COTD – Queen of Pentacles/Stones (DruidCraft & Wildwood)

 

I’ve always had a lot of affection for the Queen of Pentacles.  I find her earthy and solid approach to life very appealing.  She reminds me of the practical woman who deals with crises by picking herself up, dusting herself off and doing what needs to be done.  She’s at home in her skin and her space and knows how to take the necessary steps to achieve her goals and manifest her desires.  She can also, as suggested by the Bear on the Wildwood Queen of Stones, be fiercely protective of her territory and her young.  She will leave you alone as long as you don’t both her but cross her or invade her home turf and you’ll have a fierce battle on your hands.  Bears are also known to hibernate during the colder months.  In some cases bears give birth while hibernating.  This suggests that it is possible to incubate various ideas and projects eventually manifesting them when the time is right, even if I don’t realize it at the time.

I’m interpreting the Queen of Pentacles as a positive omen today for a few reasons.  The first is that I’m meeting a friend who happens to be a Virgo and has some pretty powerful Queen of Pentacles energy (very practical, organized and no-nonsense).  She’s also treating me to lunch as a birthday gift so she’s the bountiful, beneficent one sharing her gifts.  I also happened to get my Gaian Tarot today – a very earthy, full-bodied and realistic deck showing people of all shapes, sizes and colors in setting both natural and beautiful and created by a Capricorn with very strong Queen of Pentacles energy.  I manifested the Queen of Pentacles today by shopping at a local green market and just experiencing the gorgeous, rich and earthy aromas as well as enjoying some very earthy humor with one of the vendors.  I chose two beautiful heads of lettuce, some rainbow chard and several herbs.  I’m actually quite proud of myself because I made my first batch of pesto yesterday – quite a Queen of Pentacles type of thing to do.  And tomorrow I want to make some more tasty sauces (like a spicy chimichurri) and toss some fabulous salads.  My Capricorn mother is coming up tonight, more Queen of Pentacles energy.

My friend and I also used the Vision spread from Catherine of the Tarot Elements blog to help us work towards manifesting our goals.  It was interesting to see what cards we each selected and where there was overlap.  In some respects we complement each other and in others we enable.  It did allow me to see a snapshot of some things in Tarot form that I knew but preferred to avoid addressing.  It also became clear that passion and manifestation are inextricably intertwined for me right now.  Whatever I want to manifest in my life must be something about which I am passionate.  I also need to take practical, concrete steps to manifest abundance and prosperity in my life.  These are things I know and this spread helped me clarify some of the issues that have been preventing me from moving forward.  I’ll have to make sure I revisit this reading in the future to ensure I’m moving in the right direction.

COTD – The Empress (Dreams & Ferret)

 

The Empress is the 3rd card in the Major Arcana.  She is a symbol of feminine strength and power.  She represents the power of creativity, fertility and abundance.  She is an especially powerful symbol for females – showing that women don’t need to act masculine in order to be strong.

“Positive:  It’s appropriate or even necessary to be involved with healing and nurturing now.  You have the strength and awareness to protect or heal yourself or others.  Go ahead and do it.
Upright:  You are nurturing someone else.  The nurturing can take a very obvious or tangible form.  This could involve giving a massage, holding someone, bringing over chicken soup, or leaving someone alone if that’s what she needs.  it could also take the form of giving someone loving energy in an intangible form.  The card implies that you are aware of what she needs and able to give it to her.” – Gail Fairfield

As I looked at this card today and considered its message, I realized something.  I have been embodying a number of Empress traits lately.  The trick was realizing it.  I usually consider the Empress as an archetypal representation of “feminine power”.  She does symbolize fertility, creativity, abundance, etc.  However she also embodies nurturing, caring, and mothering.  Now granted, in the past those words would have sent me screaming in the other direction.  I’ve spent most of my life avoiding situations that required even the least bit of these traits from me.  But over the last 2 years my mother-in-law’s declining mental state has put me in the role of mothering her.

I have had to care for her in such personal and intimate ways that there is almost no privacy between us.  The questions I’ve been forced to ask her in order to ensure she is okay passed the boundaries of decency a long time ago.  And as I was helping her with a personal hygiene task yesterday it hit me – this is another aspect of The Empress.  She is not only about producing, creating and giving birth, she is also about tending the sick and nurturing the elderly in their final years.  She is about cleaning up the shit and taking out the trash.  She is about moving passed our revulsion to certain tasks and just doing them because someone has to do them.

The Empress is the archetypal mother – the one who wipes your nose, your ass and wherever else you need to be wiped when you can’t do it and doesn’t hold it against you the next day.  She may not be happy about doing them but she realizes that if she doesn’t, no one else will.  I realize these traits aren’t exclusively feminine in nature (gods know my hubby has been forced to do a lot of the same tasks I have for his mother) but they are traditionally associated with women.  How many men can watch someone get seriously hurt during a sports event and not blink twice.  Ask that same man to change a baby’s diaper and the gagging and revulsion with be epic.

