The Wild Unknown Tarot - Mother of Cups

Sulis

Against a black background we see a beautiful white swan. She faces towards the left so we see her in profile. Her wings are outstretched in front of her and below her wings is a crystal goblet, not unlike the one in the Ace of Cups. In the darkness are small, multi-coloured star-shaped sparkles. Those and her orange beak are the only colours in the card.

She looks like a sorceress casting a spell or a priestess or witch scrying in the goblet. She could be enchanting a potion or she could be gazing into the depths to gain hidden knowledge.
She also looks as if she could be protecting the cup and guarding it so the thought of protecting one's emotions or one's inner feelings comes to mind.
There is something very mysterious about swans - I'm thinking of fairy tales like 'The 12 Swans' or 'The Swan Princess' that was later made into the ballet 'Swan Lake'... In tales like those princesses are often transformed into swans whilst under a spell or enchantment..

The Queen (or Mother) of Cups is Water of Water.. She has a deep understanding of her element, Water. Water represents feelings, relationships and also the unconscious or subconscious, the world of dreams and of things deep and unknown.
This lady understands those things. She is in tune with her emotions and also in tune with the psychic world of dreams and magic.
The fact that she is facing the left makes me think of either the past or of inner things - meditation etc..

So in a reading she could represent the need to really try to understand how the querant is feeling, she could represent a woman who is mysterious and high priestess-like or just someone who understands something on an emotional level or is trying to understand something on an emotional level.
She advises us to take notice of our dreams and our intuition and she also advises us to open ourselves up to our feelings and to look within. I've also had this card appear to represent the need for the use of magic, visualisation, divination or scrying.

Any more thoughts are very welcome :).
 

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Sagefire

I have long associated the Queen of Cups with my sister, a very intuitive, very emotional Cancer with Scorpio moon... The first bird association in my head that I thought of was, "Mother Goose." Goose mammas are fiercely protective of their brood, and when they get emotionally violent they can be frightening! My mother and I often joke about how my sister is "mother" to us both...

When I first looked at this card I wasn't sure I liked the Swan association, I am still a little at odds with birds on cup cards but I am warming to it. :D I do like the kind of magical gesture it looks like her wing is doing, over the cup, like you mention Sulis, a spell or enchantment.

A quick wiki search revealed some cool info about Swans in Hindu mythology:
Swans are revered in Hinduism, and are compared to saintly persons whose chief characteristic is to be in the world without getting attached to it, just as a swan's feather does not get wet although it is in water. The Sanskrit word for swan is hamsa or hansa, and the "Raja Hansa" or the Royal Swan is the vehicle of Goddess Saraswati, and symbolises the "Sattwa Guna" or purity par excellence. The swan if offered a mixture of milk and water, is said to be able to drink the milk alone. Therefore Goddess Saraswati the goddess of knowledge is seen riding the swan because the swan thus symbolizes "Viveka" i.e. prudence and discrimination between the good and the bad or between the eternal and the transient. It is mentioned several times in the Vedic literature, and persons who have attained great spiritual capabilities are sometimes called Paramahamsa ("Great Swan") on account of their spiritual grace and ability to travel between various spiritual worlds.
 

Pixna

Thank you, Sulis and Sagefire, for your wisdom about this card. All that you said is very helpful to my understanding of it.

This queen/mother looks powerful and fierce while simultaneously being protective and nurturing -- qualities that seem to embody the essence of the swan. There are eleven sparklers/stars surrounding her, perhaps representative of the Strength card (since it's number XI in this deck).

As she is facing left, I immediately thought of her protecting memories -- a keeper of sacred history. I also like Sulis's interpretation of the swan "gazing into the depths to gain hidden knowledge" and that she "is in tune with her emotions and also in tune with the psychic world of dreams and magic."

Sagefire, your information about the swan and Hindu mythology is quite interesting. I especially appreciate knowing that the swan is "compared to saintly persons whose chief characteristic is to be in the world without getting attached to it, just as a swan's feather does not get wet although it is in water." Fascinating stuff!

The Mother of Swans' orange beak could imply that she doesn't mince words and is outspoken, will speak her mind, and stand up for those she protects whenever necessary. That she is standing, not sitting or swimming, seems to bolster her appearance of strength and fortitude -- she's making a statement that she will take a stand and do whatever she must to protect her brood (be they memories, emotions, family, friends, or anything else she considers to be precious).
 

Sagefire

I'm glad my words could be of assistance, Pixna. I am on the forums so inconsistently; it was nice to read your post and get a lovely review of this card! :heart:
 

Hash

Wow, you all did a great job breaking down this card. Sulis, I really appreciate your work on this study thread! The only thing that I would add to what has been said about this card is that it appears to me that the swan is pregnant. I think that fits in with the jeweled stars, crystal goblet and powerful stance of the swan to make this card overflow with abundance.

Also, does anyone who knows more about astrology know if the stars on the card are a particular constellation?
 

Sulis

I know nothing at all about astrology, sorry...

Thanks for pointing out that she seems to be pregnant though Hash.. I really hadn't noticed that but she certainly does look pregnant and I can see that meaning that there is abundance and maybe since it's a Cups card, an abundance of emotion which is an interpretation that I've seen before with the Queen of Cups - an emotional response to something..
 

Pixna

Swans (and any birds) don't get pregnant, as they aren't mammals. Birds lay eggs. This swan is either very well fed and obese (a sign of her great abundance) or she's hovering over her nest (the more likely scenario), which would fit with her innate desire to defend and protect. The colorful stars around her could be the spirits of her many offspring or those yet to come (perhaps of the eggs hidden in the nest).
 

Sulis

Swans (and any birds) don't get pregnant, as they aren't mammals. Birds lay eggs. This swan is either very well fed and obese (a sign of her great abundance) or she's hovering over her nest (the more likely scenario), which would fit with her innate desire to defend and protect. The colorful stars around her could be the spirits of her many offspring or those yet to come (perhaps of the eggs hidden in the nest).

You have a very good point there Pixna and that's probably why I didn't 'notice' that the swan was pregnant :laugh:
 

Hash

Okay, pregnancy is not the right word, but birds do swell up when they are carrying eggs. In fact, a swan's internal reproductive organs will swell up to ten times their normal size when they are in the mating season, which may be a better explanation for the swollen abdomen on this swan.
 

Pixna

Okay, pregnancy is not the right word, but birds do swell up when they are carrying eggs. In fact, a swan's internal reproductive organs will swell up to ten times their normal size when they are in the mating season, which may be a better explanation for the swollen abdomen on this swan.

I've never read or seen anything to that regard. In fact, what I've read is that it's not possible to tell when a bird is going to lay eggs just by looking at her. If you have documentation and photographs that show otherwise, please post them here, as that would aid in the interpretation of the card.