“Oh, you are such a Queen of Swords!” I spontaneously said that phrase at a girls’ dinner the other night. My friend was being witty, assertive, and logical, qualities I associate with this airy Queen. The Queens are our mothers and friends in the tarot court. They each have their unique way of teaching us about the different facets of our own personality, and how to best deal with any given situation. Tarot Queens can help us see our strong points and our weaknesses. They can help us integrate our opposites, helping us in our Individuation process. But what is the Individuation process, and why is it so important? To answer that, we need to scoot over to make room for another person at the dinner table, none other than Mr. Carl Gustav Jung!
What is Individuation?
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist who pioneered, amongst other concepts, dream analysis, the collective unconscious, the archetypes, and synchronicity. He was fascinated by mythology, symbology, anthropology, alchemy, astrology, and world religions.
Jung noticed that his patients were having highly symbolic and religious dreams, even amongst his very rational and non-religious patients. These dreams, when understood, were real eye-openers for his patients and could cure mental illnesses.
In Jung’s view, our common life goal is to become a well-rounded, whole person. We do this by accepting and integrating the opposites within us, and not trying to stuff our “bad” or “shadowy” side into our unconscious, never to see the light of day again. We must face our fears, our flaws, our bad memories. We have to deal with our historical baggage – ignoring it will only come and bite us in the butt -, integrate all facets of our personality. This is called the Individuation process.
Tarot and Individuation
How can Tarot help us in our Individuation so that we become more well-rounded people? One way to do this is to make us recognize our four fundamental functions. What is a function? It is the way we see and assimilate what is presented to us in the outside world.
Jung explains that there are four different function types:
- thinking (T)
- feeling (F)
- intuition (N)
Four types, four elements, and four tarot suits – it didn’t take long for tarotists to see the connection and make the correspondences! (Jung was also the one to set forth the idea of Introversion (I) and Extraversion (E), which we could talk about in another post.)
Curious as to what function types you fit in? Go check out this unofficial test at HumanMetrics, (The official test has hundreds of questions to answer, and has to be administered by a professional.) It is directly inspired by Jung’s function types. Write out which types (four letters) came out for you, we’ll need it for an exercise later on.
Marrying the Correspondences
We can associate the Thinking (T) type to the suit of Swords. The thinking type uses its airy intellectual capacities and is very logical. They are usually practical, have rigid principles, and are appreciated in the professional realm (and less in their personal lives). For our work here today, this corresponds to the Queen of Swords.
The Feeling (F) type can be associated with the Wands. The fiery feeling types use their feelings and emotional responses to make a like-dislike judgment. They can plunge headfirst into a project that has touched their heart. They are very colorful, expressive, and usually talk with their hands. This corresponds to the Queen of Wands.
The Thinking (T) and Feeling (F) types are associated with Judgment (J). They take the information, evaluate it, and make a rational judgment. They help us make a decision, based on right or wrong (Swords), or like or dislike (Wands). They are also more active and masculine, which corresponds well to the air of the Swords and the fire of the Wands.
The Sensation (S) can be associated with the Pentacles. Persons of this type use their senses to perceive reality. They don’t make an evaluation or judgment. They just state what things are. This is the most down-to-earth of the types. They are also great company because they are easily adaptable and laid back. They are usually sharp dressers too!
The Intuition (N) type can be associated with the Cups and water. This type makes use of “inner perception” or sixth sense to see reality. They are the dreamers and visionaries and are great at having a feel for what the next big thing will be. They see the big picture and are not interested in the minute details. They are sometimes loners because their vision of this world is off the beaten path.
Sensation (S) and Intuition (N) are associated with being perceptive (P). They do not appeal to a rational judgment; they simply and thoroughly perceive reality (they make great eyewitnesses!). They are also more passive and feminine, which corresponds well to the earth of the Pentacles and water of the Cups.
How the Tarot Queens can Help You See Yourself More Clearly
We all have one or two favorite ways of seeing things, be it with clarifying thinking Swords, or empathic intuitive Cups. We also have one function that we are not comfortable with. If you’re like me, this can get us stuck in favoring a way of reading the cards, as we are used to dealing with situations in the same way.
How about an exercise to help us wear different hats, and see the cards with the four different function types?
In this exercise, we will ask the Queens for advice to get a better, full view of the situation we are dealing with. Start by taking the four Queens out of your favorite deck, and placing them in a diamond-shaped pattern. Shuffle the remaining cards while asking the tarot:
What do I need to integrate into my life, on my path towards Individuation?
Randomly pick one card and place it in the center of your diamond shape. Then, ask yourself:
- What is the intellectual and logical Queen of Swords seeing?
- What is the fiery spontaneous response of the Queen of Wands?
- How can the deep intuition of the Queen of Cups guide me?
- How can the Queen of Pentacles help me patiently see the message that’s right under my nose?
Now, look at the results from your test linked to this article. You will have four letters. For this exercise, you only need to pay attention to the two letters in the middle. For example, I am ENFP, Which means I will use NF to determine that I resemble the Queen of Cups (N) and the Queen of Wands (F). You can even know which type is strongest, with the percentage given on the bottom of the letters.
The goal of the process of Individuation is to be able to integrate opposites: The light and the shadow, the thinking with the feeling, the intuitive with the sensation. A totally individuated person, in theory, could utilize all these functions types found in the four Queens before, say, making a big decision.
Find the Queen that scored the lowest on the test, the Queen that is the opposite of how you see yourself. How about trying to understand her a bit more? You could meditate on this Queen. Looking at the card, see what feelings or thoughts come up. Does a color stand out? an element? How do you think she feels? Do you connect with her? Does she bother you? Why?
Another exercise you could do is to create a spread. With your chosen Queen as the significator, you could ask questions like:
How does this Queen resemble me? How are we different? What is this Queen trying to teach me about myself? What part of myself am I hiding?
Use your questions as the spread positions around the Queen, like the spread above. This helps to highlight the symbols, patterns, and interactions between the cards.
Author’s Bio: Beryl Carington has been working in the best essay service for more than 5 years. She believes in stones’ magic power. She makes all-important decisions with her astrologer. Beryl is interested in films, enjoys traveling and meditation.
- About Tarot Queens and Their Meanings
- Using Tarot to Interpret Your Dreams
- Tarot Symbols for Decision Making