A warm heart beats, often imperceptibly, beneath the pristine blankets of frost that make up the matriarch of the House of Swords; the pointedly regal and cuttingly tragic Queen of Swords. She is isolated in her pain, patiently counting the days in her icy tower, waiting for the gold of the sun to touch her spires once again. In many ways, she is the most admirable figure in the House of Swords but her unwavering devotion to perfection has elevated her far from the reach of other humans.
Haunted by Past Joy
We’ve seen the Queen of Swords before, head held high while demanding no less than perfection from the mystic in the Three of Pentacles. But the Queen of Swords’ personal card finds her in the privacy of her ice tower where she spends her days and nights alone, lost in thoughts of past joys that eventually withered and died in a winter that she alone was strong enough to withstand. These phantom joys of distant days are represented in a cloud of ghost hummingbirds that follows the Queen of Swords wherever she goes. In Native American mythology, hummingbirds are a symbol of happiness. Behind the queen stands a giant ice sculpture of herself in a state of blissful maidenhood; the water of her emotions made hard and cold by the bitter winds of her thoughts to create a constant reminder of a past forever gone. This is not to say that the Queen of Swords is beyond hope. In fact, she has faith that someday she will find the sun again and thaw out the years of solid ice. But she knows not when that day will come and thus she patiently waits in her frozen chamber, musing on her failures while continuing to genuflect to her ideals of perfection.
The Unforgiving Ice Tower of the Queen of Swords
This image shows the Queen of Swords without legs, instead propelled forward by a skirt of iron blades. She wields a sword with a metallic feather handle in tribute to the element of air and a guard comprised of a royal purple heart wrapped in loops of barbwire. Razor blades are woven into her hair and her crown of swords features bands of razor wire. The unnatural blue roses that line her window have their thorns further augmented by barbwire. She lives in a world of unrelenting sharpness. Yet, even with her eyelashes ending in blades and daggers lining her eyes, there isn’t a single scratch marring the perfection of her pale, frost-kissed skin.
The Lonely Heights of Perfection
Sadly, it is her ideals of perfection that continue to tie her to an eternal winter. It’s not so much the lowering of standards or the relaxing of boundaries that the Queen of Swords must embrace to release her from her self-flagellating nostalgia. Rather it’s an acceptance of the imperfections of humanity, including herself. Currently, the Queen of Swords lives in a reality that accepts no human flaws. It’s left her deeply respected and admired but ultimately alone. She has constructed heights that are impossible to meet and made herself at home in them. But in so doing, she is constantly subjecting herself to a pressure she can’t withstand forever. The Queen of Swords is a human that refuses to accept the flaws so inherent of the human experience. Thus she is seen with her feathered sword directed at her own perfect reflection; a focused point meeting a focused point…unable to gain any ground. The only way for the Queen of Swords to move out of the ice is to embrace the inevitable shortcomings of others and, in so doing, embrace her own shortcomings. Lofty ideals are fine but mistakes will be made. A world that won’t allow for mistakes is a very small world and one that will only continue to get smaller.
The sun is further blocked out of the Queen of Swords’ ice chambers by stained glass windows with primitive designs alluding to crying eyes; a reminder of her somber loneliness and cold, scrutinizing gaze. The borders of the Queen of Swords card feature inward facing swords, echoing her inability to forgive the flaws of others and thus herself. The royal purple heart kept isolated in wreaths of barbwire also appears in the borders.