(Card Descriptions Based On Original Rider-Waite Colors – Still Under US Games Inc. Copyright)
Mother, Mothering, Mother Earth, Woman, Feminine Archetype, Womanly, Domestic Goddess, Natural, Creativity, Productivity, Growth, Fruitfulness, Manifestation, Smooth Passage, No Obstacles, The Right Path, Cultivating, Incubating, Abundance, Bountifulness, Plenty, Flourishing, Prosperity, Provisions, Good Housekeeping, Resourceful, Hostess, Love, Heartfelt, Unconditional Love, Being Loved & Cared For, Emotional Security, Protective, Openness, Idealistic, Freedom of Expression, Reassuring, Generosity, Sharing, Harmony, Peace, Caring, Nurturing, Cherishing, Compassion, Tenderness, Fertility, Pregnancy, Gestation, Birthing, Affection, The Physical Senses, Health, Exercise, Outside Activities, Positive Self-Image, Pleasure, Beauty, Joy, Laughter, Play, Joie de Vivre, Energetic, Passion, Sensuality, Sexuality, Physical Touch, Demonstrative Love, Marriage, Pampering, ‘Me Time’, Preening, Indulgence, Luxury, Opulence, Glamour, Wealth, Riches, Extravagance, Summer, Blooming, Nature, Nature’s Way, Gardening, Earthy, Countryside, Flower Power, Home Decorating, Animals, The Environment, Talented, Creative/Artistic, The Arts, Theatre, Crafts, Music, Dancing, Children, Working With Children, Natural Witch
Astrological Associations – Venus – Love, Beauty, Harmony and Natural Forces – also the symbol for Woman. Earth.
Sun Sign – Libra along with the Queen of Pentacles. One of the karmic lessons for Librans is to take love from the idealistic stage in the mind and out into real world so that it can be shared and enjoyed. Venus also rules the Earth Sign, Taurus.
Kabbalistic Tree of Life – Walks the 14th Path between Chokmah (SupernalFather/Wisdom) and Binah (Supernal Mother/Understanding). The Empress joins or connects these two powerful forces thus facilitating union between the Masculine and Feminine Forces. The Empress now acts as the catalyst and facilitator of physical creation. The High Priestess and The Empress represent the two Feminine Archetypes in the Tarot .
Hebrew Alphabet – Daleth – Door/Transition
The Empress is also linked to the Four Threes in The Minor Arcana and to The Hanged Man XII(1+2=3), and The World XXI (2+1=3).
The Fool, now gifted with both Conscious and Unconscious Awareness is ready to incarnate into the physical. He eagerly awaits the manifestation which will allow him to set forth on the next stage of his journey. As he travels the 14th path, he encounters The Empress, The Mother who will facilitate this process. Just as he will come to rely on The High Priestess throughout his whole journey, it is The Empress who will first make the most impact. It is through The Empress that he will be brought into physical life. The Empress will nurture and care for him in the early stages when he is unable to fend for himself. She will shower him with love and awaken his physical senses. She will introduce him to the magic of the natural world around him and will encourage him to experience joy, fun and freedom of expression. It is through The Empress as his Mother that he will first experience true love. The love a mother has for her child and the love that is likewise returned is like no other love. The Empress’s influence over The Fool will determine how he relates to and treats women in later life. If The Fool is female then The Empress teaches the daughter the true meaning of being a woman.
The Empress as the Maternal Mother carefully watches her creation grow and develop until the time comes for him to stand on his own two feet. Like all Mothers, The Empress may find the letting go of her creation hard to deal with and in her negative aspect can become possessive, smothering, controlling and manipulative.
Card Description & Spiritual Messages
The Empress reclines upon a seat strewn with an assortment of cushions covered in rich red, orange and gold luxurious fabrics. Here we get a strong sense of the comfort, relaxation, opulence and sumptuousness that accompany this Earth Goddess. A three-tiered crown of 12 dazzling stars adorns her head. The triple crown is symbolic of the Triple Goddess – Maiden, Mother and Crone. The 12 stars represent the 12 Sun Signs of the Zodiac. In The Empress’s role as Mother Nature she understands the cycle of all life. She understands that to fully experience life we must experience it from all aspects. We must be open and ready to accept all; joy, love, happiness, pain, loss and sadness.