I suppose I’ve avoided seeing myself in this light because my associations with mothering and a traditionally feminine role have not been very positive.  Many of the women I grew up around who were stay-at-home moms did not seem to have much power in the family dynamic.  They were often at the mercy of their husband who was the family breadwinner as thus felt he had absolute control over how and where money was spent as well as having final say on other family matters.  It didn’t occur to me until I got older than many of these relationships were abusive.  It wasn’t until I started seeing more balance and healthy marital relationships that I realized there is equal power in a healthy marriage and family but both partners have to work for it.  It is just as easy for the stay-at-home mother to turn the children against the father who is out working all day as it is for the breadwinning father to treat the wife & mother as if she has no power or authority.

After spending years avoiding The Empress’ sphere of influence, life has forced me to dive into the deep end.  And I”m realizing that there is a deep, soul-satisfying level of accomplishment that comes from being able to help others this way.  It might not garner me accolades and praise from the rest of the world but as long as I know I’m doing the right thing, I can carry that level of satisfaction and deep knowledge that I am doing the right thing with me always.

COTD – The Empress (Dreams & Ferret)

 

The Empress is the 3rd card in the Major Arcana.  She is a symbol of feminine strength and power.  She represents the power of creativity, fertility and abundance.  She is an especially powerful symbol for females – showing that women don’t need to act masculine in order to be strong.

“Positive:  It’s appropriate or even necessary to be involved with healing and nurturing now.  You have the strength and awareness to protect or heal yourself or others.  Go ahead and do it.
Upright:  You are nurturing someone else.  The nurturing can take a very obvious or tangible form.  This could involve giving a massage, holding someone, bringing over chicken soup, or leaving someone alone if that’s what she needs.  it could also take the form of giving someone loving energy in an intangible form.  The card implies that you are aware of what she needs and able to give it to her.” – Gail Fairfield

As usual for me, the appearance of The Empress made me cringe just a bit.  I have become more comfortable with her but there are times when I really don’t feel I connect with her energy.  I just don’t see myself as maternal.  My energies and personality are not the type traditionally associated with The Empress.  I have a much more aggressive, even combative approach to life.  I have come to appreciate the benefits of a more Empress-like approach to life but haven’t been very successful actually implementing that approach in my own life.  Who knows, perhaps that is the lesson I need to learn in this lifetime.

Of course the ironic thing is that much of my day-to-day life lately is nothing but nurturing and caring for an elderly mom-in-law.  In many ways, I have become the mother in this relationship.  I am not especially happy with the situation but I felt that I owed it to her after all she has done for us.  One of the things I am finding interesting is the realization that one of my biggest problem with the Empress’ sphere of influence is that it doesn’t offer much in the way of external validation.  It’s not like working outside the home or attending school – there are no professional evaluations or grades offered.  You have to trust that you are doing things the best you can and that you are making a difference.  Sometimes you might receive some words of thanks for recognition from friends or relatives who are familiar with the situation but for the most part this really is a case of being an unsung hero.

I know many books, articles and probably even doctoral theses have been written on the topic of how our society devalues traditionally feminine traits and qualities.  Everyone actually needs them and benefits from them but few take the time to offer recognition and acknowledgement for the services rendered.  How often do we see situations like that of Betty Broderick – a woman who supported her husband while he was in school and building his career only to be supplanted by a trophy wife once he actually achieved his goal.  Her response (killing the hubby and his new wife) might have been over the top but I think on some level, many of us understood what drove her even if we did not condone her actions.  On The Simpsons, Marge’s efforts and contributions are often ignored, devalued and mocked by her husband and children.  Although her enabling and over-protectiveness often contribute to the madness, and she is sometimes given the opportunity to show her strength and power in the family, she is sometimes portrayed as an object of derision.  How often do mothers sacrifice their personal ambitions and dreams for the good of their children and family only to be ignored, unappreciated, pitied, mocked or even reviled by the children.

When I consider things from the larger perspective I realize it’s not the Empress and her energies that I dislike, it’s the fact that they are so devalued by society.  My own issues have created a desire to be on the side of the winner or authority figure.  It’s my method of self-protection.  If I’m not connected with the weaker or less powerful side, then I feel safe.  It’s no surprise the I was raised in a family where my father was the dominant, domineering and bullying authority figure.  My mother was often there to offer love and support but she was essentially powerless in that equation.  My need to avoid being in that position has unfortunately also translated into my avoiding the Empress energies as well.  In so doing, I’ve denied myself the joys and pleasures of expressing that side of myself.

If nothing else, the current care-taking and nurturing experiences I’ve been forced to explore are opening me up to another side of myself.  I may never find myself being totally at home with The Empress and her nurturing, abundant and supportive energies but I am learning to embrace them.  I’m growing a bit more comfortable with them and find it a bit of a challenge, but then again I’ve always enjoyed a challenge.  The images on both these cards offer a sense of a giving, nurturing and healing nature.  I know that those aspects are part of me – I’m just very wary of showing them because I’m afraid of taken advantage of or being exploited.  It is very scary for me to be that open and giving.  However if I’m honest with myself, all my tough gal posturing is merely protective covering.  And I’m not sure I actually fool anyone, certainly not those who truly know me.  Maybe I just need to be more accepting and realize that I’m not helping myself by denying or hiding this aspect of my nature.  I need to embrace my inner and outer Empress.