Legends: Queen of Shields: Igraine


I have to say that Igraine is my favorite Queen in this deck - I'm not sure why, perhaps it's the gorgeous red dress, or that even though she is wealthy she is down-to-earth, or even that she is secure and independent, yet kind and generous.

She sits at the table, counting her money, she has been sensible and saved it. There are scrolls nearby, which I think would be her ledgers, to keep track of what she spends, pays her employees and what she makes. There is also a bowl on the table with fruit or vegetables in it.

The bales of wheat indicate what has been harvested and stored for the winter months. The hay is being kept dry up in the loft. She plans ahead and I think of her as being thrifty, not wasting anything, very organised - everything has it's place and is neatly piled or bundled. I think it makes her feel comfortable to be able to see that everything is in order.

The senses are important to her too I think, what she can touch (the money, the solidity of the table beneath her hand), taste (the bowl of food), see (everything prettily arranged, the luxuriousness of her clothes), smell (the harvested hay), hearing (the chink of the coins as she piles them up).

Other decks normally have the black cat with the Queen of Wands, but we find it here with Igraine, rubbing itself of a bale of wheat - the domestic, yet magical and sensual qualities.

In what would otherwise be a cold and lifeless room, she has created warmth and comfort.


That was an interesting link to the superstitions around the black cat, and I think I see why Anna-Marie chose it for the Queen of Shields. The iris, representing the cycles of the moon...and the cycles of a woman, her sensuality and fertility and independance as well.

This Queen loves deeply and sensually and is very physical but she is not dependant on her King for her sense of self or purpose. She knows exactly what her purpose is and is diligent about fulfilling her responsibilities. She may be independant, but is depended on by others, to sustain them, maintain their health and general wellfare. I don't think she really looks at it as a hardship sort of "duty", but it is something that comes with her station, and enjoys this. Usually these earth queens are out side in a garden, but here she is in the store room, maybe she just finished helping bring in the season's harvest and is checking to make sure there will be enought to last until the next harvest time. There is an enjoyment and satisfaction that comes with the completion of this sort of task, a sensual pleasure of lining everything up in order and seeing the shelves and bins filled and ready.

I can identify with this, it sounds so vain and silly, but when I can fish, I really do enjoy the look of jars stacked up neatly on the shelf, or seeing the freezer filled with various things in their clear vacuum packed bags. It's a combination of visual, sensual, physical and emotional elements that give a real sense of achievement and accomplishment to see the objects of your labors completed. That sense of pride from taking care of your own.

I've loved this card from the first time I saw it. Not sure exactly why...until just this minute.


This is certainly a well thought out card. By placing Igraine the Queen of Shields in her storehouse we get the strong impression of fertility, wealth and independence, without disturbing the theme of Shields (Pentacles) being a Winter suit. It says a lot about the Queen's attention to detail and responsibility that she herself is taking a personal interest in the stores, a job that other queens (particularly the Queen of Swords) would normally leave to servants. This queen has personally assured that she has a place for everything and everything in its place.

It is interesting too that Anna-Marie mentions that Igraine had
a happy marriage; the people loved their their High Queen and henceforth Igraine ruled alongside her husband as an equal partner.
So this queen not only achieved balance within herself, but in her relationship with her spouse and with the people and their land. This situation was more likely in the "dark age" Celtic times than in the medieval.

The link to the black cat mythology was interesting, and it noted that cats evoke mystery, magic, independence and fertility. This imagery reinforces that of the queen herself. We can imagine that this is also a practical cat, when not marking the hay with its scent it is undoubtedly catching mice in the storeroom.

Igraine is pronounced ee-GRAYN.


I noticed that there is a ladder up to the hay-loft. I think that the reversed meanings could be seen as social climbing, or seeking prestige if one was overly preoccupied with security and material gain. But upright, I think it's just more of Igraine's sensibility - I can't imagine her trying to scrambling up into the loft from the table, it just wouldn't be safe or practical.


That's her secret stash place, maybe or her hidden retreat! I used to threaten to build a studio/room above the porch complete with a retractable ladder and a coffee maker, so I could get away and no one could come up and not come back down until I was good and ready. LOL Was just a fantasy of mother with little children, but it sounded sooooo good at the time.

Ok, that's a real stretch of the imagination, but I hadn't noticed that ladder before. I'm sure it's not the way out of this room, but the social climber, the ladder of success, makes a lot of sense. The more I think about this concept the more sense it makes, that using everything we have gathered, built up and accomplished makes us ready to climb that ladder to greater success. She's happy with where she is, or maybe doing a careful accounting to make sure she has everything she needs before attempting it. Not an easy task in those skirts!


A Room of One's Own

I really think its a hay loft, but not the only way in or out. The room she is in looks too big and bright to be just a cellar under a hay loft. And we don't see any straw on her dress, so I don't think she had to negotiate the ladder to get there. But she may indeed have a stash up there. Psychologically its the position of her super-conscious, her treasures stored up in heaven.

I've found its so important to have A Room of One's Own (Virginia Woolf), especially for a man. Most modern households are set up so that the woman is the one who decides on decoration, room usage, etc. Men often don't have a place of their own. In our Creativity Workshops it was strongly stressed that everyone needed his or her sacred space, even if it could only be the corner of a room. One's spouse has to knock before entering, and the choice of paint and furnishings is entirely the owner's. Since our children have left home I have what was my son's bedroom. Its an attic room with a beautiful view, high above the street, very much the feel of working in a tower. I have my computer there, my library, the keyboard and music stand to help my singing, a Tarot table and an "altar" for candles and incense. I've painted it in peach and burgundy - its exactly me, and my wife doesn't have to like it. :) Its been very liberating - Igraine has a good idea going for herself.


The industrius, lovely Igraine...


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