As the Maiden, The Empress is young, healthy and most importantly, fertile – she is in the Spring-time of her life. As the Mother, she is the nurturer and carer of both the new life which incubates within her and also when birthed – she is thus in the Summer-time of her life. As the Crone, she is the wise woman with much experience who both the Maiden and Mother turn to for advice. The Crone also brings us death and the end of the cycle – she is now in the Winter-time of her life. Therefore The Empress reminds us that just like the leaves on the trees behind her and the wheat at her feet are now ripe and in full bloom, they were once just buds or seedlings, and in time they, like all her creations will also wither and die, for this is nature’s way of things. It is the natural progression of all life and creation and therefore should be accepted. She reminds us that there is a time to be born, to be young and carefree. There is a time to grow up, mature and accept responsibility. Alas, there is also a time to grow old, let go and eventually die. The Empress’s appearance heralds the summer time in life; a time of growth, creativity, abundance and prosperity.
The Empress in her role as Mother Nature gives birth to all creation and lovingly nurtures and cares for it. However, she is also responsible for its death. Both her crown and card number reflect this aspect. She encourages you to accept all your feelings and deny none of them. She enjoys each stage of her life and is aware of her connection to the cycle of all creation. What is born will eventually die and therefore we must enjoy and make the most of every day that we have. The Empress also understands the order of the Universe and when her time comes to be the Crone it will not be long before she will be reborn once more and become the Maiden again. She reminds us that it is by embracing all aspects and stages of our life that we will find true happiness and self-knowledge.
In this card we meet Mother Nature, the Earth Goddess, in her Summer-time as the Mother aspect of the Triple Goddess when she is ripe, mature and bursting with life and growth. Her senses are practically singing as The Empress perfectly reflects this aspect and revels in the joys of life with all her senses vibrating in response to her environment. She likes to experience life in a very real and profound manner. She is in-touch with herself, knows who she is and what she wants.
Beneath her seat rests a heart-shaped shield engraved with the symbol of Venus (circle and a downward pointing cross). Venus is the ruler of Libra and Taurus. This symbol also stands for love and is commonly associated as a representation of woman. The Empress is very aware of herself and her femininity. She is Woman through and through; soft and loving, yet strong and powerful. Proud of her strong sexuality and extremely comfortable with her body she is aware of her deep beauty. The Empress seeks pleasure in the physical. She uses all her senses to experience life on all levels. Passionate and Sensual, The Empress likes to take care of herself and her body and would suggest that you do too. She indulges and pampers herself whenever she can because she knows she is worth it and is her god given right as a woman.
The Empress is no different than any other woman who likes to look well, shop for designer clothes, have her hair and nails done and visit the beauty salon. For her, every day is a special occasion and therefore she always makes the most of her appearance. The Empress feels good when she knows she looks good. She can often appear in a spread to remind the querant that they may need to pay more attention to themselves, their appearance, body or health. She reminds the querant of how essential it is to put themself first from time to time as they too are important. She can also appear in a relationship spread as a prompt for the querant to pamper their partner every now and then.
This Empress enjoys a wonderful healthy and regular sex-life. Depending on her position in a reading she may highlight the possibility that the querant needs to get in touch with their femininity or sexuality as it may have been let slip over time. She encourages intimacy within relationships with lots of touching, hugging, kissing, massages and lovemaking. The Empress brings passion to any relationship.
As her ruling planet is Venus, the planet of love and beauty, The Empress expresses love through her heart. She takes it from the idealistic stage in the head and brings it into the world through her words, actions and behaviour. She finds joy in her everyday world and brings joy to all she comes in contact with. She likes to live her life to the full but is also extremely happy and content with the simple things. She derives great pleasure in just sitting in her garden on a sunny day watching her plants grow and listening to the birds sing while her children and animals play at her feet. In fact, The Empress would fill her garden with her creations if she was allowed free rein; Children, animals, trees, plants and flowers would grow in abundance and with little control.
