Guest Author - Christin Sander
One thing I love about the traditional Tarot is that it highlights the strongest traits and archetypes of both genders. Women in the Tarot are strong and complementary to their male counterparts, not submissive or somehow downplayed. In terms of spirituality, all of us have masculine and feminine traits in varying degrees. It is what makes us well-rounded and whole. Feminine energy is most often associated with nurturing, support, creativity, and psychic awareness and empathy. Masculine energy tends to be depicted as more analytical, disciplined, orderly and methodical. Think of Tarot in terms of yin and yang - masculine and feminine are both required to form the whole and both are of equal importance.
Here are some of the traditional female archetypes of the Tarot and their general meanings.
The Major Arcana
The Priestess: This is the wise woman, one who is able to overcome her emotions and see to the truth in the matter. She remains deeply feeling and empathetic, but is able to detach from her emotions enough to see the truth and gain wisdom from situations. She is often depicted as sitting between two opposing pillars. It represents her ability to take the "middle path" and not get sucked into polarities. She holds the book of wisdom on her lap which symbolizes the ability to become one with our higher selves, the universe, divine guidance or however you choose to view that source of higher knowing and awareness. She is psychic and deeply intuitive.
The Empress: This is the traditional card of the matriarch. She represents fertility, pregnancy, motherhood, simple abundance, nurturing and also creativity. Symbolically she often appears when we are experiencing an abundance of creative thought or energies that want to "be born" into the world. Her card is a softer feminine energy, nurturing, and giving life. She is often depicted with a cornucopia flowing with abundance and is often seen to be pregnant. She speaks of abundance in all its forms and focusing on our ability to co-create our destiny.
The Moon: This card speaks of deep emotions, psychic energy and sometimes delves more into the dark side of the subconscious, fears, and other things that can overwhelm the emotions. Moon energy is deeply penetrating, seeing beyond the surface down into the depths of consciousness. It can represent both illumination (a light through the dark path) and darkness simultaneously depending on its context. It often comes up around complex emotional issues and turbulence where we are challenged to go beyond our initial responses and dig deeper into our consciousness to uncover our truths.
The queens all speak of leadership and taking initiative in some way. Queen of Wands tends to be someone who is charming, a good planner but not necessarily the best organized. Wands are the suit of passion, enthusiasm, beginnings, ideas. Fire is the wands element and so when we think of the Queen of Wands we think of someone fiery, witty, enthusiastic, and passionate. She is a natural charmer who can persuade and communicate well. Often outgoing, she can talk to anyone and makes friends easily.
The Queen of Cups is your Scorpio and represents the element of Water. A deep love of the mysterious and unknown, highly emotional and deeply intuitive and empathic. This is a woman who has a natural gut instinct and uncanny ability to see through to the heart of a matter. Passionate and able to appeal
to the emotions of others. This queen tends to come up around those who use their creative sides to serve others or deliver compelling messages that people will absorb and take to heart.
Queen of Swords is your all business woman who is very motivated, determined and unstoppable. She will sacrifice that which no longer serves her growth and she grows through a willingness to be disciplined and dogged in her efforts. Swords people are active, they don't waste time and will spring into action. Sometimes prone to being a bit too hasty, this queen can sometimes have a sharp tongue or be very critical - typically because she's equally demanding of herself. This woman is a go-getter who is highly intelligent and knows how to get what she wants. More analytical and strategic in her approach than emotional or intuitive.
The Queen of Pentacles (Coins) is someone who is a skilled negotiator, very good at managing her time and resources and someone who is very generous. This is not someone who has to have credit for everything, she includes others and recognizes their value. That makes this queen a natural when it comes to managing people, negotiations, or any area where communication can help bridge gaps in understanding. This queen is very motivated and driven, but she also is motivated by a need to be of service and is motivated by a desire to help others help themselves.
In some decks the pages are represented by females as well. Most often pages are seen as sort of neutral and can be either gender, yet in other decks they are portrayed as decidedly feminine. Pages regardless speak of learning opportunities, keeping an open mind and looking for new solutions. They are always depicted as youthful, having the blessings and the challenges that come with youth.
Sometimes they speak of fresh minds that haven't been jaded yet and other times they speak of too much idealism that hasn't yet been tempered by reality. Either way, pages are typically viewed as highly creative (a feminine trait)
As you can see, feminine energy plays a very strong role in Tarot. There are also whole decks devoted solely to feminine archetypes. The Goddess Tarot comes to mind.