My mom was a big believer in all things mystical, especially tarot. When I was a kid, she was known in her small social circle for tarot readings. We’re not talking crystal balls and turbans — we’re talking a bunch of restaurant employees sitting around the coffee table after the late shift, smoking pot, drinking beer, and getting readings from a battered, well used and well loved Rider-Waite tarot deck. As a kid I thought it was pretty cool. As I got older and my relationship with my mom strained, I pretty much turned my back on all that mysticism. Mostly. There have been things that have happened over the years that I can’t rationally explain (I really must start writing those down), but I’ve mostly turned my back on the mystical, including tarot.

Fast forward 30+ years and I still avoid most mysticism, including tarot. But when discussing tattoo ideas to commemorate my mom, for some reason Zachary brought up the idea of tarot cards. And it was the perfect idea — especially considering I had just recently uncovered that Rider-Waite tarot deck, wrapped in a burgundy velvet bag and stuffed inside an old, empty cigar box that was in my mom’s things. As I inspected it, I saw that the deck was printed in 1971 — the year I was born. Cue the mystically eerie music.

If this were the movies, the director would cut to a dramatic but softly filmed scene of the daughter, in a tasteful and eclectic dining room, considering the tarot cards on the table in front of her. On her face is a look of melancholy and skepticism. Lighting a few candles while thoughtfully sipping from a (large) glass of red wine, the woman sits down slowly, never taking her eyes from the deck. A few minutes pass, and the woman’s expression changes from consideration, to interest, to resignation. Setting the glass of wine down, she slowly reaches towards the deck of cards. From memory she starts to turn them over in the classic Celtic Cross. The first card, the “this is you” card, is the Queen of Wands.

Great scene! But this isn’t the movies, and I don’t trust the universe to deliver up the perfect card to have inked into my body until the end of time. So I went through the deck, researched the meaning of all the cards, and found the perfect combination of “forever body art” and mystical meaning: The Queen of Wands.

Queen of Wands tarot card tattoo

The image depicted on the Queen of Wands card shows a queen sitting proudly on a throne decorated with lions facing opposing directions, which are symbols of fire and strength. She is holding a sunflower in her left hand, and the image of the sunflowers are also carved on the throne — meaning happiness, satisfaction, and fertility. (Is it coincidence that my favorite flower is, in fact, the sunflower? So much so that I have a sunflower tattoo on my left foot. But I digress…) In the queen’s right hand is her wand, which is starting to blossom and symbolizes life.

In her positive aspects, the Queen of Wands reminds you that you are upbeat, courageous, and determined. You are here to see through your creative visions and life purpose, even in the face of adversity and challenge. Highly self-actualized and self-aware, you know how to best channel your strengths and weaknesses to achieve your goals. She is courageous and individualistic, though at times she may appear self-centered. Her hidden side is hinted at with the placement of the black cat at her feet, a sign that while this Queen is bold and outgoing, she is also in touch with her shadow self — the darker, lesser-known side of her being.

The Queen of Wands asks you to be bold in your undertakings and actions. Don’t be afraid to own your real power and put it out into the world. You have so much to offer — so shine your light bright! Believe in yourself and what you stand for, and don’t be afraid to speak up and be heard. 

Biddy Tarot

The Queen of Wands reversed can suggest a more introverted personality than most expect. Instead of being the social butterfly and center of attention, this card reversed can be an indication of someone who prefers to linger on the sidelines and watch what is going on. It’s also a sign of someone who feels called to spend more time alone so they can recharge and connect with their inner self. (So relatable, and results in all those photowalks!)

I found the perfect blend of tarot meaning and tarot art as I reviewed every card. And so I am the Queen of Wands. The universe didn’t choose this card for me in some mystical way. Or did it…


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