The Empress Artwork Description
“A stately figure, seated, she has rich robes and a royal aspect, as of a daughter of heaven and earth. The diadem is of twelve stars, gathered in a cluster. The symbol of venus is on the shield which rests near her. A field of corn is ripening in front of her, and beyond there a waterfall. On top of the sceptre which she holds is the globe of this word. She is the lower Garden of Eden, the earthly paradise, all that is symbolised by the visible house of man. She is not the Queen of Heaven, but she is still the refuge of sinners, the fruitful mother of thousands. There are also certain aspects in which she has been correctly described as desire and its wings, as the woman clothed with the sun, as the world in its glory and the veil of the Holy of Holies; but she is not, I think, the soul that has attained wings, unless all the symbolism is counted up another and unusual way. She is above all things universal fecundity and the outer sense of the Word. This is obvious, because there is no man like that which is borne by woman; but she does not herself carry its interpretation.” 1
The Empress Associations
- Three: 3 Creation, Production.
- Element: Earth.
- Rune: Fehu “wealth, cattle”.
- Crystal/Gem: Jade.
- Kabbalah: Dalet “door”.
- Astrological: Venus.
- Astronomical: Pleiades.
The Empress Basic Meaning
The “Mother” card. Loving, nurturing, caring. Giving, growing, gentle. Feminine, intuitive, life-bearing. Taking the time to grow crops, raise them to full health, and harvest them. This requires constant and consistent care (endurance to the end), observational skills, and of course patience. Manifesting goals or desires. Reaping “crops” or obtaining wealth. Success and emotional or fiscal sustenance.
The Empress Controversies and Observations
Counter-part to The Emperor.
“She is sometimes represented with full face, while her correspondence, the Emperor, is in profile. As there has been some tendency to ascribe a symbolic significance to this distinction, it seems desirable to say that it carries no inner meaning.” 1
“Meaning: Fruitfulness, action, initiative, length of days; the unknown, clandestine; also difficulty, doubt, ignorance.
Reversed: Light, truth, the unravelling of involved matters, public rejoicings; according to another reading vacillation.” 1
“Heralds pregnancy in body, mind, or spirit; abundance; fertility; motherhood; nurturing experience; gardening; female entrepreneurship; Gaia; domination over the Earth.” 2
“Basic Tarot Symbols: A gown decorated with pomegranates, a crown of stars, a rod, a heart-shaped shield with the symbol for Venus, a field of ripe wheat.
Basic Tarot Meaning: The Empress is a creator, be it creation of life, of romance, of art or business. While the Magician is the primal spark, the idea made real, and the High Priestess is the one who gives the idea time and space to decide on a form, the Empress is either the womb or nursery where it grows till it reaches a certain level of maturity.
This is why the Empress’ symbol is Venus, goddess of beautiful things and gardens, as wells as sex and love. Venus is the goddess of artists, and helps them painstakingly develop their pieces from clay to statue, from first brushstroke to masterpiece.
Even so, however, the Empress has more in common with Demeter, goddess of abundance, then sensual Venus, as the wheat in the background and the pomegranates on her dress imply. She is the giver of Earthly gifts, the great, fertile mother goddess. Yet at the same time, she can, in anger, withhold as Demeter did when her daughter, Persephone was kidnapped. In fury and grief, she kept the Earth barren till her child was returned to her.
Thirteen’s Observations: The Empress card is one of the easier trumps to read. She’s the Great Mother, so much so that she’s often viewed as one of those cards that can indicate a ‘positive’ answer if a woman is wondering if she can get pregnant. This is the fertile womb where anything can grow and thrive (as compared to the protective “incubator” of the High Priestess). The Empress’ ability to mother goes beyond the womb, however. She is patient, loving, giving, generous, devoted. The ultimate nurturer.
If defining her as the querent, you can say that they are currently feeling like a mother hen, worried about their children, new business, new creation, or new romance. Male or female, they want to dote and hover and fret over every little sneeze and problem. They likely also want to talk only about their baby, boasting of its growth and development, sending pictures of it to friends and relatives.
Likewise, the advice a reader might give on getting this card could be similar to that offered to a mother with a young child: either that young things need time to grow, and so require patience and attention, or that while an infant needs a great deal of care, a toddler needs less, and a child even less. A good mother adjusts her care as the child matures and develops, giving them room to crawl and then run and play.
If defining the Empress as someone related to the querent, it is likely the querent’s mother or a woman who is very motherly toward them.
Of course, the Empress can also be about the not so nice aspects of a mom. She can smother, not know when to let go, be possessive and jealous of those who would take away her ‘baby.’ It is important for the querent to realize that plants can die from over-watering as easily as they can from neglect. Like any good mother or good gardener, the querent must have patience and the ability to adjust and improvise as their ‘baby’ sprouts and grows.” 3
Axank’s Dream Recollection
November 1-2, 2011
All I can remember is that I was helping someone (I think it was a woman) with something.