The Empress came into her own during the late 60’s and 70’s when ‘Free Love’ and ‘Flower Power’ became the way of life for many. It was the Hippies who let her light shine brightly; the females unashamed of their bodies as they danced topless at festivals, wore flowers in their hair and painted love symbols on their face. The males acknowledged the Goddess; saw the power and beauty of woman, desired world peace and freedom for all. They camped out in fields and forests and walked barefoot through the woods. They viewed their carefree and abandoned attitude to sex as a beautiful natural act of love and intimacy between man and woman. Many chose to live in communes where accommodation and chores were shared. Together they grew their own food, reared sheep and goats and lived off the land. Their offspring was allowed run wild and free and encouraged to express their creative and artistic sides. Yes, The Empress was given free rein and in an ideal world why should that be a problem? However, like any garden, growth can get out of control unless it is carefully managed. When no rules or discipline are applied, chaos can quickly follow. The Universe enforces the law of balance and polarity. The Empress needs the influence of The Emperor to curb her natural enthusiasm and exert some practical influence on her behaviour. He delivers the perfect masculine balance. Together they can provide the stable environment in which The Fool can grow with a healthy understanding of love and responsibility.
The Empress wears a soft roomy billowing gown covered in numerous ripened pomegranates. There is a pretty lace collar and a string of pearls around her neck. In many Tarot decks The Empress is often depicted in full pregnancy to symbolise her Mother and creative aspect. Her gown in the Rider-Waite-Smith card would certainly be suitable attire for pregnancy and indeed we may assume that her fertile womb has filled it on many occasions. In fact she may already be incubating her next creation so her presence may very well suggest pregnancy as she looks positively blooming, well-nourished and cared for. Look for other pregnancy cards in the spread such as the 9 of Pentacles, Ace of Cups, 3 of Cups and any of the Pages. The Empress represents Mother in all aspects and can suggest the influences of your mother, your own role or attitude to being a mother, how you care for your children and other family members.
The ripe pomegranates on her gown remind us of The High Priestess ’s veil when they were just seeds. As seeds they represented abstract ideas, plans, dreams, thoughts, possibilities and potential. Through The Empress, they have been given life and have manifested. Through careful cultivation and nurturing they have grown and are now in full bloom. The Empress has given birth as she does to all God’s creation, by first incubating them before bringing them into the physical. The ripe pomegranates therefore suggest the maturing or development of plans or situation. However, she does remind you that before any birth can occur, there is a gestation period to get through which calls for preparation and considerable patience. Mother Nature cannot be forced or rushed and The Empress is happy to sit and wait for things to reach their natural conclusion. During this incubation period, The Empress will look after her health on all levels so that she will be strong enough to look after her creation once it has been birthed.
In her right hand, The Empress holds aloft a golden sceptre which further acknowledges the power and force by which she rules over her domain.
In the background we see a forest of strong healthy trees in full leaf. A river runs through the forestry before turning into a waterfall as it rushes along. This river maintains the fresh supply of water that is needed to feed The Empress’s lush and bountiful surroundings. Without water there would be no life and The Empress understands that without careful care and attendance her garden may wither and decay. The waterfall reminds us of the sheer force of Mother Earth. As Mother Earth, The Empress fully understands the power she has over her creations. Water is life-giving but when it becomes a strong force, it can be dangerous and destructive. Mother Earth is the giver of life, but in her dark or Crone aspect can as easily take it away.
The field of ripe golden wheat she sits beside further suggests an atmosphere of wonderful growth, nourishment and abundance. The Empress also carries the number 3 which symbolically refers to creation, growth and plenty giving us further proof of the strong creative, prosperous and fertile aspects of this card.
The Empress‘s garden is rich and beautiful as she sits as the ruler or Goddess of this natural environment. The sky is clear, bright and sunny suggesting summer and happy harmonious times. The Empress certainly brings a warm loving energy into a reading. She is the very embodiment of Mother Earth, Mother Nature. Everything she touches grows and she is responsible for the continued growth and flourishing of every tree, flower, crop, blade of grass, stream, river and creature that exist within her environment.
The Empress is not concerned for that which she cannot experience with her senses so loves to surround herself with luxurious items, different textures, scents and sounds. She epitomises the Domestic Goddess whose house is a joy of life, happiness, harmony, laughing children, loving partner, sumptuous cooking smells and oodles of creature comforts.
The Empress strongly rules over the arts. She loves to sing, dance, act and use her hands to make wonderful things. Not one to shun the limelight, The Empress is generous and shares her talents with all. Her presence can highlight that the querant has strong creative or artistic abilities which need to be nurtured and showcased. She suggests that you too have the ability to create that which you desire and that you must not let your natural talents go to waste. Her energy will assist you bring out your creative side be it in art, writing, music or dance. She is the creative life-force which brings all things to life.
