Q is for Queen
Symbols in Stories from Around the World
“God save the Queen” is an anthem well deserved by Elizabeth II who has reigned in England longer than Queen Victoria. Queen Elizabeth II is already a legend. Then we have queens whose stories have lasted for centuries. Mother goddesses are queens of the heavens. Step-mothers and mothers could be considered queens of their home. The traditional queen of folk and fairy tales abound.
Start with the heavens. The Welsh had Don, who was the mother of all gods. In fact, “The Court of Don” uses the same stars as the constellation Cassiopeia, another queen figure from the story “Perseus and Andromeda.” Don gave birth to Govannan, Gwydion, Arianrhod, Gofannon, and Amaethon. Such heavenly queens symbolized fertility and ability for life to exist. These deities then gave birth to more deities honored by the Celts. As time went on, many families of Celtic descent were related to a mysterious goddess. Then, these people would have royal blood from on high.
Christian faiths are clear about all people being Children of God. Another Christian faith, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, honor Heavenly Father as God and recognize there is also a Heavenly Mother. In one of the hymns named “O My Father” written by Eliza R. Snow, there is the stanza:
I had learned to call thee Father, Through thy Spirit from on high,
But until the key of knowledge Was restored, I knew not why.
In the heavens are parents single? No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason, truth eternal Tells me I’ve a mother there.
For some Christian faiths, the Virgin Mary is the Queen of Heaven as she and God the Father are the parents of Jesus Christ. Some paintings even show Mary being crowned by Christ and not by God the Father.
Continue with the earthly queens. While the king was considered solar gold, the queen usually was lunar silver. Instead of higher or lesser lights in the sky, sometimes queens held equal power to kings. With King Solomon, known for his wisdom, the Jews also saw the Queen of Sheba as his equal is that wisdom.
The emblems a queen holds or wears can reflect the power that she has been given. The crown is a symbol of sovereignty while an orb with a cross at the top shows that she rules by the Christian faith. A scepter has always been a symbol of authority. In Ancient Egypt, the queens of the pharaohs wore the image of the vulture goddess Mut (Mother). This linked them to the immortal mother.
At times, a queen with so much power can change a woman who might have been a princess first. Princesses in stories are often innocent and practically perfect. Queens in stories are full of vices such as jealously or cruelty.
Finally, queens could be found within the home. No royal blood is required. The home is the kingdom. Step-mothers tend to be villains or combatants in the story. The original mother—queen—no longer reigns and the step-mother—new queen—must start over with her regime.
Some stories that feature a queen:
- “Snow Queen,” by Hans Christian Andersen, the Snow Queen steals away a boy that has part of a mirror shard in his heart and eyes that causes him to be cruel and the queen’s kisses numb and wipes away memories of the boy that a girl must try to have regained
- “Snow White,” German tale and hailed as based on true story, a queen turns jealous of the beauty of her step-daughter and vows to be the fairest in the land again
- “Perseus and Andromeda,” Greek tale, a queen boasts too much of the beauty of her daughter and so her daughter must be sacrificed to a sea creature unless someone saves the princess
What stories do you know that feature a queen? Benevolent queen? Cruel queen? Do you know stories of mother goddesses? Would you consider mothers and step-mothers as types of queens? Share your comments below and share with others.
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