Fortunes of A Glasgow Girl: A Tarot Reading Of The Art Of Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh

Queen Of Spades by Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh, 1909

'I just have talent. Margaret has genius.' - Charles Rennie Mackintosh on his wife and artist, Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh.


Margaret Macdonald was a painter and designer, and one of the most successful of the female artist-designers called the 'Glasgow Girls'. She produced artworks in various mediums including watercolours, graphics, gesso (plaster), beaten metal and textile. If you are fortunate enough to have seen her works in person, you may have gotten a sense of the mystical.

The image above is Margaret's 'Queen Of Spades', created in 1909 when Margaret was 45 years old, and is part of her series of four Queens representing the suits in playing cards - spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds. As an Art Nouveau lover, Cartomancer (Tarot Reader) and Shamanic Healer, her work speaks to me - it gently bursts with an energy and passion that connects with nature and reflects a symbolism of its feminine aspects. Her portrayals are sometimes of seemingly ethereal, feminine beings (as with The Mysterious Garden) and at other times, her depictions are often quite Paganistic; celebrations of women standing in their own power, supported by other women (a good example of this is The May Queen, currently at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow). Margaret often worked collaboratively with other female artists, including her sister Frances.

A Viewer's Interpretation

We can gain intuitive insight from the world that surrounds us. I often receive messages and communications from what others may think of as quite mundane things but there is divinity in the everyday. This is my own interpretation of Margaret's Queen Of Spades.


Margaret's Queen Of Spades is not, as far as I know, intended to be a Tarot card. But on connecting with her, there is a subtle message which is actually quite fitting for the Queen Of Swords (Swords are the tarot equivalent of Spades in a traditional playing card deck). The Queens in Tarot are often more representative of a matriarchal energy, experience and wisdom and are not necessarily representations of specific people - this is a common misconception in readings. Swords are often about conflicts and battles and this is why Swords get a bit of a bad name in readings. But battles are teachers. She reflects the subtleties of light and dark and how what we often perceive as two opposing forces are actually two sides of the same coin. In allowing these seemingly opposing forces to be as they are, without forcefully or aggressively trying to change either, both can coexist. Our own darkness can only been seen when we shine our light upon them, revealing our shadows, to gain a deeper insight into ourselves. The Queen herself is fully shaped as a spade but split in the middle to resemble two chambers of one golden, glowing heart. The heart is upside down, offering a different perspective to the nature of light and dark. To develop both our intellectual and emotional abilities to accept and respect the conflicts both within ourselves and in our communications with others is to gain lasting knowledge and understanding, lifting us above the things that try to divide us from each other and our own selves, our own truth.

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Copyright © Andrea Doran, Flourish and Contributors | For personal use and information only - date of original post 22nd July 2019

Image description: Queen Of Spades by Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh For Hous'hill, Catherine Cranston's residence, Glasgow, Scotland, 1909

Image copyright/licence: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts