Sacred India Tarot Archive: Arrows Queen & King – Draupadi and Garuda


Shape shifter - Eagle King (2002)

Shape shifter – Eagle King (2002)

With the Queen and King of Swords (Arrows), this suit transmutes to its creative realm of power and grace – Indra’s thunder and Draupadi’s forest magic.

Sit in the forest and hear the rainfall: the swords of the sunlight, reaching earth.  Throughout the suit of Arrows which express the Laws of Heaven, we lived, accepted and illumined our Shadow.  As often said before in this series, the Arrow turns into a Wand – a staff of authority – powered by eagles’ feather.

caduceus, staff of hermes

Rohit’s Notes – 2004 “Some things about Draupadi are very clear.  She was fantastically intelligent, very beautiful and a very tough cookie.  She was also in all the descriptions rather voluptuous, and – we need to be very careful about this – her skin was black.  

“In fact, her first name was Krishnaa – the feminine of Krishna –  and it means the same thing: Black.  She had extremely long unbounded hair.  She is like the Queen of pentacles, but without the softness;  a more intense, slightly angry expression, as her temper was famous, and holding a bow and arrow as she also practiced archery.  Her dark skin is essential;  for too long, India has depicted her with peaches and cream.  She should be clad in sky blue clothing.  She had a peculiar preference to stand and dispute matters with her husbands the Pandava princes instead of sitting down.  So she should be standing upright, perhaps leaning on her bow.”

Vedic bow and arrow


Jane’s Notes – This Queen is liberated from prejudice and cruelty to the feminine.  She is no copy or competitor of the male.   She stands in her strength and knowledge, having loved her men, carried their children and won her battles.  She has in her the hidden force of the forest, the earth and the stars.   Her consort is the Eagles’ strength and vision, riding the skies and watching the rivers.

This woman bears fruit, wherever she is not demonised by civil wars, religious dogma and the media.  The shadow of sexual ignorance, inflation and persecution is still a core wound of our world today, in every form of waste and tribal conflict.  But the liberated core eros, the rose of life in men and women, is human evolution … and wide like an eagle to the sky, it opens wings.

Look within my mind, when it is closed.   Whose battle standard do I blindly follow?  Whom am I taught, by political Spin, to hate? – where do I vote with the herd, without knowing?   The Spin-word is interesting, implying the random placement of a gaming wheel.  I borrow my opinions from other opinions, and put my stake on them.

This woman has no stake, but truth.   Do you dare?

SITA visual reference - Draupadi

SITA visual reference – Draupadi


Rohit’s Notes – from his Book with the Deck: “One of the greatest and saddest women in Indian myth is Draupadi – the dark beauty – the daughter born of Divine fire to King Drupada.  She is one of the five exemplars of chaste, wifely devotion (the original meaning of Siva’s first wife Sati) and yet her Karma caused her to simultaneously have five brothers as husbands. 

Sacred India Tarot - Krishna in Mahabharatha

Sacred India Tarot – Krishna in Mahabharatha – Detail

“In an age of polygamy, rife with hatred and jealousy, Draupadi was universally acclaimed for not only living in peace with her husbands and their co-wives, but for having gained their overwhelming love and respect too.  For everyone she was the pinnacle. 

“The inspiring eloquence that characterised her speech gave her the best lines in the Mahabaratha epic.  Her best friend and only intellectual equal of the day was the god Krishna.  Draupadi was as great a warrior as her husband Arjuna, as wise as his eldest brother Yudhistara, as tempestuous and generous as the middle brother Bhima, as versed in statecraft and the arts as the youngest twins, her husbands Nakula and Sahadeva, and yet left doubting if any of them really loved her.

“She was also the most beautiful woman of her time, and her great spiritual powers had rendered her eternally youthful.  The epitomy of grace under pressure, she would not however, forgive and forget lightly.  Every injury and slight had to be avenged, preferably in blood, and crossing her was normally a death sentence.  Yet she could display a calm mercy when everybody was seething for blood; her most magnificent moment being sparing the life of her childrens’ murderer.


“In a reading:  Hugely talented and capable people … having tasted sorrow, they prefer to go it alone.   Independent action and thought … Extremely charming and persuasive but … very combative on behalf of those they like, of for issues they believe in … Cannot be manipulated or emotionally blackmailed.

“Shadow – neglectful in relationships, especially of children …   Intolerant and troubled.  Detached misleading flirtation which lands other persons in hot water.  Divorce, separated, widowed, multiple relationships or the energy thereof … Cold fury if crossed.  Dangerous enemy.   Are you trying to do everything by yourself?   Unlucky in love?  Do you need to manifest your strength and not depend on others?”

I drew these two Queens (and many others) when I was about eight years old.


SACRED INDIA TAROT – Queen Draupadi of Arrows is a wild dark huntress, like Diana in the west – a formidable encounter for any unprepared male. Note the snake around the sinuous tree. The publishers of the deck requested she wear pantaloons, respecting the conventions in contemporary Indian art; but here is the original drawing.

Sacred India Tarot - Queen Draupadi of Arrows

Sacred India Tarot – Queen Draupadi of Arrows



Through the Royals in the Suit of Arrows, a shape-shifting occurs, as the animal kingdom – the animal soul – becomes integrated and uplifted into human consciousness.   Hanuman the Knight  embodies the simian intelligence, loyalty and strength – our ancient vital thread in the gene pool.

Garuda the King has an eagle’s face and wings.

Eagle King shape shift 2


As a friend of mine wrote:  “the dung of the eagle flies higher than we do.  The dung of the ox falls deeper than we do.”  We ignore or disrespect our elder animal nature at our peril.  We know very little of our ancient Friend.  We try to make a pet of it.

In Pullman’s His Dark Materials, each human (rightly) was companioned by his or her animal daemon, furred or feathered:  our essential gravity..


Rohit’s Notes (2004)  “I am prepared to go with Garuda instead of Yudhishtara (original choice).  The two Kings of the Air could be Garuda and Indra, both atmospheric AIR signs, which is after all the suit of arrows.  The illustrations depicting Garuda and Indra could be used as a base, though Indra should probably be shown in profile.

SITA visual reference from comic book - Indra & Garuda

SITA visual reference from comic book – Indra & Garuda

Correspondence – Rohit “Gautam, we need a picture of a vajra, the thingie that is on top of our meditation bell.  I will try and bring pictures with me.  Do a search of Tibetan vajras on the net.  Garuda articles and the Garudra Indra picture from the comic we have scanned already so that is no problem.  Take a picture of your Garuda and send it to Jane.

Tibetan Vajra

Tibetan Vajra

 “Indra’s Vajra could be drawn in a somewhat Tibetan style.  Garuda could be shown conventionally, but the colours should be carefully maintained.  Golden body, white eagle face and blood red wings characterise him.  Indra can be clad in the white silver and blue to depict his role as Lord of the sky and winds and rain.

“I prefer to go with this option, because we get Indra who was after all a major player in the Vedic faith into the pack, and we also get Garuda in, and he is the ‘Michael’ archetype as seen by Indian eyes.”

Shape shifter - Eagle king 3.  These shape shifters had an Egyptian archetype in mind, but serve as well to develop the concept of Garuda.

Shape shifter – Eagle king 3. These shape shifters when I drew them, had an Egyptian archetype in mind, but serve as well to develop the concept of Garuda.


From Rohit Arya’s Book with the Deck:  “Garuda the senior servant of Vishnu, and Hanuman the junior servant, are the strongest of the strong powers in the universe.  However, both these great beings have dedicated their lives to service instead of using their powers to rule over the cosmos … 

“Garuda the cosmic Eagle was the child of the rishi Kashyapa.  Between his mother Vinata and her co-wife Kadru, mother of serpents, there was sufficient bad blood and malice for Vinata to become Kadru’s slave.  To ransom her, Garuda undertook the forcible removal of amrit – elixir of immortality and source of the power of the devas.  This brought him into reluctant conflict with the Indra, King of the Devas.  Indra chose discretion as the better part of valour, and made an ally of Garuda, craftily blessing him with eternal rights over snakes as his food!

“Garuda’s strength is so megatherian, that one single feather of his wings can hold up a planet.  Behind the titanic roaring of his wings can be heard the eternal hymns of the Vedas.  His unblinking eyes denote his conquest of sleep, and his infallible gaze penetrates all.  His aura blazes like the fires of cosmic destruction.  Repeating his name thrice keeps snakes away at night … 

In a reading:  Mentors and guides. Wise and knowledgeable about human nature.  Powerful analytical mind and … unexpected sense of humour.   More head than heart.  Intolerance of restrictions and conventionality … Good at romance, but it doesn’t interest him!  Values respect over likeability, knowledge over feelings, lofty ideals.  Fierce warriors if need be.

Shadow:  Easily bored and mind scatters itself … Exaggerated lone-wolf attitudes – don’t involve me.  Fine judgement becomes judging others … the fearsome mind is a weapon used to wound.

“People would like you, even love you, if you gave them a chance.  Unbend and relax a little.  Sometimes the most intelligent thing may be to listen to your heart.”


Durga shoots buffalo king

Durga shoots buffalo king Mahisha.

Among hunter communities of the Pandyan lands, whenever the community experienced hardships, they used to choose a young girl from among their clan, decorated her like Durga, and worshiped her as Mahishasura-mardhini, the one who killed Mahisha, the buffalo.  One of the decorative features of this girl was that an eye was painted on her forehead.  (Reference: )

I include this snippet, because the Eagle’s ascent through Garuda IS the opening of the third eye, as seen in the sketches and in the finished painting below.


