My question to the universe one morning was, “What’s the difference between an Empress and a Queen?”
Leave it to my deck to get sassy on me. I shuffled and got these two cards right away.
The first difference, of course, is the Empress belongs to the Major Arcana. And the Queen of Pentacles (and Cups, Swords and Wands) hails from the Court Cards of the Minor Arcana. While the Major Arcana is thought to represent larger themes in our lifetime—perhaps soul or karmic work—Court Cards like the Queen of Pentacles are seen to represent the querent, their personal qualities, a nurturing person in their lives, or perhaps serve as a guide for day-to-day occurrences.
First, it’s interesting to note that the Empress and Queen of Pentacles feel very similar.
The Empress is the ultimate in femininity—she is Venus and Mother Earth, the perfect embodiment of a desirable sensuality and nurturing motherhood. She represents all things romantic, creative and beautiful… the salt of the earth, the happy endings in fairy tales, the fiery passion of new ideas, the joy of an upcoming pregnancy. She is a loving wife, devoted mother, and the friend whose shoulder you yearn to cry on…all because she is brave enough to be herself. The Empress does not put on an act. She’s comfortable with who she is; wholly authentic and lacking in pretence. She’s so abundant in her own magnificence that she does not suffer from giving herself away.
In many ways, the Empress is the manifest of all the qualities held by the Queens—Cups (emotion), Swords (intellect), Wands (action), and Pentacles (material luxury). Where she walks, the leaves grow, the moon sings, ideas bloom, and storms pass. That is her power.
The Queen of Pentacles echoes similar themes. She also represents abundance, fertility, earthly pleasures and material luxuries associated with Venus. In this aspect, outwardly, she resembles the Empress. But unlike the Empress, the Queen of Pentacles doesn’t concern herself with overly sentimental things. In fact, she’s completely preoccupied with the coin in her hands. To her, finances equal security and independence, and as a result is her biggest priority.
This Queen, in my opinion, is the quintessential Libran—an excellent hostess, an exemplary wife, great at conversation, networking, and socialising. She may be a career woman, but her home and family are her kingdom. Where she is comfortable, in her realm of lovely green gardens, opulent luxury and stunning tea parties, she is both businesswoman and goddess. She’ll make coffee and close a deal in the same breath. Her charm is in her ability to appreciate what’s right in front of her. She lives in the now; her zealous manner of doing so reminds us that overthinking and excessive emotionality can take away the beauty of the present.
I must admit my impression of the Queen of Pentacles is coloured by a woman I know in real life who prizes money, security and home, but oftentimes ends up displaying the reversed qualities—the other side of the coin, if you will. While the Queen is compassionate, with genuine intentions, there can be a superficiality to her concern. She plays the role of mother to a tee, for sure. But she can risk losing herself to the outward expectations of her role. Because she does it so well, she may forget to show her vulnerability. Which is really the most human way to connect with someone. This is where the Empress, in my opinion, is superior. She does not need to try to be loved. She simply is.