Back in the day, women were handy to have around in much the same way as it's good to have all your chessmen on the board: Daughters were useful for marrying off into strategic alliances, wives were good for bringing legitimate offspring to the game.
Valued as equals? Not really.
If you read through the lists of Queens from late Medieval to mid Renaissance Europe, there were very few who ruled alone, by design. Oh sure, there were some exceptions (Elizabeth I). And
some were widowed into power, but the majority of perfectly clever and able young Queens were used as pawns in power games and had to develop ingenious ways of cultivating and exerting their power. Most commonly they exerted their power through a man: their husbands (as a Queen), their brother or their children (as a Queen Mother or a Regent) or through their own court culture.
Queens were acutely aware that their power could be thwarted - by death, divorce, a lack of male offspring, the arrival of a new daughter in law, a Prince coming of age. Thwarted. That's a great word. I think I'll use it more often. Our Tarot Queens are emotionally attuned to their situation and are experts in successful interdependency :)
Even the glorious Eleanor of Aquitaine got married. Twice. She was one hell of a gal as this excerpt with Sian Phillips as Eleanor in 'Ivanhoe' shows. I would be totally terrified if this woman was my mother, never mind my Queen.
For me, this roundabout way of finding and expressing power defines the difference between the energy of the Tarot King and that of the Tarot Queen. The Queen must create and manage the outlets for her own abilities - this is why Queen energies are associated with teaching and helping others. To illustrate - The Queen energy is the TEACHER of music, the King energy is the MUSICIAN.
Yes, even though the Queen is a perfectly good musician herself, she is somehow channelling that energy in a non-direct way. If she was the musician herself, she'd be a King.
From history, we see Queen energy is:
- Covert Power (as opposed to 'overt power', rather than anything sinister - like House of Cards)