In the end, I chose to let Indra be Garuda’s “celestial background”.  Garuda is Master of the skies and Indra is the lightning flash.

SACRED INDIA TAROT – The King of Arrows:  Garuda is half an eagle. His human face is a double eagle, as in alchemy. The eagle’s vision flies as high as the serpents travel deep.

Guided by Indra’s Lightning, Garuda is a great ruler. He balances Planet Earth lightly on a feather, raises his arrow like the Queen of Justice in the west, and contains his Yogic ojas – the male seed. Before him, the Caducean pair of serpents rest on the ground, entwined.

Sacred India Tarot - King Garuda of Arrows

Sacred India Tarot – King Garuda of Arrows


Correspondence:  Gautam and Rohit to Jane – 2 March 2005 “Hi Jane, herewith Rohit’s feedback.  Warm regards, Gautam.”

“Gautam, the Garuda with the Indra looking over his shoulder is fantastic.  The Draupadi is very good too – as good – though she will need a dhoti-trouser instead of the mini she is currently wearing. Otherwise she will be confused with tribal Rakshasee Hidambas, mother of Ghatkolkacha, son of Bheema.  Like with Durga, the dhoti-trouser look is best, both authentic as well as uncontroversial.  Also, people will not buy a poster of a Draupadi in a mini skirt.  But the way she has been captured – this is the real Draupadi.  

“Fantastic cards.   Rohit.”

female golden eagle returns to nest.

female golden eagle returns to nest.

I like to see this great Mother come back as she always does, to nest and feed her little King.  Garuda, Indra and Draupadi – may You go forth, and may our heart and eye and mind remain wide open to Your blessing and freedom.

Vedic Hymns to Indra

In the ascending slope of the mountains,
in the confluence of the streams,
by the Goddess-understanding the sage was born.

Hence being conscious at the summit
he looks down upon the sea
from which vibrating, he stirs.

Then they see the morning light
of the primordial seed when beyond Heaven
it is enkindled.

The imperious hawk, the song bird taking the stalk,
the joyous delight from the beyond, brought the Soma.
Godlike, the bird grasped it firmly,
which he had received from the highest heaven.

The hawk took the Soma he received
through a thousand times ten thousand effusions.
Thus the Goddess of bountiful intelligence abandoned the ungiving;
in the ecstasy of Soma she in wisdom
abandoned the foolish.

“The knowledge of the Self is the hawk or eagle, the bird of the Sun, the free spirit.  It carries the highest bliss, which it effuses infinitely.  The Goddess of bountiful intelligence is the consort or mind of Indra, our own soul that is released through this knowledge of the Divine I am, the I am All …”

Translation and commentary by David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri) “Wisdom of the Ancient Seers” Motilal Banarssidas, Delhi, 1994)



The Sacred India Tarot Archive series in this blog will conclude with the Suit of Wands (Staves) – episodes from the Ramayana epic, including the crossing to Sri Lanka to liberate Sita from the demon Ravanna.





      For other Sacred India Tarot posts, look under Recent Posts, Search, or Archive of All Posts in the title bar.

Rohit Arya

Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}. He has also written A Gathering of Gods. He is  a corporate trainer, a mythologist and vibrant speaker as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga. 

Earlier posts about the deck, including the first 15 Major Arcana archives are in   The deck is copyrighted (c) 2011 to the publishers, Yogi Impressions Books pvt, and available also on Amazon and internationally.


Jane Adams

My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

All original art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address

6 thoughts on “Sacred India Tarot Archive: Arrows Queen & King – Draupadi and Garuda

  1. Dear Jane I love your art work and writing. I too am an artist, I am in my second year of being a student of B.O.T.A. (which, if you are not aware of this organization, is a study of the tarot, tree of life, and so much more) and my birthday is January 15, 1948. Were you born during a full moon? We have a few things in common. Robyn

  2. Hallo Robyn, thank you so much! I have been studying with B.O.T.A. over the last 10 years, and I write in this blog with my discoveries there. Yes I am a full Moon. 14.1.49, 7.30pm. Lovely to hear from you.

  3. Gawd knows where you find the energy and time to keep rolling out this extraordinary stuff. I love the art, which is extraordinary in its volume and range as well as its quality, but I rarely find enough time and interest to do more than skim the words, giving them more attention when they are poems or refs to those I know in your family. I guess my problem is that I am not deeply interested in the mythical and its symbolic importance. If it has impact it lodges with the other stuff in my bulging bag of general knowledge, and is not cherished with any passion. Pictures and poetry (whatever its form) catch me and bring joy.

    • Lawks, Lawd love yer, you hairy old Yeti from the Hymnalayars. Keep dancing and singing and rolling out them Wurdz in buckets of dew from fair France where you scare the natives, don’t worry about mine, glad you enjoy the picters. I guess you saw and chomped on the juicy old Vedic verses fluttering like a prayer flag on the end of this here Post in the ground?

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