View Single Post
magpie9's Avatar
magpie9  magpie9 is offline
Join Date: 07 Nov 2002
Location: High Desert, Small City, hold the Chilli
Posts: 7,733

Originally Posted by Thirteen
That's a pretty elaborate story, and if that's what you see, it's what you see...but I don't think it fits the picture, or relates to the Queen/Pents as we know her. You might want to take a look at the "Queens" thread we started. There an interesting point there that while this thread focuses on marriage and Mary the prostitute, there is much to be said about the tasteful and elaborate decor of the room and the Queen's outfit--which I think tells us far more than things that don't appear in the picture.

What we see would indicate to me that we are very much underestimating her as the Queen/Pents if we cast her in a story which puts her entirely at the mercy of her husband (who is where? what evidence do we have of him being...anything? Even alive?). To my mind, this card isn't at all like some other cards in the deck where there is a threatening male in foreground or background to help us formulate this woman's story as sad and victimized.

To the contary, from the evidence that I *see* in this card, this is a very confident, elegant, and generally satisfied woman. A Queen in her castle, and for the Queen/Pents that is a most beautiful and domestic home. The only story we have beyond the richness and taste of her furnishings and clothes is the picture of Mary that she clearly dislikes. Again, that picture isn't about marriage or children or romance of any kind. She's not looking at a picture of cupid or happy lovers or a wife with husband and kids, is she?

What that picture of Mary M. is about, ultimately, is a woman giving up pleasures and wealth to be spiritual. I think what bothers this woman is that the painting uncomfortably reminds her that being rich, tasteful, surrounded by beautiful things, and admired does not mean she's going to get to heaven. In fact, given the evidence, she could well have it all. The perfect (to her) husband with money, good looks; beautiful children who are seen but not heard, the admiration of neighbors and friends. She could be the Queen of Society, dictating who is in and who is out, the richest woman in the neighborhood. There could be not one thing in her life that she is not satisfied with.

And yet she knows that unlike Mary M. she does not and never will be willing to surrender it all in order to be on the side of light rather than darkness.
First of all, Thirteen, I want to say I have great respect for you as an interpreter of this and many other decks. However, I am going to argue my case because I think it will be an interesting thing to do. I do see your points, overall, even though I do not agree with all of them. And certainly I will read the "Queens" thread.
I have a different view of the whole St Mary Red Dress mystique, perhaps because my given name is Magdalin. In the first place I don't consider the prostitution slander to be true. It's based on one ambiguous sentence in one version of the story.
To me this Queen of Pents is not about what she will or will not give up, but more about what all this comfort and luxury costs in other ways. I don't see her soul imperiled at all, but I do see her in this card as isolated, and perhaps lonely. Where indeed is the charming husband, the happy family and the gilt-edged guarantee that she does not have it in her to give up anything for something greater, be it for love, duty or spirituality? I don't see any of that here, anymore than you see her as emotionally isolated and lonely. Perhaps her reaction to the picture is simply because she thinks it shockingly bad art!

I assume her married because just as there is a Queen of Pentacles in every deck, there is also a King. I don't see her as a victim. Her marriage may not be happy, but nowhere do I see self-pity or weakness in her. I think she may not know or care about the price of everything, but knows the cost of everything that really matters.

I am trying to speak for a different view of the Q of P, which --at least in this deck--is as likely as the traditional one. Look at Henry the VIII's first Queen, Katherine of Aragon. She felt it was her duty to be Queen, and under her sumptuous silks, velvets and brocades wore a hair shirt. She spent hours on her knees every day, praying, and spent most of her discretionary money on Charities of various kinds. Certainly she could be easily seen as a Queen of Pentacles, at least until her husband got the hots for a Sword Maiden. Having it all did not mean having it all, she died in poverty, neglect and squalor because she would not give in to her husband on the religious issue of the legality of their marriage. She was no weakling, and I do not see the BG Queen of Pents as a weakling, either.
I know my view of this card is not the usual picture of the Queen of Pents, but nothing in this deck is the usual picture. It's part of its wonderfulness! I thought it would be interesting to roll with the very non-traditional --but possible--view of this Queen that came to me.
Top   #10