10.20.2008

The Four Princesses



If you haven't noticed, the order of these four-of-a-kind entries has completely depended on the order in which I've wound up posting the individual cards. Which is to say, completely random -- the same way you'd encounter the cards if you shuffled and drew them. However, the point of these foursomes is to hint at the underlying structure of the Tarot, which is something that usually doesn't come up over the course of a reading. If that's less interesting to you, feel free to take this site just one card at a time.

Right here and now, however, we have four indomitable young ladies on our hands who occupy a pivotal position in the overall picture. Just as the Queens all reign over the element of Water, the Princesses rule the Earth. If you go back and look at their qualities, you'll begin to see what they all have in common: they're charged with a tingling sense of potential, a sort of latent force borrowed from their suit -- but as lowly, vulnerable humans, they each have at least one foot solidly on the ground. This makes each of them a sort of lightning rod, a channel from the aethyr to the earth, similar to the Aces. In the context of a reading, this is where that message of potential for manifesting your desires in the real world would come from. Of all the Court cards and the Major Arcana, they are the only they are the only truly human face we see; everything beyond there takes us further away from terra firma.

In his book The Chicken Qabalah, author and occultist Lon Milo Duquette (whom I was lucky enough to interview recently) puts a great deal of effort into explaining why the Princess card is the linchpin to the Tarot's role in Western mystical traditions, offering a simplified fairy-tale version of the Kabbalistic worldview. The Princess, as the most earthbound element, represents each of us stirring in an enchanted slumber. We have fallen for the illusion that our world is all that exists (much like the of the world of the Devil card), and several layers of illusion stand between us and an unadulterated view of reality. "You are the King of the universe..." he says, "...Who has fallen asleep and is dreaming he is the Queen, who has fallen asleep and is dreaming she is the Prince, who has fallen asleep and is dreaming he is a sleeping Princess."

Whether your personal beliefs will accomodate that idea is irrelevant, but it's at least worth getting lost in thought over. Think of the prevalence of princesses in our storytelling -- even in modern times. What is the fascination? Perhaps it's that a princess is sort of like a caterpillar, in that part of the thrill of encountering one is knowing that an amazing transformation is imminent. We begin as one thing, we end as another -- but that in-between state is a delicious realm to occupy. That's what being a Princess is all about, and all the little girls in the world would agree, if they weren't so busy being caterpillars themselves.

1 comment:

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