Queens are cards of seeing what is important. Unlike ᛊ (Sowilo), which is the rune of the light itself, the Queens are cards of the observer. They represent the step in solving a problem when you collect the available information right before you act.
Because these are runes of seeing, I will organize my discussion based on how far into the distance the queen appears to be looking in the Waite-Smith cards.
Queen of Swords
The Queen of Swords looks straight at something close to the card. She holds her sword up in a ready manner, but not a threatening one. She looks comfortable, either in her throne or standing. She is patiently waiting to let whomever is before her come to her for insight and guidance. Swords are often associated with ᚨ (Ansuz), and The Queen of Swords is associated with its aspect as a rune of wisdom.
When she represents a person, The Queen of Swords is wise, seeing all that is before her clearly. She is the one who tells you all the things you don’t want to hear, but you need to. She is not overly emotional, preferring an analytical analysis of the situation. The knowing smirk in The Gilded Tarot, above, says volumes.
When she represents a situation, The Queen of Swords is a time to sit back and think about what is really going on. This is a situation where a Sherlock Holmes style of analysis is warranted: Look at the details and they will tell you the whole story.
Queen of Wands
The Queen of Wands looks like she just noticed something happening that is more important than whatever she had been doing. She is frowning, looking like she is about to take care of the situation. She knows that something bad is about to happen, something that isn’t necessarily obvious to the people around her. This queen isn’t the kind to just let things happen. Wands are frequently associated with ᛇ (Eiwaz), and The Queen of Wands is associated with its message to go out and do what must be done.
When she represents a person, The Queen of Wands is active, using a firm hand to achieve her aims. She is able to see trouble before it happens and nip it in the bud. If this card shows up in a reading, look for the no-nonsense hard worker in the querent’s life. Even her cat looks on in awe of her self-assuredness.
When she represents a situation, The Queen of Wands is a time to change your plans. You thought you were going to relax and talk to your coworkers? Nope, something just came up. Go take care of it. You know what needs to be done, you have the skills to fix it. Now go do it.
Queen of Cups
The Queen of Cups is holding her vessel (not really a cup) away from her). The card usually has imagery of drowning, but not the queen herself. She seems oblivious to it. She is paying attention to something more important to her, something her intuition tells her is urgent right now. She is half-submerged in the ocean which represents her intuition. The entire suit of cups is frequently associated with ᛚ (Laguz), and this card is associated with the rune’s intuitive aspect.
When she represents a person, The Queen of Cups is intuitive, but sometimes misses what is right in front of her while she looks into her scrying bowl for a far-away answer.
When she represents a situation, The Queen of Cups is a time to look for answers in unconventional ways. Now is a time for divination (ᚨ, ᛈ, ᛇ) rather than a time for logical thought. Think outside the box and find the information you need.
Queen of Pentacles
The Queen of Pentacles is tenderly holding her pentacle in her lap, staring at it lovingly like a baby. Though her posture is similar to The Queen of Cups, The Queen of Pentacles is looking at something she has, not something beyond what she is holding. The suit of pentacles is frequently associated with ᚠ (Fehu), and the queen is associated with the appreciation of that wealth. (Remember, wealth does not mean money, it means the things which truly make your wealthy such as home and family.)
When she represents a person, The Queen of Pentacles is a kind, nurturing person. She is not gripping the pentacle tightly, simply balancing it. She makes her garden grow by sheer force of will and a lot of hard work. Many people associate ᛒ (Berkano) with all of the queens, but The Queen of Pentacles is the most maternal of the bunch.
When she represents a situation, The Queen of Pentacles represents a time to look at what you have: your family, your possessions, your accomplishments. The answer will be found in what is closest to you.