Left to right: Top row – Pagan Cats, Lumina, Wild Unknown. Bottom row – Animal Totem, Our Tarot
Rider Waite Smith and Pagan Cats
With the RWS card, we have a queen looking demurely towards a pentacle that is resting on her knee. Her throne is surrounded by roses, a detail echoed in the pagan cats tarot. Similarly, both have a rabbit in the foreground, highlighting the queen’s connection to the natural world. The rabbit also suggests fertility and fecundity, as well as creation. In many ways the queen is a minor version of the Empress card although Rachel Pollack also likens this card to the magician, both of which I’ll be writing about at some point.
With the link to the Empress, and with the suit of pentacles, we are thinking about nature, about the everyday, about resources and things we can touch and sense. As such, we are reflecting on nature and cycles and the rhythms of life. Being able to enjoy nature and notice the world around us can be a meditative way of life that can enhance our experience of being here:
“the quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention”
– Julia Cameron
This queen is the part of you that pays attention and is able to be present. This means she notices and enjoys the little things that other people often overlook. Looking at the RWS image, you could interpret her as being focused on the pentacle in a sort of meditative or appreciative kind of way but I’d like to contrast that with the pagan cats card. The cat has her tail curled around the pentacle and the post feels like she’s much more secure in her resources, she knows they aren’t going to vanish if she isn’t looking at them.
Obviously much of tarot is about how you interpret the cards and I’m trying to guide you to see the cards in different ways so that you can feel what chimes with you. Sticking with that cat a bit longer, we can feel into themes of trust and security, knowing that the resources we have worked hard for aren’t going anywhere.
In the Wild Unknown, the queens are mothers and the kings fathers which feels much more appropriate given there are no animals in the deck. This deer mother is depicted next to her fawn, protective and comforting but not stifling. She is there as a secure base and her presence allows the fawn to go out into the world. We all need a secure base, whatever form that takes. It might be a person, it might be a place, it might be a very literal security blanket but it is that something that helps to ground you and helps you to feel safe in the world.
Queen cards are associated with water and so that means the queen of pentacles is both water and earth, very literally she makes things grow. She is the earth mother. She is in flow with the planet. She is nurturing and big hearted, loving and patient. She is calm and caring and she is an earthly embodiment of the magic of nature.
She is generous and wants the best for all of us and wants to help us get there. Because of this, she can get her identity wrapped up in her family and friends.
The lumina queen is posed similarly to the RWS queen but instead of looking down, she is staring straight at the reader. At her feet, instead of a rabbit, rests a bear. For me, a key aspect of the bear is the duality of loving mother and angry momma bear. She is kind but if you endanger her babies, she will attack you. In terms of how that relates to this card, I think it’s about protecting your creations or your dreams as they start to venture out of your head and into the world.
The book talks very much about being at home with yourself and your life:
“You look at the life you have consciously created, the people within it and the activities and work you have dedicated yourself to and realise that it’s a true expression of grounded abundance and prosperity.”
To reach this stage in her life, she has had to pull on her resources but also carefully balance competing demands and ambitions in her life. But to reach this point in life and not acknowledge it would be to miss part of the journey. Stop, look around you, see how far you’ve come.
Sometimes the balance that this queen needs can get unsettled. She has the potential to put others before herself; she may over-help and in turn hinder the growth of others – teach a woman to fish and all that!
Our tarot have chosen Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great, to represent the queen of pentacles. She was born in 1729 in Russia and seems to have had a complicated life and over time grew in power and wealth. She was a strong woman and the time she reigned is sometimes called the Golden Age of Russia. I hadn’t heard of her before I got this deck so I’m not going to say much about her, but instead will focus on the way that she reflects the essence of the card.
“She is an example of the safety one feels when one’s mother “has their back”: a mother works to keep her child’s environment safe and comfortable.”
This quote from the accompanying book reminds me of the sea serpent from the wild unknown animal oracle deck. It also echoes the ideas we saw with the wild unknown card above.
To rise to her place in society, Catherine relied on, and used, other people and pulled on the external environment to help. Utilise your strengths and what is around you. Pay attention, be resourceful and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Animal Totem Tarot
“There is nothing nicer than the sun on my skin and the wind in my hair. Time for me is the best time in the whole wide world. No interruptions, no constant conversation, just me and whatever I need to do for myself.”
Note how the pig queen has hung up her crown for a mud bath? This card stresses the importance of self care – make time for yourself. You may want to help everyone out with everything but you need to take care of yourself first – think about oxygen masks on planes. Do whatever it is that recharges and revitalises you and then care for and help out others.