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For as long as I've been reading Tarot -- more than 25 years at this point -- my card has been the Queen of Swords. No matter what deck I read off of, or have someone do a reading for me with, the Queen of Swords always pops up when I need to be shown myself.

There's debate about whether the suit of Swords should be associated with Air or Fire -- that's a whole 'nother piece of occult history that is its own fascinating late-night discussion -- but regardless of which Element you consider her to rule over, the Queen of Swords is my sovereign. If you place her in Air, she is the ruler of all things intellectual, rational, logical -- the scholar, the writer, the researcher, the debater. If you place her in Fire, she presides over passion, creativity, those things which cause us to burn with all the emotions which can both warm us and scorch us. She is both cooly rational and calculating, and at the same time passionate and fierce. She is a Warrior with her mind and with her heart, with her words and with her actions, with her ability to plan carefully and her willingness to rush in and do battle when she feels the call.

The Queen of Swords is my card.

A Tarot reader I trust very much once told me, when the Queen of Swords showed herself in a reading at a particularly difficult time in my life, "You know, everything doesn't have to be a battle all the time. Sometimes it seems like you're looking for something to fight, something to war with. Maybe it doesn't have to be like that. Maybe there are times when you can put the sword down and rest."

He's right, of course, that there are times when as the Queen of Swords I can be looking for the next enemy, hypervigilant, ready to charge down the hill with banners flying and weapon raised. I can sometimes see an epic battle where perhaps a quiet negotiation would also serve. And while the Queen of Swords can be a skilled negotiator, there are times when the clash of steel and the sweat of combat come more easily to me than the chess-match of words, when honest combat between foes is more pleasing and comes more naturally than the work of hammering out an imperfect peace through compromise and concession.

During my two decades' walk with the Queen of Swords, I've had time to make peace will all the parts of her -- the parts of myself -- of which I might not necessarily be proud. Even as we've been companions and comrades for my entire adult life, I know that I'm not the same girl who turned up that card for the first time. I know that I've grown, and changed, and picked different battles, and --yes -- even walked away from a few without drawing a blade or a drop of blood. I also know that as I've seen more of the world, seen more of injustice and oppression and pain, the Queen has been besides me, urging me to action. I may not be willing to war at the drop of a hat on my own behalf these days, certainly not the way I was at 17 or 19. But in the end, when faced with a fight worth fighting or an enemy worth slaying, I am still ready and willing to marshall my forces and battle, with whatever weapons are necessary.

The Queen of Swords is my card.

I think about that reading so long ago, and the gentle suggestion that perhaps the world doesn't need to be a battle. And then I think about the world, especially the world we may be facing come January 2017, and I cannot in good conscience lay down my sword and beat it into a ploughshare. And I simultaenously realize I would not want to, even if I had it in me to do so.

I need the struggle to stay alive. The belief that there is a better world out there -- that I can, to borrow from Arundhati Roy, on a quiet day hear that better world breathing -- is what fires me, what keeps me going, what gives me strength in the face of so much injustice. I need this struggle, I need this fight. I need it to keep me walking forward on the darkest of days. I need this struggle because the alternative is unimaginable.

The Queen of Swords is my card.

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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
meridian_rose
Nov. 25th, 2016 01:00 pm (UTC)
A Tarot related entry :) I don't need the struggle - it wears me down - but you clearly thrive under pressure :)
morettaallstar
Nov. 25th, 2016 01:28 pm (UTC)
I really like the repetition of this, the way it almost becomes a mantra.
kajel
Nov. 25th, 2016 11:19 pm (UTC)
I love this and how you have associated with one card throughout your life.
i_17bingo
Nov. 26th, 2016 12:41 pm (UTC)
I wish I had a card. For me it's pretty much everything without repeating (much).

And I admire your thirst for battle.
ellison
Nov. 27th, 2016 12:33 am (UTC)
Ooh I love this. Tarot and metaphysical / occult type pagan subjects always make me happy. :)
halfshellvenus
Nov. 28th, 2016 07:35 am (UTC)
A battle can as easily be one of ideas rather than bloodshed, and the hardest to walk away from are often those where someone we care about is under attack and needs help.

I fully expect 2017 and beyond to look like that, and to need warriors to argue for humanity.
murielle
Nov. 28th, 2016 04:49 pm (UTC)
Very well written. Brava!
my_name_is_jenn
Nov. 29th, 2016 12:04 am (UTC)
Tarot has always really interested me. :)
penpusher
Nov. 29th, 2016 05:36 pm (UTC)
This speaks to a greater truth that I sometimes forget but should never be far from the front of the cranium: Life is easier when you know what to do.

And really, isn't that what a war is about? Fight and kill or be killed? That's a pretty straightforward (though deadly) assignment. But within that kind of scenario, even if it means a fight to the finish, it's actually easier than reading a menu and choosing an entree.

My mom is the Queen of Swords. It's not always easy.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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