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.




‘Round and ‘Round We Go

Daily Draw December 24th, 2011

I drew this card in the morning but didn’t get it posted until hours later. I was tidying the house and making a bourguignon with some lovely red wine someone gave us for Christmas. I am using the leftover basmati rice to make a stuffing with mushrooms and sunflowers seeds and sage for our turkey tomorrow.

We watched the first Sherlock Holmes movie with Robert Downey Jr. which was wonderful. Then we watched Christmas cookery shows.


Last year on Boxing Day our kitchen sink fell apart and we couldn’t get hold of a plumber for two weeks. That was the beginning of our terrible year of endless home repairs, appliance replacements, and injuries, and on and on it went.

Both my sisters say that 2012 will be a better year. I was hoping so and then I got this card today and I thought of the Wheel turning, things turning around, coming up for air after a bad year. I felt this was true, that this was going to happen.

And here is Sebastian Brant from his 15th century book The Ship of Fools on number 56. Of the End of Power, from which Brian Williams took the imagery for this card from.

So take good heed, you men of might,
Though holding fortune’s wheel so tight,
Be wise and heed your dying day,
Lest that wheel spin the other way.

Power goes and the wheel turns, as does luck, but luck comes ‘round again, your donkey head seeing Lady Fortune’s beneficence once more.


Further to Fly

Today’s song on endless repeat in the brain is Further to Fly by Paul Simon.

“The open palm of desire
Wants everything
It wants everything
It wants soil as soft as summer
And the strength to push like spring.”

I rolled the very last of my jar of pennies last night for three hours and got $29–enough to pay for the two low-sodium cookbooks I ordered.

The card for today is from the Ship of Fools Tarot. Every time I take out one of my Brian Williams decks I feel sad that he is dead. I have the Ship of Fools and the Po-Mo Tarot and the book he wrote for the Light and Shadow Tarot. He died in April 2002, just at the time I was starting my journey with cards and art.

Compared to the abyss of junk that’s going on in tarot publication today, he was a genius of independent thought and originality. He used to arrange group tours of Europe for tarot-related things, and I understand they were fabulous and that he was a funny guy who liked people and had a great love for history and art. My kind of human.


This particular card doesn’t have a tie-in with Sebastian Brant’s Ship of Fools–I was all set to wallow in the gutsy 15th century peculiarities of Brant, but no joy today. The Ace of Staves is one of my personal cards though.

I want soil soft as summer and the strength to push like spring. This is the card for that.