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Court Cards - Queen of Swords

Updated on May 28, 2013
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The author is a professional tarot reader with 17 years experience. She runs a successful website and tarot reading business.

The Queen of Swords -  Rider-Waite tarot deck. Copyright-free  Pamela A version c1909.
The Queen of Swords - Rider-Waite tarot deck. Copyright-free Pamela A version c1909. | Source

The Queens of the Tarot

The Queen of Pentacles, Wands, Cups and Swords are the feminine embodiment of all aspects of their respective suits. They nurture the positive values of each suit and at the same time, all the negative aspects too. They are all powerful in their own way and in varying degrees.

Queens portray the inner life, whereas Kings are focused on the world around them. Queens tend towards the spiritual, while Kings are concerned with social issues and order. Kings are the ultimate rulers, but don't discount the behind-the-scenes power of the Queens.

Court cards represent concepts and ideas, but in a reading, they also can be real people or aspects of individuals' personalities.

This article will focus on the Queen of Swords, a lady that you would not want as a mother-in-law!

Queen of Cups

Queen of Wands

Queen of Pentacles


In the Rider-Waite deck, designed by the occultist, A.E Waite and created by the artist, Pamela Colman-Smith, we see the Queen of Swords in profile. This is unlike the Kings, who gaze straight towards us out of the card. This sideways aspect emphasizes the idea that the Queens are not concerned with direct influence, their power is more subtle than that. The Queen wears gray robes embroidered with white clouds. She sits upon a carved stone throne, which is decorated with a winged cherub and a butterfly. In her right hand she holds an upright sword. Her left hand is raised, almost in welcome. On her left wrist is a tasselled cord. She looks stern and unsmiling as she observes from her elevated viewpoint. A bank of gray clouds rises behind her but the sky is clear and blue. A single bird flies high above.

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Symbolism of the Queen of Swords

Truth, power, justice
Creature of air and transformation
Thought, revelation
Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Blue sky
Birds, flying insects

In a Reading

The appearance of the Queen of Swords in a reading usually indicates the presence of a straight-talking, acerbic but honest, woman in the seeker's life. It may even represent the seeker themselves. However, it might be that the seeker needs to take on some of the characteristics of this perceptive Queen in order to deal with the situation at hand.

If the Queen appears reversed, or in a certain place in the spread, it may indicate unfaithfulness, gossip, deception, unkindness or even cruelty.

Characteristics of the Queen of Swords

The Queen of Swords is an enigma; she is direct, forthright and truthful. She is also highly intelligent, charming, witty and deeply spiritual. She can be impatient, spiky and irritable, and will never tolerate stupidity, ignorance or immaturity in others. People either love her or hate her.

Do not try to deceive or sidetrack her, she will see through you immediately. Never give excuses or waffle, she will cut you with a glance. Silence is preferable to meaningless twaddle. She does not enjoy small talk... and if she appears to be doing so, it is only to extract information from you.

Intimidating, she may be, but if you are seeking fairness and justice, this is the woman you want on your side. She won't give you sympathy or bake you a cake, but she will strive to help you if she thinks your cause is worthwhile.

The Queen of Swords understands the pain of mental anguish; she has been through it all. Rachel Pollack in her book, 78 Degrees of Wisdom, pointed out that the cord on her left wrist could be the remnant of the cords that bind the woman in the Eight of Swords – in other words, she's been there, dealt with the anguish, and is a now a confident and authorititive woman. In some ways she appears unfeeling, because she has decided that emotions are not her strong point. Her forte is analysis, attention to detail and cutting through bovine excrement. She would rather complete a challenging crossword than read the Dear Abby page.

The Reversed Queen of Swords

The reversed Queen of Swords is all the above taken to extremes. She is brutal, bullying, manipulative and untrustworthy. All shreds of empathy have disappeared. Her loyalty is only to herself. She schemes and plots – her motivation is not financial, but power. She has no boundaries in what she will do to achieve her dubious ambitions. Cruella de Ville on steroids.

Queen of Swords, Love and Relationships

The Queen of Swords makes courtship a minefield for the potential suitor. Her standards are so high that only the most suitable are considered. She wants someone who is her equal. She may not need him to be an academic but he must be true to his ideals; be able to challenge and stimulate her, conversationally speaking. That doesn't mean she lacks passion, indeed, she sees sex as another arena to excel in, however, it is not all-consuming and she'd probably rather enjoy a spirited debate.

Once married, she will either focus on her own career or she will make her husband's career hers. She is efficient in everything she does – she will make a perfect meal because perfection is what she does, but she is unlikely to enjoy creativity unless it's her chosen path.

She can have difficult relationships with her children, especially if they turn out to be the dreamy, artistic type. Her lack of patience makes for less-than-ideal childhoods for her offspring. Once they are adults, everything changes. She is fiercely proud of their achievements and supportive of their causes... unless they become estranged, and they often do. If they are canny, then they will have learned to understand their prickly parent and know how to deal with her. Indeed, she loves it when they develop a keen sense of humor and is usually happy to be the butt of their jokes – don't let anyone else try it though, not even her spouse is allowed to poke fun at this Queen.

Queen of Swords, Career and Money

As I mentioned earlier, money is not a driving force with the Queen of Swords, power is the thing she wants, whether it be in her own household or as the CEO of a large corporation. Her abilities are formidable. She is competitive although mainly with herself. She knows she is the best and assumes she will get to the top. Don't get in her way.

Would you like the Queen of Swords as your BFF?

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