The Queen of Cups:
The Great Mother Intelligence on the Qabalistic Tree of Life is the 3rd Sephiroth-Binah, the Sphere of Understanding. She is the Sanctifying Intelligence and represented in the Queen of Cups, Binah is represented as the Queen of the Thrones of the Waters; Water being the flowing creativity of the Universal Collective Unconsciousness of the Universe; known as Imagination. Thus, if you are into the Elemental Mysteries, The Queen of Cups is the Queen of the Undines and Nymphs. Astrologically, the Queen of Cups is in the last Decan of Gemini and the first two Decans of Cancer. All of this is supported by both the Druid Craft Tarot and The Thoth Tarot-Queen of Cups.
The Druid Craft Tarot depicts a beautiful Celtic priestess, well dressed holding the "Grail" up to the Full Moon. The reflected light of the Moon, is white, and was considered by the ancients, as the "Mothers milk" that nurtured all life. Babylonians called the Moon "the boat of life". The ancients also believed that human souls came from and went back to the Moon. Making the Moon Goddess a psychopomp as well.
The Greek name Europa, from which the came the word, Europe, means "full Moon". Europa , was the former title of Hera, or lo, as the "white Moon Cow". Albion, the old name for Briton, means "white Moon" and refereed to the Goddess until the monk Gildas converted her into a fictitious male Saint Alban. A primal deity of Persian, was Al-Mah, the Moon. Later this name became the Hebraic, almah, "nubile woman": a word the Christians insisted on calling "virgin" when mentioning the mother of Jesus. The Latin alma mater, is yet another derivative of Al-Mah, and means "mother soul of the world". The Latin term for soul is anima.
The Celtic art of this card is stunning, even the serpent motif of the cape-collar represents the Moon. For the Great Red Serpent ( later the Great Red Dragon) represented the old Welsh god Dewi. Dewi (Devi) was a Water spirit, and was called "waterman".
The symbolics of the Druid Priestess placing her foot into the water, implies that she is connecting the "Above with the below", allowing souls to manifest on earth as they come from the Moon, as "living light" and are translated to the waters of motherhood.
If you are interested in knowing more, you can find the above and more in the Book, The Woman's Dictionary of Symbols & Sacred Objects by Barbara Walker.
The Thoth Queen of cups is Specific Water in the Realm of Primal Water. Here the "Will to Form" of Binah is "reflecting on consciousness", i.e. imagination. Crowley's card whose art was that of Lady Frieda Harris, shows this reflective nature in an abstract way. Here The Queen is enthroned on still Water, her image is of purity and beauty and is robed in veils of pure light. The Truth of her is not seen by the observer, who can only see themselves in reflection. Hence, she is again the Moon, whose true nature is obscured by light.
In her hand is a shell like cup with a crayfish climbing out of it, a symbol relating to the Moon and its reflective qualities. Truth being, one of the characteristics of this card is that like water (consciousness), the flow changes according to the influences around it. Shown on this card is also an Ibis in abstraction, Here, we see the influence of Thoth-Hermes, as the Ibis is a traditional Egyptian symbol of this Moon God. Thus again the Male and Female influences are never separate.
Chokmah, is often represented as Python, the First Husband, or as a snake or Serpent Force. In Mythology, the Ibis eats the eggs of the Snake, which relates to her "consuming the seeds of ideas" from Chokmah who is represented as Wisdom. However, the Ibis also consumes the corpses of the dead. This may seem contradictory, but the corpses of the dead are "Conscious seeds", personalities recycled so that data is consumed and recycled in the Universal Unconscious. Thus we have reference to the Great Sea of Binah (Universal Unconscious) from which life flows out, and also flows back into. Here also the Moon and the cycle of tides add to the image.
The Lotus is the Eastern Rose, and is the sacred flower related to Great Mother Isis an Egyptian form of Binah. Rather than through the touch of her hand, as the Queen of Wands is shown controlling the Leopard. The Queen of Cups uses the intermediary of the Lotus (Womb) to cause the Ibis to its work. The Tranquil waters, on which the Lotus float, are the means of force transmission.
The key characteristics to The Queen of cups, are dreaminess, illusion and tranquility. As is Water the perfect agent and patient solvent, the Queen of Cups, is able to receive and transmit everything without affecting herself in so doing. Hence, she is the Intelligence we call Imagination and what I like to call I-Magi-Nation.
If the Queen of Cups is caused to be ill dignified by the accompanying cards in a reading, then everything is refracted and distorted, as she is directly affected by surrounding influences.
When the Queen of Cups is thrown during a reading:
- The querent is showing issues surrounding motherhood
- Suggesting emotional empowerment, as the querent is able to express feelings honestly, blamelessly and without judgment.
- Implies too much imagination about issues and not enough action taken to solve them.
- Emotional and Intuitive capabilities that show highly evolved interpersonal interactions and psychic abilities.
- Implies the querent is extremely empathetic and thus must watch out for moodiness and fluctuating feelings.
- Suggests that one inspires from within and could be a time of deep inner musings, thoughts focused within where the mind is engulfed in Imagination.
- That a mature woman of deep sexual and fertility powers, where everything in her life is related to nourishment, sexual exchange, passionate giving and receiving maybe involved in the life of the querent or is the querent.
- Motherhood, or new ideas formulating for a creative line of work.
- An ethereal person of the highest ideals imagined...sometimes unattainably high in the physical world of constant change.