QUEEN OF SWORDS you will die

Placement: The Minor Arcana


A queen on a silver throne holds a sword in one hand, and in many decks she extends her other hand forward. Sometimes her crown is made of butterflies, which is impressive because the background landscape is often blustery, and butterflies are not known to withstand windstorms. That being said, butterflies are known to do splendidly well in sword duels.


Right side up:

Queen of Swords was a short-lived Canada/Spain/UK co-production adventure television series. Viewers were led to believe that the title refers to the show’s protagonist, Tessa, a heroine who fights injustice in 19th century California, employing her skill with a blade and the anonymity of a mask. However, the name of the series refers to the tarot card, which appeared when one of the producers did a reading. He thought it was a good omen, considering the premise of the show. The Queen of Swords card, however, is about honesty. Sneaking around in a mask, even to stab people with whom you disagree, is generally considered dishonest.

Upright, this card indicates a need to play by the rules. She is far more of a clinical referee than a swashbuckler, but she is a fencing master in her own right and not one to be trifled with. If this card is referring not to you but to someone else who has influence over your life, listen to that person. She has the knowledge, experience and clearheadedness to guide you. She is fast and thorough and sharp as a tack.

Her experience may have come at a price, however. She is traditionally believed to be a widow, and since she is part of the court of the Swords suit, she likely lost her spouse through violence. In some interpretations, her empty hand is waving goodbye, just as investors did to the series Queen of Swords when it was cancelled in its first season.


Upside down:

The Queen of Swords reversed indicates a bitterness and jadedness that experience may inspire. Unlike her upright counterpart, she assigns blame. She is wrath personified, her head muddied by hatred for the injustices in her life and the world. Finding Queen of Swords reversed in your spread may indicate a need to let go, acknowledge your pain, keep a dream journal, take a bubble bath, meditate, share inspiring memes about positivity or toxic people, run off to a mountaineering retreat to find yourself, with the barista from that café near your workplace, the person with the dreads, you know, the one who has the ironic Mr. Peanut pendant and gets your name right up to 72 percent of the time.


Classic Queen of Swords deaths:

  • Looked upon with daggers
  • Botched sword-swallowing act
  • Slashed at a Red Wedding
  • Coming between a Nazgul and his prey
  • Frozen in place by the icy glare of an animated singing antiheroine
  • Mistaken for a vampire in the wooden stakes aisle of a hardware store
  • As a strategic move. Not yours.
  • Skewered like a weenie at a campfire
  • Stung by the queen of any eusocial insect species, but probably a hornet because hornets are the absolute worst.