Queering the Queens and Kings of any suit gets a little bit tricky, and is in fact where a lot of students get caught up on their own path to learning tarot. The Tarot, based on card order and the descriptions of the cards, does seem to take an incredibly dated approach to these cards. The King is the head of the suit, the Queen follows close behind but doesn’t quite tap into that ultimate power. Furthermore, queens are usually seen as the more emotional of the two, though more in depth thought and knowing actual humans we ascribe to cards undoes that a bit. So when I teach tarot, I teach three things to help us get around those trappings. The first is to learn these cards as energies, events, and pieces of advice first. THEN you can go back and add elements of humanity and ascribe them to people. Two, if students are only ascribing women to queens and men to kings, I make them scrap it and start over, using only non-binary or opposite gender people that they know (or know of really well) to “assign” to each card. Finally, once we have four different ways to read the card and less gendered ideas of who represents each card, I ask them to look and see if they still think the King is the head of every suit.
In the case of the Wands, the answer is usually no. I firmly believe in the Queen as the head of this suit, and maybe that’s queer enough but we’ll get into more queerness in a bit. The Queen of Wands is fire itself, determined, dominant, and demanding. A great leader with a lot of compassion and passion for change, but a fierce punch in the gut if you’re part of the problem they’re trying to fix. As an energy, this is determination and dominance. As advice this card tells you to plow ahead no matter what, being as bold and take-charge as you need to be to accomplish your goal. As an event, you should welcome and relish opportunities for leadership or to take the reigns. The queen is not all fire and vigor. They’re usually an extroverted energy, gregarious and generous. “Queen bees” of all genders who are actually kind often have this Queen of Wands energy, and real life Queens of Wands are some of my favorite people on the planet. This Queen is busy and active and loves to hustle. As a result they’re popular and in demand, but will make time for everything and everyone that’s important to them. The Queen of Wands is also stubbornness, and will resort to deception or flat out bullying to win once they’ve dug their fabulous heels in. While those are technically considered shortcomings, I usually admire their work and drive even in these instances. This energy IS fire and so it’s also a quick temper, passion that moves and changes easily, and sex.
Which brings us to our first segment on further queering this card. This card is sex. It’s also dominance. I’ve read for straight women and a few men hitting an unexpected sexual peak later in life who this card comes up for, but I see it most often for sexual minorities hitting those same peaks. This is a time when you don’t want to settle down, and your primary objective is sex. This card is a positive card, so that’s great. Go, spread your fire (but be safe) when the Queen of Wands comes up for you. If this card comes up repeatedly, it’s time to look at that dominant side of your personality that you probably aren’t using in the bedroom the way you could be. There are either tangible skills that go into being a dominant or an actual acknowledgment and grabbing of that energy that you haven’t reckoned with, but this card in a reading about relationships or sex is urging you to grab on to that (or to learn those skills if you’re ready). This card represents a high sex drive, but it also represents having a lot of fire and passion to give beyond just sex. If that is the case, if you’re repeatedly getting this card about love or relationships, it may be time to look at non-monogamous options in your personal life as well. It’s 2017 and when we find compatible partners, relationships can look like anything we want them too. You don’t have to give your whole self to one person if that isn’t something you are capable of, believe in, or are able to do without overwhelming and wearing out that person.
The other major use of the Queen of Wands ties back to issues of creating change and furthering social justice movements that this whole suit addresses. These natural leaders are often brilliant community organizers and genius strategists. They might not have thrown the first brick at Stonewall, but they did lead and organize the ensuing riot. They’re not Knights, they’re not fighters, but without a Queen of Cups sitting at the helm, you’re likely not going to get much done. If you’re repeatedly getting the Queen of Wands, it’s probably time to pick a cause and get cracking, either developing an organization where there wasn’t one, or stepping into a leadership position in an existing situation.
The Queen of Wands can come up easily next to the Ten of Wands, our card of burnout and overwork, when I’m reading for activists. This happens almost weekly. The Queen loves to be busy and is stubborn, so they will often ignore their own limits and boundaries to accomplish change and then end up collapsing in exhaustion and irritation. For extroverts like this Queen, this is an easy fix—a night out with friends where the work and the collective are not points of conversation. In truth these queens like anything sensual, so a night of dancing, good wine, and gossip in a queer setting will get you right back on your feet. Sometimes we are legitimately burnt out and need to rest though, so look closely at your other cards to make sure that’s not being overlooked.
Finally, if this card IS fire, (and it is), than that means this card is gut instinct. As queer people, we often spend a lot of time denying our own truths, usually for more years than we’ve been trying to live in those truths. Which means even if we are the most out and proud person that ever existed currently, we spent so much time denying what our gut was screaming at us that things like “change jobs,” “move to Ohio,” or, hell, “start eating better” sitting in that instinct get shut down and overlooked. We don’t know to trust this feeling. We don’t know to trust ourselves. This Queen lives and thrives in that instinct and urges you to do the same. When there are decisions to make, take some incredibly deep, long breathes, and then do a body check. How do you feel physically? Where do you need to pay more attention to yourself? Finally, what is the answer that question that’s been bugging you? It’s in there.
Be sure to check out the full Queering the Tarot series.