  I could almost smell the salt and felt that unique chill you get when you stand on a beach. When Lugh came in I felt the gentle warmth of the sun and I could feel the flames of passion spark inside me as if gas was poured onto the fire. I said the words and gave the offerings. I left the talisman on the altar to scribble down everything I said and did, as it was impromptu and I didn’t want to forget what I said or what I felt. A few minutes later I returned to my altar, thanked the Three, and bid them farewell. When I went to pick up the talisman- I shit you not it was vibrating with power. I could feel the energy buzzing from it when my hand was about an inch away from it. Even though it may seem like it’s not a big deal, it was one of the freakiest and most amazing things I have ever experienced. After I hung it on my wall I pulled out my computer and started this article to share my story. I suggest giving it a try – instead of routinely calling a god and goddess, really think about the deities you work with and think about their personalities, the lessons they teach, the elements they favor and call on them based on those qualities. That would create true balance. If you don’t like it, then no harm done, right? But you could have an incredible ritual because of it, so just try it out. 

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Thoughtful Thursdays: Devotional Practice

Thoughtful Thursday Presents: Devotional Practice

A lot of thought must go into developing a devotional practice, so I thought this would be the perfect topic for this weeks Thoughtful Thursday post. First I would like to apologize this is going up so late! I took the day off yesterday and the day before to spend time on my devotional practice- preparing and celebrating Lughnasadh. 

Devotional Practice for Hekate

At the end of every month, I perform a ritual for Hekate. She is the Queen of the Underworld, the Torch Bearer, the Keep of the Keys to All Realms. Her torches light the way to the path you must take to reach the next phase in life. She is found in liminal locations, that is places that are in two places at once – putting it simply. She is older than time, and people have been leaving offerings to her at crossroads and intersections for centuries. The ritual I perform is an adaptation of the deipnon. 
The Deipnon, meaning “evening meal” and it was how the Athenians honored Hekate each month. A portion of the last meal of the day was placed out for Hekate and the restless dead. This offering was to purify the household, atoning for any misdeed a person of the household may have committed. It also was given to gain Hekate’s favor, as well as appease the vengeance of any spirits residing with her. People would place meals at crossroads or in shrines dedicated to her outside the entranceways to the home. This was done on the last day of the Athenian calendar, and many modern devotees, like myself, have adopted it as a monthly practice honoring her. The Athenian calendar, or the Attic calendar, followed the lunar cycles. The new moon marked the end of each month, which is when they would perform this ritual. So, modern devotees may perform this at the end of the calendar month or on the new moon. 
Because of the reasons behind my offering, I perform the deipnon on the last day of each month. I give offerings to thank Her for guiding me through the month, lighting the paths I needed to take to meet my goals and to ask her to do the same for the month to come. I also give offering to ask Her to protect my home – to lend me her hounds to scare away anyone or anything that means me harm. I create my own black salt which I pour in front of the threshold to keep nasty spirits and entities from wandering inside. 

Relationship Building

Devotional practice is how you build and maintain relationships with the gods. As the Morrigan is my Matron goddess, I go to her altar at least once a day to give her an offering and to communicate with her. I talk with her all throughout the day, but I make sure to go to her altar and give her my undivided attention at least once a day. If I don’t have anything in particular  to ask her about I will just go and count my blessings. Gratitude is a major component of my witchcraft practice. I believe gratitude empowers much of my magickal workings. I will recognize the blessings I know/feel were from the Morrigan and tell her how they helped me. Of course, she knows this already but it’s important to say so. 
I work with Lugh and Cerridwen quite often as well, so I make sure I honor them regularly as well. I have three altars – one is my Morrigan Priestess altar, and the other is my working altar. On that altar, I have a candle and offering dish for Lugh and Cerridwen. These are both in my ‘witchy room’ – where I meditate, cast spells, hold ritual, and store my herbs, crystals, wands, cauldrons, staff – you get the idea. Outside I have a makeshift altar for Hekate – a tree stump on the corner bu the corner of my home. It’s where I leave the food for the deipnon. 
If you are polytheistic like I am I hope that you put time and thought into your devotional practice. The gods are not magickal vending machines! If you only talk to them to request their blessing on your spell or rite, they will get fed up and stop coming around when you call. I believe they love us, but I also believe they can get annoyed, even pissed off, with us at times. I know the Morrigan gets pissed when people litter! Being a people pleaser I feel compelled to pick up litter whenever I see it. The Morrigan is not the most convenient Matron goddess but it has been rewarding and fulfilling to have her in my life. All of the gods have become rewarding and fulfilling parts of my life, and I think having a regular devotional practice has made all the difference.