The Queen of Coins in Black and White

Daily Draw March 22nd, 2013

I drew a card from the Tarot of the Absurd, and then I thought it might be an interesting study to pull the same card from other black and white decks, so this is a small study of the Queen of Coins or Queen of Pentacles.

The one that started it all:


Many people seem to attach the mothering gene to The Empress, but for me she is always this Queen. She stops to smell the flower, stops to nurture herself and others. There is something about the chair in this card, the cut-outs seem to allow for growth or change if not innovation, and the idea of movement and air circulating is here, like the openness this Queen has to others, like the tracery in the window, allowing and nurturing different paths.


Steve Bright has retitled the Queen “Nurturer of Pentacles”in his Fragments of an Illusion deck. In this case the queen is a Dad making sure he spends time with a young child even though he wants to fiddle on his computer.

In the Hermetic, she is associated with a goat for fertility. I like that he’s drawn a spiral on her helmet for snails and the fertility of the Earth too.

The Enigma makes mention of comfort not being for you alone, but something you give to others along with support. This drawing was a study for one of the angels in Da Vinci’s painting Madonna of the Rocks, so there is an angelic security or support hinted at here.

The Ship of Fools card displays the Queen with a mirror, an emblem of vanity and pride and it looks like a demon is going to roast her over a fire, an image the reminds me of several saints being tortured and grilled in history. The Queen seems unconcerned, a product of her grounded nature, although there is a hint that she might get carried away with material things and vanity.


Well, Queen Victoria had a lot of children herself and the stewardship of her people, which is a mothering concern. This is another very secure and dignified Queen and obviously fertile, generous too. There is that reciprocal idea of care and concern, also found in the Tarokado.

Ah the Ironwing, this is the Madrone of Bells, and the name madrone comes from the Arizona madrone tree which is a type of arbutus tree. My mother loved the Pacific arbutus. I was just copying out a poem for my Dad and I put an image of an arbutus with it. For me it is MOTHER and it’s so touching to see it referenced here. Proof that when you least expect it, a card will reach out to you. Collaboration and generosity, yet with productive work as crystals in a dark cave were transformed to provide the fruitful berries, and this Queen shares with animals too.

The Ravenswood deck shows the Queen with a necklace with a gold bull’s head. She has the freedom and wealth to share and seems very quiet and contained.

Le Tarokado is a French deck from Quebec. My French fell down on this one but it says something about everything being sacred and what returns is dedicated or consecrated. So in generosity and nurturing, the Queen has it returned to her and then she dedicates it to others again. Also in this card she looks very calm and contained, very grounded.


This card is so big I had to put it on its own. Again, you can see the goat association with fertility and also earthy impulses. I was interested that the dark and light aspect of the halves of the Queen is associated with versions of the Earth Mother from early cultures, and there is a suggestion of a third eye in the image. The darkness reminds me of the cave description in the Ironwing, where it is not dark and wet but fertile. Soil and growth and invention—I like the idea of invention as you grow things from your mind.


The Kaos shows another mother, nurturing a child. Comfortable and generous, secure productive and practical. She is really a great influence on people as well as taking care of them, she inspires us to be better, to work and be fruitful in many ways.

The Queen of Diamonds in the Diary deck also seems to have a third eye. The spider web on her face and the spider-like qualities of the jewel in her forehead remind me of the mythology of the Great Mother or Great Weaver, the creator of the world in several world mythologies. The web of life and mothering qualities are here, but there is also a watchfulness to this Queen, as a guardian to the Earth, a nurturing omniscience.

I don’t often get this card, but with my Dad going into a care home and his condominium being sold off, it does remind me of my Mom. She has been dead for twenty years but that was her home and as such it was an anchor or home base in the family and a reminder of her spirit.

The Madrone of Bells came to say “I am still here.” The other Queens say the same thing, and watch and comfort.




St. Elizabeth – Queen of Coins

This is St. Elizabeth of Hungary, the daughter of the King of Hungary in the early 13th century. Her mother was German and was murdered by Hungarian nobles in what is described as a hate crime. Elizabeth was a serious and pious child who happily married at the age of 14 and had three children. She wanted to spread her happiness through charity. She funded hospitals, orphanages, and personally took an interest in the poor and sick, often ministering to them herself. As a princess, she had her own family money that she used for charity.

Coins, otherwise known as Pentacles: this Queen has always meant a mother archetype to me as opposed to The Empress who other people feel is the mother in tarot. Elizabeth thought of others instead of herself and spent her life committed to the welfare of others, much like a mother. She sewed clothes for people and baked bread for them, some stories have her going fishing to get food for people. I wonder if losing her mother at an early age made her more mindful of care for others? My own mother was like that.

Her husband Ludwig, who was always supportive of her charity, died of the plague during a crusade, and her brother used that as an excuse to kick her out of her home, and took over the handling of her money so that she couldn’t give it away. Apart from losing her home and autonomy, Elizabeth felt the joy had gone out of her life with the death of her husband.

There are some stories of her joining the third order of St. Francis, where the man who was her confessor, Conrad of Marburg, bullied and made her fearful, even physically abused her with corporal punishment. He was an experienced papal inquisitor in cases of heresy so his reputation might have come down through history influenced by people’s attitude toward that, but he was a severe fellow, and I get the feeling he took a personal dislike to Elizabeth and used his position simply to bully her. He was apparently harsh with himself too, but his wild accusations and fanaticism eventually got him murdered. An act which few seem to have been sorry about, he was so unpleasant.

Yet Elizabeth was obedient and humble and carried on, comparing herself to grass that is beaten down by heavy rain and then pops up again. She refused to marry again and lived austerely, depriving herself of basic needs, and died as a result when she was only twenty-four. Maybe if she’d had a different spiritual advisor she would have found a better way to live and contribute to the world than opting for excessive mortifications causing her own death? There is something of the martyrdom of mothers in her death. Mothers can sacrifice themselves to their children’s well-being, denying themselves greatly: a small warning bell to this archetype.

I was interested in what exactly a third order, or tertiary order, is. It is a way for lay people to join a religious order without taking full vows. Some people live in the monastery and others live in the secular world while still being associated with the order in this way. The name comes from the formal Third Rule of religious orders like the Benedictines or Franciscans. The Third Order of St. Francis has become the model for other orders, so it seems natural that in addition to her devotion to poverty, Elizabeth would have gravitated toward this order in particular, since it might have been more welcoming to laypeople during her time period.