When The Empress appears in your reading she heralds a period of growth, creativity, abundance and prosperity in your life. She indicates that it is time to safely move plans or ideas forward to their next stage of development. Her card number is three and three is the number of creativity, growth and ascension so any projects you are working on should be coming together quite nicely at this stage. Things are naturally growing for you now so you should soon begin to see the results of all your hard work blossom and bloom. Her presence reassures you that the road ahead at present is smooth and that you should not experience any setbacks or challenges. You are on the right path when The Empress appears. She can represent a time of great productivity and the eventual rewards for hard work, effort and patience. She does remind you though that whatever you create must then be nurtured and cared for otherwise all your effort will be in vain.
The Empress is only concerned with what she can experience with all her senses, therefore she suggests that if you have any ideas or plans that you have been toying with then the time would be right to give birth to them by putting themout into the real world where they can be shared and experienced by all. Her energy will help any fledgling business or project flourish and grow once you go about it in a down to earth and heartfelt manner. She asks you to be happy in what you do as otherwise there is no point and all will fail. When you enjoy and feel connected to your work or life, you feel strong, confident and able to take on the world.
Depending on her position in a reading, The Empress many indicate the incubation period of an idea, plan or project. Like the gestation period of a pregnancy, you too may need to be patient and allow things to slowly grow or develop. Certain situations cannot be forced so it is best to use this waiting period to perfectly form any plans or ideas before trying them out otherwise they may be too immature and vulnerable to survive.
The Empress encourages the growth and development of all things so lots should be happening around you. In fact life may very well be taking off for you in a very pleasant direction. She suggests a happy period in life, especially on the domestic front with much activity, socialising and a strong sense of inner contentment. You feel at one with the world and full of joy. You can be very generous under The Empress’s influence as you share your love, time, energy and enthusiasm with all and sundry. You may find yourself bouncing out of the bed in the morning eager to get on with the day as you throw back the curtains and race down the stairs. Feeling well, healthy, vibrant and full of positivity everything you are involved in is thriving and successful. Any work you have to do will be a delight and you can achieve much with little effort. The Empress brings that time into your life when it really feels good to be alive.
There is a strong sense of abundance and bountifulness about The Empress card. She reassures you that there is enough for all which brings great stability and security. She is generous and giving. If you have been worried about finances The Empress suggests that you will be provided for and will have more than enough to go around. She also asks you to use the resources you have at hand as Mother Earth can support you during times of shortage.
In her role as Domestic Goddess, The Empress brings harmony and stability into the home-front. Family relationships are happy and thriving when she is around and there may be a lot of activity in and around the house. The Home is very important to The Empress as she likes to spend much time in it surrounded by her family. Here is the mother who is happy not only to fill her home with her offspring but also their friends too. She can easily semi-rear neighbour’s children without ever realising it.
She may suggest that you are lovingly putting great effort into renovating or restoring your house, interior decorating or developing your garden. The Empress has the ability to turn a house into a home. She is a lover of beautiful luxurious things that reflect her femininity and excellent taste. However, she shuns the idea of a show house feel to her home in favour of comfort and a style that will suit the whole family. She desires a house that lives and breathes, allowing the personality of all its occupants to shine through. The Empress is a natural hostess so her presence suggests you may be entertaining or socialising. The home The Empress governs over is full of love, affection, laughter and chatter so she really is a welcome presence in any family reading.
The Empress cherishes all her creations and especially loves her children. She is the archetypal natural mother who loves all her children unconditionally. Her presence may indicate the desire for a child or even a large family. Traditionally she represented pregnancy but this would need to be confirmed by the presence of other cards such as the 9 of Pentacles, Ace of Cups and any of the Pages. She does suggest though that you may be in a very fertile period and that conception may occur very easily, so if you are not planning on getting pregnant extra precaution should be taken.
