Monday 12 February 2018

Aquarius in the court cards

Last but not least, by any means – Aquarius 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. 

Prince of Swords (trimmed):
© Thoth Tarot
Following this system, we end up with Fixed Air sign Aquarius being associated with the King of Swords (Air of Air).  The Thoth deck follows this convention, of course, being rooted in the Golden Dawn tradition - although Crowley chose to use Princes rather than Kings, just to add to the confusion. In the image from the Thoth, we see the Prince of Swords slaying whatever stands in his way. Fast but also careful, he’s discriminating in what he chooses to remove in order to create something new and innovative. 

Queen of Swords (trimmed):
© Sharman-Burke/Caselli Tarot
If you work with a system that assigns the Fixed mode to the Queens, you’re looking at the Queen of Swords.  An example of this is the Sharman-Burke/Caselli tarot (Beginners Guide to the Tarot). Here we see the Queen on her throne, which is decorated with butterflies (symbolizing the element of Air) and an eagle’s head (the form that Zeus took in order to transport Ganymede to Mount Olympus to become the cup-bearer of the gods, taking his place in the sky as Aquarius).  The single bird in the clear sky, above the storm clouds on the horizon, represents clarity; this queen can see past obstacles and keep her mind on the objective.  The upright sword represents justice and equality – high ideals – and all strong Aquarian qualities.  Detachment, another Aquarian quality, allows the Queen of Swords to remain dignified even though she’s known loss and pain – she won’t wear her heart on her sleeve, but bears sorrow with fortitude and courage. 

Beginner’s Guide to the Tarot created by Juliet Sharman-Burke, illustrated by Giovanni Caselli, published by Connections
Thoth Tarot created by Aleister Crowley, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

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