Thursday 12 October 2017

Libra in the court cards

I’m taking a break from the Minor Arcana today. Instead, I’m looking at Libra in the court cards. But which one – or ones?  Different traditions have different astrological correspondences when it comes to the Court Cards. For instance, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn chose to assign cardinal attributes (initiating things) to the Queens, fixed (maintaining order) to the Kings, and mutable (being able to adapt and transform) to the Knights.  Each court card is also linked to the elements, with Pages with Earth, Knights being associated with Fire, Queens with Water, and Kings with Air. 

Queen of Swords (trimmed):
© Secret Tarot
Following this system, we end up with Cardinal Air sign Libra being associated with the Queen of Swords (Water of Air). What qualities do we associate with this Queen? Extremely perceptive and observant, quick-witted, confident. She’s often seen as a figure who’s been touched by sorrow, who’s learned to accept and assimilate her experiences with grace and dignity – a fine balancing act, bring that Venusian ruling of Libra into play.  The peacemaker, perhaps?

Queen of Swords (trimmed):
© Shadowscapes Tarot
The Shadowscapes’ Queen of Swords holds two (duality and balance again) curved swords to cut through deception, to see the issue clearly.  The white chrysanthemums symbolize purity, clarity and honesty; the purple lilies inner strength (so says the deck’s creators in the accompanying book; details below).

Queen of Swords (trimmed):
© Thoth Tarot
The Thoth deck follows the Golden Dawn convention. Here we have the Queen, sword in hand, having cut away the mask to reveal the reality – or to see more clearly.  Her sword liberates, allowing us to move out of the clouds and into a clear, open sky.  There’s a sense of the balance of Libra, too, I think, in the way she sits on her throne – a bit like the figures seen in Justice cards in other decks, perhaps?

King of Swords (trimmed):
© Sharman-Burke/Caselli Tarot
If you work with a system that assigns cardinality to the Kings, you’re looking at the King of Swords.  In the image from Juliet Sharman-Burke’s Beginner's Guide to the Tarot, we see the King on his throne, wearing blue (Air) and purple (wisdom). Two birds fly above his head; the number ‘two’ reminds us of the Libran theme of balance and choice, as well as the Air-like quality of the mind being able to rise above things.  The King of Swords is sometimes associated with the legal profession, particularly in terms of truth and social justice.  As in the Adjustment card of the Thoth deck, we’re always having to make adjustments in order to keep things in balance.  This King appears calm and in charge of things – everything’s in balance, in order.  As Libra is an Air sign, that balance and order is likely to be maintained by words, rather than by physical force.  The pen may be mightier than the sword, but here I think the sword represents the pen!   I could certainly see him as a mediator.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, you might be interested in my e-book, Astrology in Tarot, now available from Amazon.

Beginner’s Guide to the Tarot created by Juliet Sharman-Burke, illustrated by Giovanni Caselli, published by Connections
Secret Tarot created by Marco Nizzoli, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2004
Shadowscapes Tarot created by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore, published by Llewellyn
Thoth Tarot created by Aleister Crowley, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

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