Imbolc and the Queen of Wands
But there is a sky above the rain
Nothing can rot the sky
Earth has turned to mud
What of it?
The heart of the planet is made of fire
Of unending ardent sun
One of the most delightful festivals on the Pagan calendar is Imbolc. Also known as Candlemas, or the Feast of Brighid, it falls in the Northern Hemisphere on the 2nd of February, and in the Southern Hemisphere on the 2nd of August. Brighid, the patron Goddess of Imbolc, heralds the promise of Spring nudging through the final days of winter. The sun stretches daily a little longer, the earth slowly warms, and life quickens in the soil. Brighid presides over good harvest and fertility, keeping watch over women in childbirth. As the Goddess of hearth and home she brings healing, protection and creative inspiration. In the tarot, the qualities of Brighid are found in the Queen of Wands.
The Suit of Wands, representing the element of fire, is one of the four suits of the Minor Arcana. In the tarot, the element of Fire represents spirit, vitality, passion, energy, victory, and the will and the power to act. In phycological terms, fire symbolizes intuition and the spark of divine genius.
All four elements (air, water, earth, fire) have a duality of function, but in none is this expressed more acutely in its extremities than fire. So well understood was this dual nature of fire in Greek mythology, that destructive fire, (Aidêlon), connected to the God of the underworld Hades, was distinguished from creative, benevolent fire (Aidês), connected to Hephaistos, the God of the blacksmiths and craftsmen. Often considered the most powerful element, it is also the one with the least endurance; without fuel it cannot self-sustain. Embodied in the sun overhead and lava underfoot, it is considered the highest and the lowest element, and with its connection to gold and survival, it is at once both noble and primitive.
The Queen of Wands, like Brighid, is our fire Queen. Seated upon a throne, with her legs slightly ajar, she is regal and vital. Carved lions adorn the base of her throne and fasten her robe, symbolising courage and family. She carries a sunflower in her left hand, which denotes loyalty and longevity, and in her right, the wand, a mark of her authority. At her feet sits a black cat. In Christian folklore, the Devil gifted black cats to witches to guard against spirits attaching to them. For our Queen of Wands, the cat who guards her embodies the enthusiasm, vivacity and manifest joy that she floods into the universe, reflected back to her in the form of finely tuned intuition and synchronicity. She is free to act boldly in the world, her path secured from danger. Our Queen of Wands is enigmatic, charming, and extroverted; a resourceful friend, and the focal point of the home. But like all things elemental, she is celebrated because she is feared. The Queen’s favour, like fire, can turn, and only a fool who has known neither droughts or dark winters would mistake her kindness for weakness.