As the Tarot ’s Mother figure, The Empress suggests a harmonious and happy relationship with your mother. She represents a very strong motherly female figure that is respected, cherished and loved by all. She is a nurturer and carer to those around her and the type of woman you would turn to in times of trouble providing a shoulder to cry on and soothing words to heal. The Empress appears and embraces us in a warm deep loving hug to reassure us that all will be okay and not to fret. She epitomises the ideal mother who we would all love to be connected to. She does have a tendency to fuss over her family though and will not take too kindly to those members who are unable to turn up at family occasions. She can easily assume the role of ‘Head of The Family’ and be a real Matriarch. There can be a tendency to run everything by Mother before a decision is made or the “what would Mother say?” attitude may apply. Even the most loving and caring mothers can be overpowering, demanding and controlling with their offspring.
The Empress may suggest that you are looking at your own role as a mother and doing your best to live up to her standards or wish you could. You may have no choice but to go out to work and leave your children with Carers or in a Crèche and The Empress’s presence may highlight your desire to be a stay-at-home Mom. Look to the other cards around for verification. If you are carrying your first child she may represent the role model you wish to aspire to as your own personal experience growing up may have been very different. The Empress in a reading often highlights a message to or from a mother so pay extra attention when she appears. You could always pull an extra card to open the message and give greater insight.
The Empress is mother to all so this indicates that you also have a duty to care for those in the wider community. She asks you to be the peacekeeper and if you feel that someone is in need of care or attention then you should be generous and offer your support. We all need to lean on each other from time to time.
Because, The Empress is the embodiment of Mother Earth, she is also responsible for those in the natural world. She asks you to respect and care for the environment and all the creatures that reside within. She reminds you that your duty does not just belong within the confines of your four walls. Be kind to and love all animals, feed the birds, support a worthwhile animal charity, volunteer at a rescue centre or join a campaign to stop animal abuse. Get actively involved in protecting the environment; recycle, go organic, conserve energy, be conscientious about what you pour into the ground and down the drain.
The Empress also asks you to get connected to the world around you by spending more time outside and being physically active. If your garden has become overgrown, get out into it and sort it out. Put a bit of time, effort and care into it. Plant some bulbs, seeds, shrubs and trees and then enjoy watching them grow. Cultivate a vegetable patch or herb garden and grow your own food. Turn your garden into an outdoor room where all the family can relax and enjoy. Spending more time in and around nature or in the countryside will re-energise and re-vitalise you. It will also keep you balanced and your feet firmly placed on the ground.
The Empress likes to look after herself so she may suggest that this is a time to listen to your body and to nourish it well. If you haven’t been exercising then she suggests it is time to get some and no better place than the great outdoors. She cannot believe you are missing out on so much by hanging around indoors all the time. She reminds you that your body is a temple and it should be treated accordingly. You may be spending time and money on your appearance, buying clothes and accessories or cosmetics and body treatments. She encourages you to do so but not to over-indulge as then it becomes frivolous and a sign of an inner unhappiness.
When we have let ourselves get into a rut, become dowdy or dull The Empress whips us up into action. She asks you to make an effort with your appearance. Not for anyone else’s sake but your own. She urges you to show some pride and reminds you of your womanly aspects and inner beauty. She says, “look at me. Yes, I have a husband, 6 children, a dog, two cats, a house to run and garden to maintain and therefore must dress practically the majority of the time. However, I always make a point of tidying myself up at least at the weekends. On these days, my normal leggings and track suit bottoms are banned or thrown in the wash. Instead I deliberate over what I will wear and dress myself up a bit. I pay extra attention to my hair and accessories. I may even wear heels. The Mom look goes temporarily on hold while the Woman underneath is let out to play and I feel great. It keeps me balanced and in touch with all aspects of my personality. My partner’s behaviour changes towards me too and he can become quite flirty with me like it was when we first met. It is quite amusing and makes me feel like a young girl again.
I feel that all women should make time for themselves and not to forget to pay attention to their feminine side even if it is for just one hour a week. I make time to get my hair done, paint my nails, buy something new or have lunch with friends. I believe it is important to pamper myself regularly as it makes a huge difference to how I feel about myself and also helps my relationship with those around me. Sometimes all I have time for is a long hot soak in the bath tub or to read a magazine before the kids come home from school. When I have to multitask my ‘me time’ I take the dog out for a long walk on the beach rather than the local park. This way, I get to have a mini outing while the dog gets exercised at the same time.
