archives, wisdom

Queen of Swords Guide to Assertiveness.


Our cultural crossroads between idealizing the nurturing aspects of women and awakening the inner warrior creates a Catch-22 for modern women.

Socialized to be people-pleasers, we are now encouraged to embrace a new and potentially empowering set of rules. Along with stepping into our powers of confidence and assertiveness, learning it is okay to say No and set limits, we are entering the realm of the Warrior Queen.

When the pendulum swings to the other extreme, we enter the energy of the warrior, armed and defensive. We see the Queen of Swords and focus on her power to cut through binds. We are told to let go of any relationship that doesn’t serve us.

A confusing message, since this doctrine asks us to consider only half of any relationship, while also posing a black-and-white solution to a problem which may be more complex.

We are reminded through countless blogs and memes and expert advice to break away from people characterized as toxic. While there are certainly situations where completely detaching from specific relationships is the healthiest thing for both parties, it seems something is missing from our boundary-setting repertoire if we go straight to cutting ties with those we judge as not serving us.

We are implored to cut free or shield or build walls, but not to navigate boundaries. In the Queen Up! system, each of the four Tarot Queens personifies our innate powers, including communication, confidence, love and abundance. The Queen of Swords, archetypal Warrior Woman, holds the power to cut and release. However, her sword also represents our power of discretion and assertiveness.

We can draw on this Queen to help us set boundaries in our relationships. In addition to personifying courage and decisiveness, she is also a teacher of challenging lessons, the Warrior who helps us fight through our own illusions.

One of the most difficult lessons we will ever experience involves our own ability to look into the mirror before jumping to the conclusion that another is responsible for our happiness, well-being or lack thereof.

The Queen of Swords does not jump to the conclusion that interpersonal conflict stems from a toxic other. Her devotion to truth, albeit harsh truths, demands that we dig deeper. Her sword helps us symbolically pierce through the illusions that enable us to remain trapped in patterns that soothe us while keeping us oblivious to the ways in which our behavior in relationships no longer serves us.

Her power of discretion helps us understand that there may be toxic relationship dynamics, yet simply labeling another as toxic does nothing to shift our engagement in power struggles and what James Redfield, author of The Celestine Prophecy, calls Control Dramas.

If we are willing to hear her difficult truths, she will also help us realize that our reluctance to set boundaries is not only fear-based, but on some level, self-serving. By the time we arrive at the conclusion that another person is no longer serving us, we must also explore with honesty, our own agenda in not speaking up for ourselves.

We may be reluctant to do the work the Queen of Swords asks of us. It is easier to point fingers, to label others as narcissists, without exploring the other side of the equation. Specifically, what need is filled by the attachment to such relationships?

It takes a different level of attention to our own needs, our own intuition, not to mention honoring our own voices, to navigate a relationship, putting on the brakes as we need rather than abandoning the path altogether.

By the time we resent someone, or have a scorecard filled with transgressions they have inflicted on us (to say nothing of the laundry list they are likely developing against us) we have already invested in a view of the other as toxic, narcissistic, selfish, etc. We have already decided they are the problem and need to be endured or eliminated from our lives.

Working with the Queen of Swords within, however, we could just as easily draw on our inner warrior to help us say No to things we don’t want to do, to express our desires, preferences, priorities and needs, to set our limits. Resentments tell us we have neglected to do this.

To be clear, mental health diagnoses such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder do exist, and people suffering from this and other serious disorders have significant impairment in relationships. In fact, that is part of the pillars of any mental health disorder.

However, labels such as Narcissist have come to be used quite casually. Even, ironically, in situations in which the perception of narcissism lies not in a clinical condition, but in one’s own resentment of another for not anticipating unspoken needs or failing to see another’s individuality and honoring a difference in priorities.

In the second case, rather than honoring the other person’s priorities, we are led to view them as a narcissist for not prioritizing our needs.

It is also ironic that while we avoid working with our Queen of Swords power to set boundaries and exercise discretion because it seems too mean, the neglect of these practices leads us to eventually feel compelled to completely disconnect from relationships, some of which may have had positive potential if navigated differently.

If you are contemplating cutting another from your life, take a moment to reflect on how or if you have used your powers of discretion and assertiveness to set limits in the relationship. If not, consider what beliefs or fears keep you locked in an unsatisfying power struggle with the other person.

Take a moment to visualize a meeting with your inner Queen of Swords, and ask for guidance from this aspect of your higher wisdom so that you can honor your truth and navigate the relationship in the best way possible. Ask for her guidance in helping you trust in your ability to set limits and use discretion.

Whether the end result is to release the relationship altogether or not, you will know you have come to the conclusion with an understanding of your role in the dynamic, not simply from the perspective that others are toxic and need to be eliminated.


{Photo credit: Deb Neary photography}

Angela Kaufman is an Intuitive Empowerment Coach, and author of the upcoming book Queen Up! Reclaim Your Crown When Life Knocks You Down: Unleash the Power of Your Inner Tarot Queen (2018, Conari Press). She specializes in blending the mystical and the mundane to help women at the crossroads connect with their core sources of power to overcome obstacles. For more information, visit her website.


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