The Queen of Cups is a person of beauty, kindness, and sensitivity. Like all the Queens in the tarot suits, she is symbolic of the Mother archetype, with a watery disposition. The reader's intuition, the other cards in the spread, as well as the question at hand itself, will give more insight into the role of the Queen in the questioner's life, whether or not the Queen is a person in the questioner's life or an aspect of the questioner's own Self, and whether the influence is positive or negative.
I am particularly drawn to the Queen of Cups' eyes today. The Queen of Cups' gaze on the Celtic Deck is loving, but direct. She will brook no bullshit. The Queen of Cups, although watery, is not weak. The energy of water, when balanced, is very powerful, very clear, just like the Queen's eyes. But belying the directness is mystery. Even a clear lake has mystery--the reflections it gives may give a different impression than what is real, or it may help the viewer see something they have missed. How appropriate that Water is the element of the subconscious, the mysterious realm inside all of us where answers can be found but are often given as riddles. What is making the Queen of Cups smile this Mona Lisa smile? Is she completely relaxed, or alert? This can be a litmus of the questioner's emotions--if you see something in a face or a gaze, go with it.
Venus is fitting for the goddess of the Cups suit because she is the goddess of love and beauty. Cups are concerned with love--romantic love, parent-child love, friend love, sensual love, infatuation, even the love for an art form. Emotional connection is key for the Cups. Beauty is also important, for Cups also indicate creativity and inspiration, as well as dreaminess. This isn't being spacey; it's tapping into a deep well of ideas and passions. It is connection to a purer part of the self and a higher intuition. This is the archetypal energy of the Water signs--Luna, Scorpio, and Pisces.
The bottom hem of the Queen's dress is decorated with a scene of children and fish happily cavorting in the waves. Cups can be the suit of childlike joy, as well. Check out the seals in the background. They may look a little like rocks. They symbolize this joy in being alive, and in delighting in one's dreams. This is deep, abiding joy. The seals also symbolize adaptability--they live on the rocks and beaches, but can dive down very deep, bringing up juicy fish. Metaphorically, this is the balanced Cup's ability to plumb the subconscious and their deeper emotions, and then bring back treasures to "the real world." Seeing this card in a reading may indicate the questioner has this ability, or knows (or will know) someone who does, who can help them.
Now I'm going to get all mystical, but since you're reading a blog about archetypes and tarot and astrology, you have to expect that kind of thing.
I believe in the "still, small voice" that 1 Kings 12 speaks of. In the Bible, that still, small voice is God. It may be. It may also be our inner voice, our pure, ageless Self. This Self lives deep within each of us, and it is our highest, greatest, purest Self. It is serene and wise. When I see the purity of the Virginal Queen of Cups, and the clarity of her crystal goblet, I think of this pure Self.
Is this Queen meditating? What is she visualizing? What voices does she hear? Is she preparing herself for a sacrifice, which she will meet with dignity and selflessness? Because Water is the element of deeper emotions and love, it is often also associated with the concept of selfless sacrifice.
The love this Queen of Cups represents is not gushy or immature (though the Cups certainly can and do represent infatuation, and there is nothing wrong with that. I myself am constantly infatuated with someone or something). It is meant to make the person it is given to become better, and more attuned to the true Self, which can sometimes hurt.
The ice in the cavern makes me think of the rune Isa, which is a vertical line that looks like an I, the letter it stood for in the ancient Germanic alphabet. This rune meant "ice," and, while we think of ice as being cold and barren, I feel that ice is also about introspection and rest. Many things happen under the ice, and as it melts it cleanses. So, I don't think of the ice in this picture as a bad thing. I look at it as meditative.
When a Queen of Cups card is reversed, it can indicate emotional instability, obsession, heartache, and narcissism--the Shadow side of the water element. It can also warn of cruelty, and selfishness, especially on the part of a woman. Depending on the question, it can also tell of blocked creativity or lack of communication with the Self.
The type of people associated with the Queen of Cups are women who are very kind, caring, sensitive, empathetic, and intuitive. It can also stand for a very creative woman, or a woman who is dreamy. These women can be older, or very mature, or a young woman with an "old soul". They may seem mysterious and/or vulnerable. It can also represent men who are very nurturing and/or intuitive.