Queen Victoria and her place in the Tarot

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Just a reminder to those blog readers in the Sydney area that I am available for in-person Tarot consultations from Tuesday, May 25th until Friday, June 4th. Contact me at whitesagetarot@gmail.com for more detail. I expect space to book up very quickly!

I have a list near my writing space in my home which outlines dozens of possible topics for potential Tarot blogs.  This morning, I was glancing at the list and noticed that Victoria Day is a little over a week away here in Canada. Victoria Day? I decided to challenge myself. How can I link Victoria Day to the Tarot? The result is this examination of Queen Victoria as a member of the major arcana.

Queen Victoria: Empress or Emperor?

Queen Victoria’s reign over the British Empire lasted for almost 70 years. The reign that bears her name conjures up images of industrial, colonial and military expansion, the onset of urbanization and the beginning of the era of unlimited use of resources for industry. As an interesting aside, it was also during this era that emerging esoteric societies began to explore the mysteries of the Tarot. This led me to the question, if Queen Victoria were a Tarot card, which would she be? Since she had a major influence over an era, I assigned her near-archetypal status and determined she had earned her place in the major arcana.  And, since she held a position of power, I narrowed my selection down to two, the Empress and the Emperor.

The RWS Empress

Victoria as the Empress: Pictures of Victoria on her throne in the latter part of her reign could easily be transposed onto many Empress cards. Her maternal stature, her elaborate and ornate robes and her ample bosom (I even managed to get a Victorian-sounding word in) bring to mind visuals of the RWS Empress, abundantly poised on her throne. The British Empire, under Victoria’s reign certainly prospered economically and produced in great quantity. The rise in the accumulation of wealth during this era is almost uncanny. Via colonial domination, she even took the official title of ‘Empress of India’. But, the abundance came at a price for most. A burgeoning middle class left a larger number of poor in its wake, with the poor working to provide for the rich. Unregulated child labour with horrid conditions was a mainstay of Victorian Britain. Colonial expansion happened without regard for the indigenous people or resources. Comparatively few benefitted from the ‘abundance’ of the Victorian era.

Victoria as Emperor: Since her husband Albert bore the title of Prince, in a way, Victoria wore both the title of ‘Regis’ and ‘Regina’. She ascended to the throne as an eighteen year old and soon became entwined in the political turmoil of the time. She made early attempts to exert her power and struggled with the diminishing role of the monarchy and the increasing role of parliament. Laws were being floated and discussed without her advice, dispatches sent without her knowledge. It was during her reign that Britain became a true constitutional monarchy. The head of state title became one of ceremony rather than one of politic. My own country, Canada, was created in 1867, right in the middle of her reign and epitomized the idea of a constitutional monarchy. Canada was run by politicians, nobles and bureaucrats. Surely, the Tarot’s Emperor would not tolerate such dilution of power.

After this brief examination of Queen Victoria, and in honour of her upcoming holiday here in Canada, I’m going to create a blended card for Queen Victoria. Her reign contains both element of the Empress and the Emperor. Her nation grew with an Empress’ abundance, but it was unchecked and at significant cost to many. The Emperor’s political power was desired but restricted and unattained. Victoria becomes the 23rd card of the major arcana, Trump 3 and ½, reversed 🙂 Now all I need to do is design it. Any takers out there?

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