Queen of What and Where

9 May, 2008 at 2:10 am (tarot, tarot stories, universal fantasy) (, , , , , )

Once upon a time there was a girl. She was like other girls, vain and silly, sometimes timid, others stubborn. But she was also kind and funny, strong, witty and strangely wise. She was, to put it simply, a girl. She liked to wander in the forest and play with the pixies, the rabbits and the trees. And she liked to dream… a lot. In her head whole stories and plots would play out; fairies would dance and trick innocent young men, dragons would save the fair maidens and burn the wicked witches, valiant heroes would go on dangerous quests and return victorious and attractively battle-scarred… you get the picture. She would also put herself in the stories, often as a princess or a wizard’s apprentice, or both. Why not? Anything is possible, she would say to herself and chuckle.

Time passed, as time is wont to do. The girl was growing slowly and steadily, like a sapling turning into a tree. How do you know when it stops to be the one and starts being the other? She branched out to new knowledge and dug deeper roots enriching her experience of life, both in the city and in the forest. Because the girl may have loved the forest, but came from the City of the Moon. The city held unique wonders of its own, some dangerous and gritty, some tantalising and fun. Her heart was called to the forest’s song, but her belly kept her tied to the city and its complex challenges.

The city people were different too. They cared about Status and they cared about Appearances. But they talked about Magic and they talked about Love. The oaks and the foxes on the other hand talked about Rain and Wind, Light and Night and it was indeed these things they truly cared about. The girl was inquisitive and liked to talk about Everything. She talked with the city people about Magic and she talked about Love and, while she also read Fear and Arrogance in their eyes, she chose to believe their mouths. She could see flowers in their hearts after all, even if they surrounded the blossoms with thorns.

The girl believed in Stories, you see. She thought that stories were real and that real things happened like they did in the stories. In all the stories she liked, things would progress in a million different ways, but always end in the best and most appropriate way possible.

And then the girl got to have a Story of her own. One day she was approached by one of the City Elders. They were greatly respected and sometimes feared by the city people, because they held Power. She was given a Token and she was told one day she would be Queen. Now this was a story worth living! So she thought and got really excited and a bit nervous. ‘I don’t deserve to be Queen’, she would worry. ‘Queens are beautiful and wise and strong… I’m not really like that! Oh, but it would be so lovely!’ And she dreamed and she made stories, she danced and sang her news in the forest.

But the tree people, wise as they were, were more cautious. ‘Do you trust the Elders?’ they would ask. ‘Do you trust the Moon’s games and reflections in the pond?’ The girl would listen and she would ponder. Because she had questions of her own. ‘What does it mean to be Queen?’, she would often ask herself. ‘What does the Queen do? How does she talk? How does she walk? Does it mean I will have Power and Status? Do I really want this?’ And on and on. She had seen that look in people’s eyes, the Hunger for Power, and she found it ugly. She had seen fake smiles and heard hollow words. But she knew that really what the city people suffered from was Thirst for Love.

More time flowed. The girl grew some and learned some. More curiously, she started to glow. It was the light of the secret flower blooming in her heart. And many city people started to notice, even though they knew not what it was they were seeing. Because the girl had decided. To be Queen means to Love. They gifted her with smiles and kind words, they listened with respect when she spoke. She was surprised, because she didn’t see what they saw. But she thought ‘I must be doing something right!’ and she was pleased.

But the whisperings of the city people and the whispering of the leaves in the forest brought unsettling news to her ears. There is Dissent among the elders, the news said. They do not agree and fight amongst themselves about who should be Queen. There was talk of Politics. The girl was upset and confused. She was hurt.

She fled to the forest and started avoiding the city. ‘I don’t understand!’, she would exclaim to whomever would stop to listen. ‘I thought I was doing the Right Thing!’ The squirrels would usually mock her and she found little sympathy from the trees. ‘Why are you complaining, silly one?’, they would say. ‘What is it that you really want? Why do you care if you’re City Queen? Are you not happy here with us?’ And, truth be told, she was. She had never asked to be Queen. But now the seed had taken hold of her heart, it had grown into the secret flower, its roots entangled with her veins, its leaves strangling her like poison ivy. The flower and her were one and she did not know what to do with herself. So she decided to do Nothing. ‘I do not like Politics’ she would tell the birds, ‘and I do not want Status. I want to share Love and Laughter and bring Light in the city people’s hearts.’ The birds did not seem too impressed by this, but she did not understand why. So she busied herself with the goings on in the forest and she waited, more and more reluctant to face the Moon City’s games and trickeries.

One day a reluctant wind brought the news to the remote corner of the forest she had taken the habit of calling her own. ‘There is a new Queen on the Rose Throne’, the news said. ‘She is a beautiful Queen, strong, wise and kind. The people will be happy’. The girl did not know how to react to this. She thought of her long journey, ever since she had been given the Token. She thought of the new Queen. She liked her and would not begrudge her her happiness.

‘Well, so be it then’, she thought. ‘I never really belonged in the city of Illusion anyway. I am happier here in the forest’. The trees frowned, as only trees know how to do. ‘How about your big aspirations, flighty one? Were you not set on sharing Wisdom and Love? What have we been teaching you for if not to share your lessons?’ The girl hung her head in shame at that. ‘But they don’t want me! They have rejected me! What would you have me do?’ Even trees have limited patience confronted with such lack of insight, so they said no more.

The girl wandered the forest, lost in thought. ‘Who am I?’ she asked herself again and again. Her steps brought her to a lake, where a majestic big cat was drinking water. She greeted the cat and the cat greeted her back affectionately. ‘Look in the water’, the cat said. Curious, she did as she was told. She saw a woman with big eyes and wild hair, full of little twigs and tiny blossoms caught in the long tangles. She stared and stared… When did the girl become a woman? She looked up startled.

‘So’, said the cat. ‘Have you found your answer yet?’ ‘I’m not sure I have even found the question…’ she replied, subdued. The cat looked her straight in the eye and she was captivated by the powerful stare. The cat’s eyes showed her yet another reflection of herself. And suddenly she felt the strangling leaves loosen their hold, become gentler, light and caressing. She felt the flower in her heart finally open in full bloom. And she knew the answer and the question. ‘Queen of what?’ she shouted laughing. ‘Queen of where?’ I am Queen of myself and that’s all I need to be! A wild spirit, free to run as I please in the forest, the trees are my friends and the birds my councillors! Thank you, sister cat!’

The wandering queen spoke to the trees again, looking a little sheepish. ‘I think I understand now’, she said. ‘The city’s games are not for me. But I still care for the people and I want to share what I have learned. Though I don’t need to be City Queen to share with them Light and Love!’ The trees sighed a sigh of relief and lost a couple of leaves in the process. ‘There’s hope for this one yet’, one of the birds observed quietly. She turned quickly trying to locate the source of the remark, but they all seemed busy preening their feathers.

A few city people had found their way through the forest looking for her. They wanted to know about the birds’ song and the trees’ whispers and they were looking at her with wonder and expectation in their eyes. She smiled, oblivious to the bright glow of her heart’s blossom. She realised this chapter of her story was finished. And it had indeed ended in the most appropriate way possible.

Images from the Lo Scarabeo Universal Fantasy Tarot.

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