If you don’t make time for you, no one else will. Remember, you are worth it. Oh, and very importantly, I make time for my relationship with my partner. We call it ‘our time’ when we connect with each other as man and woman and not as mother and father. We make time for romance, affection, conversation, going out and making love. This keeps our relationship passionate and alive. It keeps our love strong and healthy and it makes us better parents too. Do you feel that this is something that you need to do too? Is it missing from your life? When did you last feel like a real woman? Access my energy to help you get your life going again”.
With all the information above it goes without saying that The Empress appearing in a love spread indicates that your relationship is maturing and developing nicely. You may be taking it to the next stage or level by moving in together, getting engaged, married or deciding to start a family. Her presence in a relationship reading is very positive and comforting. She can represent a powerful strong and vibrant woman in and around the querant who is exerting a positive influence. Due to her love of passion and her strong sensuality a relationship under her influence will be full of demonstrative love, physical contact and a very healthy sex life. Positive growth in a relationship takes place when The Empress is around. The Empress traditionally symbolised marriage. Look for other cards in the spread to support this such as The Lovers, the Ace/Two/Three and Ten of Cups, Four of Wands, Heirophant, Justice etc
When it comes to career, The Empress must be employed in an area where she is happy and free to be herself. A career that brings her into contact with children will be appealing. She makes an excellent child carer who will indulge her charges with all kinds of exciting activities. She is the Mary Poppins, Maria from The Sound of Music and Nanny McVeigh who makes everyday a delight of magic and fun for the children in her care. She can be found running a fantastic Crèche or Montessori. She makes an ideal nurse in a children’s hospital where she helps her patients to laugh and feel less lonely for their parents.
A keen gardener, The Empress can be found working in horticulture or garden nurseries. She is attracted to organic farming and can cut out a fabulous career for herself as a florist. Her deep love and respect for animals draws her to careers in rescue centres, animal boarding or stabling. As The Empress, she understands and accepts death much better than most so emotionally she is strong enough to deal with abused or neglected animals. It is The Empress who will calmly put to sleep and out of their misery a poor neglected or injured animal. She does not like to see suffering so will not prolong an animal’s life when it is not in their best interest to do so. The Empress is also a strong environmentalist so will be naturally attracted to careers in this field.
The Empress is happiest when she is at home so would be even happier if she could work from it. She is so creative and talented she could turn her hand to many successful home based careers. She could start her own cottage garden and sell her products of vegetables, fruit and herbs at the local market. She can easily develop her own personal range of natural skin and body care creams and soaps which she concocts and brews up at the kitchen sink and stove. She can also sell her exquisite perseveres and home baking to local shops and cafes.
When it comes to crafts she can take her pick. She can sew, design clothes, make pottery, write books and paint pictures. She is the incredible stylish and creative milliner or wedding dress designer.
She can develop her natural singing voice and turn professional. Naturally dramatic, she is a brilliant actress who can passionately stomp the boards in national or local theatre. She moves to the vibrations of natural earth energies so can excel at all kinds of dance.
The Empress can enjoy a career as a holistic therapist, healer or herbalist. She is the masseuse to die for and will have a long list of clientele. Her touch is pure magic.
Her presence in a reading often highlights the fact that the querant has creative talents that are not been utilised. When natural creativity or artistic abilities are not expressed, an inner frustration and unhappiness occurs. The querant should always be encouraged to explore their creative side when The Empress appears regardless of the nature of the reading. She cannot over emphasise the importance of developing one’s full potential in relation to finding true happiness in life. Take it from me, when pressed for honesty the querant will 99% of the time admit to having artistic or creative abilities that have either been left behind in college or dropped in favour of a partner or to have children. The Empress strongly suggests that you get back to it.
Sometimes her presence can indicate the deep inner longing to pursue some artistic venture but there is a reluctance to vocalise it due to the reaction of those around. For example, a querant has a very secure and profitable career in sales and marketing. They are the main bread-winner in the family. They have responsibilities and mortgages. They are also looked upon by their proud families as the epitome of success. In light of all the above how can they suddenly announce that they have made a mistake and all they want to do is make organic handmade herbal soap or beaded jewellery in the back bedroom. There is a terrible inner dilemma. How can they let everyone down? How could the family survive without their full income? The Empress gives voice to these querants who often get extremely emotional when confronted with the possibility and also that they can at last speak of their dreams to someone who understands.
The Empress may also suggest a move to the countryside or the feminine side of a male querant needing expression.