The shrine of knowledge.
Tarot Cards >> The Minor Arcana
princes and princesses, ancient principle, social graces, indian civilization

The Tarot Queens and the Kama Sutra

Author: Cheryl Lynne Bradley

© Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2001, cannot be reproduced without author's consent.

'"Being the source of virtue, woman is the best means of reaching
Man's efforts to be virtuous are impossible outside of conjugal
There is no doubt that women are a source of

An ancient principle of Indian
civilization was the teaching of the Kama Sutra and the sixty-four arts that a
woman should acquire as knowledge. This was called kala. These were considered
to be accomplishments in the teaching of erotic techniques and were taught to
all girls regardless of their social standing.

It was advised that women should teach this subject to young girls as long as
they were trustworthy, well born, independent and understood the meaning of the
words. She could be a woman used to sleeping with men, a girlfriend who was
already initiated, a maternal aunt close to her own age, a serving woman treated
as an aunt and confidant, a nun known for a long time or an older, trusted
sister who has had experience with men. Even if it was not possible to master
all sixty-four arts, it was felt that at least some should be practiced.

Courtesans were highly respected in this society for their beauty, knowledge,
usefulness and their social role. Princes and princesses were sent to them for
instruction in the arts, social graces, pleasure and music.

In keeping with the flexibility of Tarot interpretation, I have applied these
arts as qualities and attributes of the Tarot Queens. Court cards can be
confusing for although they can represent specific people, they also represent
universal patterns of behaviour, the feminine side of your nature and the
mental, physical and spiritual development of the individual. As a person grows,
matures and acquires wisdom and knowledge or declines in these areas, the
changes can be marked by changes of the suit of the Court cards which represents

For the purpose of this article, each of the Queens of the Tarot will
represent 16 of the sixty-four arts which a woman (or a man) should achieve
mastery of. No blushing is required here.

Queen of Cups

Water represents the origins and the unconscious. In
India, water is the symbol of superior consciousness. The rivers in this
superior world produce soma, the drink of the gods, symbolizing the rise of
libidinous urges. This is a vital force which is closely guarded as it stems
from animal instincts that require mastery before true pleasure is available.

1.  Vocal music
2. Instruments
3. Dance
4. Drawing
5. Cutouts
6. Carpets of flowers or coloured rice
7. Bouquets
8. Dyes and colorants for the body
9. Mosaics
10. Bed arrangements
11. Musical instruments made from bowls of water
12. Water games
13. Use of charms, drugs, magic wands
14. Garland making
15. Crown and head ornaments
16. The art of dressing

Queen of Wands

Fire is the vital cosmic force which transforms and
transmutes. Since fire was originally produced by rubbing two sticks together,
the act of making a fire this way symbolizes sex in folk stories and legends
from around the world.

17. Ivory or mother of pearl ornaments
18. Preparation of perfumes
19. Jewellery
20. Conjuring
21. Magic
22. Manicure
23. The art of cooking
24. Preparation of drinks
25. Needlework
26. Lacemaking
27. The art of playing the drum
28. Conundrums
29. The art of completing quotations
30. Riddles
31. Bookbinding
32. The art of telling stories

Queen of Coins

Earth is the symbol of the Universal Mother, motherhood,
fertility, regeneration and receptivity.

33. Quoting the classics in answering questions.
34. Weaving, plaiting
35. Woodwork
36. Carpentry
37. House furnishings and decorations.
38. Expert knowledge in stones and gems
39. Mixing and polishing metals
40. Valuing the shape and colour of stones
41. Arboriculture, the care of trees
42. Stock breeding
43. Teaching birds to speak
44. Massage and care of the body and hair
45. Sign language
46. Foreign languages
47. Regional languages
48. Decorating vehicles with flowers

Queen of Swords

Air is the symbol of spiritualization, where divine inspiration is
manifested. Air is the intermediary between heaven and earth, fire and water.

49. Observing the omens
50. Fabricating machines
51. Developing memory
52. Alternate reciting of texts
53. Puns
54. Knowledge of the dictionary
55. Poetic meter
56. Versification and literary forms
57. The art of cheating
58. The art of disguise
59. The art of gaming, the art of dice
60. The game of chess
61. Children's games
62. Good manners
63. The rules for success: "Even when conquered by fate, man wins by a battle."
64. Physical culture (prepared to defend what is hers)

Perhaps this will allow us all to look at these ladies of the Tarot with a
deeper understanding of their potentials and recognition of abilities. If we
follow "The Three Aims of Life" as outlined in the Kama Sutra, we must realize
ourselves on three levels. Virtue, wealth and love must be harmonized so that
none of them are prejudicial to the others.

"An excess of charity is an obstacle to the fulfillment of duty....An
excess of ascetism...destroys material exaggerated pursuit of
riches... grief in virtue and love."

It is interesting to note that the Kama Sutra recommends abstinence and study
in an isolated spot until your studies were completed. It was felt as essential
to study music, because it belongs to the heart of love, as it was to study your
sexuality. If a girl studied the erotic sciences she would know how to behave in
her youth, in her married life and ignorance would never be her trap.

Thought provoking isn't it?


"The Complete Kama Sutra"
Translated by Alain Danielou
Park Street Press
Rochester, NY, 1994
ISBN 0-89281-492-6

"The Mammoth Dictionary of Symbols"
Nadia Julien
Robinson Publishing
London, UK, 1996
ISBN 1-85487-273-7

Suggested News Resources

'Deadpool' Movie Rating May Make It Different, But Ryan Reynolds Explains How
Deadpool's movie rating has been one of the key factors behind why the merc with a mouth is getting such an anticipated second attempt for its February 12 release date.
'The Duggar Family Kama Sutra' -- Humorist Pokes Fun At Duggars' Views On Sex
Paul Rudnick, humorist and playwright, recently published a piece in the New Yorker called “The Duggar Family Kama Sutra,” poking fun at the conservative values of the well-known family from TLC's 19 Kids and Counting. Rudnick takes sexual terms and ...
Junk Mail: E-mailing About Jason Derulo's New Album 'Talk Dirty'
Music Times writers share an office area of roughly 45 sq. ft, which makes having face-to-face conversations totally impossible. Junk Mail is these millenials' attempt to discuss and review the week's hottest album releases...
End of Days
They will be eating Famous Wok, Dairy Queen and Sbarro's while their kids thoughtlessly ride the merry-go-round as the machine echoes out the same tune, like a broken snow globe, into the large and air-stifled room. Do not spend ....
Oscars list 75 songs nominated for Original Song Award, including five from
The Oscars have named 75 songs in contention for the Original Song Award, according to Billboard. Five songs from The Great Gatsby, four of the five Golden Globe nominees and another 66 songs are eligible for the award at the 86th Academy Awards.