The Queen of Wands is modelled on Edy Craig (Ellen Terry’s daughter) and her cat, Snuffles.
The other elements of the card (the Sunflowers, even the stool with the Lion heads) can still be seen at Ellen Terry’s house, Smallhythe Place, where Pamela Colman-Smith was living in the summer of 1909 whilst she created her Tarot images.
It signifies a character who is a pioneer, an activist, and the importance of living your own values in the face of society or others.
Edy (Edith) Craig was an astonishing character, a supporter of the suffragette movement, and a lesbian. She was a theatre director, producer and costume designer – and for a while, a close friend of Pamela. A photograph in our book (not shown online), published for the first time, shows the two women in an friendly and close pose together.
Whilst Pamela had the nickname “Pixie” given to her by Ellen Terry, Edy was the “Puck” to her “Pixie” antics and they spent a lot of time together prior and during 1909.
Edy actually lived with Christabel Martin from 1899, and was joined in a ménage à trois by artist Clare ‘Tony’ Attwood in 1916. The three lived together until Edith’s death in 1947.
In a morality play written by Edy, women are characterised in groups such as “The Learned Women, The Heroic Women, The Artists, The Saintly Women, The Rulers, and The Warriors”, fighting against prejudice. We cannot help but consider the Queen of Wands as a little of all these aspects of a Pageant of Great Women.
The distinctive black cat depicted on the card, replacing the Leopard that would have been described in the Golden Dawn version, is SNUFFLES (Snuffy to his friends), Edy Craig’s cat. We have a photograph and painting of Snuffles in the book, which is delightful.
The sunflowers were a constant feature at Smallhythe in the garden, and would have been in full bloom at the time Pamela was working there.
The chair on which Edy probably posed for the image is clearly drawn from an identical chair still to be found at Smallhythe when you visit. It is a wooden stool set to one side, supporting a book stand (which is marked out for a label) so if you visit the cottage, you will be excited when discover it, another tarot secret hidden in plain sight!
The more you learn about Edy Craig, the more the character intended by Pamela Colman-Smith for this card will come to life in your readings!
You can read more about Snuffles in our exclusive sneak peek in Tarosophist International magazine, the world’s leading Tarot magazine, FREE to all members of the Tarot Association – get this issue + 23 issues immediately (1,500+ pages of Tarot articles) + 4 issues every year of membership, amongst many other member benefits, including a FREE 10-hour Tarot video course & much more!
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Learn More about the meanings of this card in everyday readings in Secrets of the Waite-Smith Tarot and over at our free sister-site, My Tarot Card Meanings where you can also download a free guide to card meanings and spreads, Keys to the Tarot by Andrea Green.