Besides having a rulership position in a court, the Queen represents power and authority in all women. Symbolically, her court can be anything from a corporation to her home. The image of the Dark or Evil Queen has been largely represented by male authors of fairy tales and folklore as a wicked force. She may also be depicted as prone to hysteria and dark powers, influences, or plots, as in the story of Snow White. Gulliver’s Travels presents a benevolent Queen who rules the Land of the Giants, but that is a rare exception.
The Queen archetype is also associated with arrogance and a defensive posture that is symbolic of a need to protect one’s personal and emotional power. Queens are rarely portrayed as having a trustworthy support system; instead, they are lonely figures surrounded by a court filled with potential traitors, rivals, and back-stabbers. Women who have identified themselves as Queens in my workshops tend to have these qualities in common, suggesting that were it not for their aggressive personality characteristics, they would be vulnerable to others’ control.
Challenges related to control, personal authority, and leadership play a primary role in forming the lessons of personal development that are inherent to this archetype. The benevolent Queen uses her authority to protect those in her court and sees her own empowerment enhanced by her relationships and experience. The shadow Queen can slip into aggressive and destructive patterns of behavior, particularly when she perceives that her authority or capacity to maintain control over the court is being challenged. The Ice Queen rules with a cold indifference to the genuine needs of others-whether material or emotional. The Queen Bee is a mixed image-she has the astonishing ability to power the entire hive without leaving her “chamber,” yet at the cost of enslaving the rest of her community.
Films: Joan Crawford in Queen Bee; Marlene Dietrich as Catherine the Great in The Scarlet Empress; Geraldine Chaplin in The Three Musketeers; Greta Garbo in Queen Cristina; Judi Densch in Shakespeare in Love; Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth.
Drama: Antony and Cleopatra by Shakespeare.
Religion/Myth: Mary (Mother of Jesus; later elevated in Catholic tradition to Queen of Heaven); Mab (Queen of the faeries and often a trickster who steals babies, possibly derived from the Welsh Mabb or Gaelic Maeve); Anatu (Mesopotamian queen of the sky); Antiope (in Greek myth, the queen of the Amazons); Marisha-Ten (Japanese queen of Heaven); Guinevere (King Arthur’s Queen).
Fairy Tale: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (shadow).
Myss, Caroline. Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2002, 2003. 408. Print.