Quantum - the Queen Swords


This card is subtitled Cassiopeia, and I vividly remember an intense evening writing about her daughter, Andromeda, in the Queen Cups. Until right at this very moment I never really thought about the implications of that before although I've spent a lot of time with this deck: Love (the Queen Cups) doesn't exist at all until Thought (the Queen Swords) gives birth to it. That's starting to sound very Israel Regardie to me - I'm going to have to pull out his GD deck after I finish writing this, and comparing those two cards in the two decks.

And here I am, before I even get started, distracting myself! <laughter>.

Cassiopoeia was a mortal queen, vain enough to believe that she was lovelier than the immortals. In particular, she targeted sea-spirits, claiming she was lovelier than them, which of course got the sea-god off-side. To appease him, she offered him the life of her daughter Andromeda, chained to a rock for a sea-monster to consume, and it was only a fluke that a Hero happened to be passing by at the right time to rescue her. As it happened he did, and Andromeda agreeably settled on him as a husband. Cassiopeia couldn't let it rest even then - she had to stick her oar in and try to sabotage the wedding, upon which Perseus produced the head of the dead Medusa (which must have become pretty ripe by then) and turned Cassie and the rest of the wedding-party to stone.

Andromeda's annoying me all over again: she's sitting and watching all this happen passively, neither trying to help her mother, nor taking part in this cruel revenge against the woman. You've got to wonder if she kept the statuary.

Cassiopeia was all about vanity. The whole train of events, the sacrifice of her daugher, the subsequent wedding that grew out of that, her meddling with the wedding, and her subsequent ossification, all of this grew as a series of consequences-upon-consequences of boasting about her physical beauty, and refusing to back down. Even when her daughter's life was at stake, she refused to back down.

When I discussed the Queen Cups, I think I said something like "The mother-daughter conversation when they were dressing for the wedding must have been interesting". What happened in that conversation? Did Andromeda finally say: "I had to, he was the only fat, smelly hero around at the time, if I hadn't pretended to love him he would have left me there for the monster to eat"? Or did she say "Mum, what the hell were you thinking, I don't ever want to see you again"? If the former, perhaps Cassie tried to sabotage the wedding to release her daughter, finally doing too little, too late, to protect her child. If the latter, perhaps she really did turn into the howling fury history thinks of her as.

Medusa's role is interesting. It is only when Cassiopoeia sees something really repellent - a festering, rotting, maggot-ridden head with some dead snakes hanging off it - that she freezes, appalled, and loses the power to act in accordance with her will. Up until then, she has truly been a Queen Swords, with her head controlling her heart, albeit a fairly negative one as far as her daughter was concerned. Does Medusa remind her of her own mortality? Or the head ringed with snakes show her that a cold beauty is worse than no beauty at all?

The card shows us a woman in profile, shadowy, backgrounded behind a sword, a swirl of light, a star-map, and a night sky. Her face does not look harsh and cruel to me - it looks sad, perhaps grim. Yes she has done some dreadful things - but she has had appalling things done to her or to her family members. Does she feel regret? As a Queen Swords we will never know: the most she will show is her grimness and her sadness. Her private feelings are most private, as in all Queen Swords types.

Depending on the angle you take, the star-map of hte constellation can look like a woman on her knees, in a posture of pleading or mortification. She is not an ice-queen, but her dignity is important enough to her, that she is not going to "make a fool of herself" by weeping in public, or by reversing her decisions - even bad ones - at any time. Her very integrity and strength of discipline is what eventually brings her undone.