The Empress (III) Reversed

(Card Descriptions Based On Original Rider-Waite Colors – Still Under US Games Inc. Copyright)



Lack of Growth, Unproductive, Lack of Stability, Lack of Development, Not The Right Time, Unseasonal, Not The Right Path, Dead End Projects, Going Nowhere, Mother Issues, Absent Mother, Matriarch, Smothering, Demanding, Manipulative, Needy, Jealousy, Overly Protective, Empty Nest Syndrome, Insecurity, Tension, Uncreative, Inaction, Lazy, Lethargic, Procrastination, Negativity, Blocks/Restrictions, Obstacles, Force, Not Nature’s Way, Unhealthy, Poor Self-Image, Letting Yourself Go, Lack of Self-Interest, Unhappiness, Over Eating/Bingeing, Dull and Drab, Joyless, Neglect, Uncaring, Disinterest, A Mess, Wasteful, Overly Extravagant, Squandering, Poor Housekeeping/Budgeting, Scarcity, Lean Times, Domestic Disharmony, Mean Spirited, Unloving, Infertility, Termination, Hysterectomy, Hormonal Imbalance, The Crone, Overgrowth, Weeds, Unhealthy Growths, Creative/Artistic Blocks, Talents Not Put to Use, Impatient, Immature, Vanity, Frivolity, Superficial, Self-Absorbed,  Affectation, Marital Breakdown, Divorce, Affairs, Infidelity, Seduction, Vamp, Widowhood, Scandal, Destruction

When the lovely Empress reverses she loses her natural balance and stability within.  Gone is the self-assured and powerful woman who is successful in all areas of her life.  Instead we find an insecure and tense woman who finds it hard to get anything off the ground or complete any projects she has started.  She finds it hard to be productive and loses her positive personality and sunny disposition.  When the reversed Empress appears you can be sure the querant is experiencing difficulty in some area of their life. In fact very little may be working out for them.

The Empress can represent a lack of growth in the area the querant is enquiring about.  Bringing plans to fulfilment may prove difficult. They may have been blocked or restricted from developing naturally.  The reason behind this needs to be explored as it may suggest poor planning or insufficient nurturing and care of its development.  Perhaps a lack of patience is to blame and a reluctance to allow the natural period of incubation to pass.  You may have tried to push or launch your plans or project before they were ready.  They may have been too immature to survive.  The Empress reversed can suggest that now is not the time to move forward with plans or ideas as they may not work out for you.

When The Empress is upright she speaks of clear roads ahead, smooth passage and few challenges.  Unfortunately when reversed, her presence may highlight blocks and obstacles of all kinds and lack of success in even the simplest endeavours.  You must ask yourself if what you are doing is really in your best interest as she suggests that you may not be on the right path or are barking up the wrong tree.  Happiness, fulfilment and success may lie elsewhere.  Try not to keep forcing and forcing a situation if it is not meant to be.  Is this really you, what you really want? Let nature take its course or Mother Nature may intervene in her destructive aspect by taking matters into her own hands.  She may destroy whatever it is you have attempted to create.  Not all creations are worthy of her approval.

The Empress reversed can herald a period of lack and scarcity in your life.  You may feel lost and adrift in a barren landscape with no one to turn to or lean on.  The upright triangle with the 3 points (numerology card 3) now reverses so the apex points downwards instead of up.  The reversed 3 in numerology speaks of lack of growth and loss of abundance.  Think of the downward triangle as a funnel.  No matter what you pour into it, it just disappears out the other end.  You may be squandering resources or sinking too much money into a dead-end project or situation that will bring you nowhere.  No matter how hard you work or no matter how much you earn, you seem to have nothing to show for it at the end of the day.

In the reversed Empress the bright sunny weather may have disappeared and unseasonal heavy rain has caused the river to break its bank, flooding the precious crops, leaving animals and livestock stranded and starving.  All may be destroyed.  There may not be enough to go around.  Lean times may be evident.

On the home front, The Empress can suggest domestic disharmony and family arguments.  Inter-family relationships may be strained.  A family secret or a scandal may be uncovered causing shock and dismay all round.  A new addition to the family such as a boy/girlfriend may be disapproved of or made feel unwelcome and excluded from the inner sanctum.

The reversed Empress in a domestic reading sometimes highlights neglect.  She can suggest that you are useless at Housekeeping and may not be able to budget the house finances very well.  Groceries are bought in dribs and drabs with no clear plan and utility bills go unpaid.  Your natural nurturing and caring abilities become blocked or repressed. The house may be a mess, dirty and unloved.  Her lovely luxurious cushions now flung around and stained from spilled drinks and food.  Her pretty gown torn and unwashed.  Her garden has become overgrown with weeds and grass is knee-high. The parlour is devoid of food and the occupants fend for themselves or go elsewhere.  The home lacks warmth and vitality.  Her upright generous spirit has gone and guests are unwelcome. Animals or family pets may also go unfed and uncared for.  Bags of rubbish may be stacked up in the back garden with little care for the environment or threat of vermin infestation.

As a mother the reversed Empress may be demanding and overly protective or totally unloving. In the reversed Empress, the family Matriarch comes to the forefront.  She wields her power with might and is a force to be reckoned with.  ‘Mother Dear’ can become a demanding, manipulative and possessive nightmare of a cow.  She excels as the Mother-in-Law from hell and the Cruella de Vile Stepmother.  She can become very jealous of her daughters-in-law and find fault in everything they do.  This can cause terrible relationship problems for the couple involved as the son will be fearful of standing up to his mother in defence of his wife or partner.

She has total rule over the roost and her word is final.  She is insistent on total obedience from all her siblings.  Her ‘Mother Knows Best’ attitude can destroy her children’s happiness and future success.  She demands total control over their life and it will be the bravest of her offspring who will stand up to her and go their own way.

On the other hand, the reversed Empress’s love for her children can go overboard and turn into smothering and being overly protective.  She really does want the very best for all her children but can find it hard to let go of them as they grown up.  She may become emotionally needy in order to keep them around her.  The reversed Empress can stand for the sadness and emptiness experienced when your children flee the nest especially if found with the 4 of Wands, 3 and 6 of Cups all reversed.

When The Empress reverses she loses the ability to look after herself and all she has created.  She can stand for the negligent mother who cannot take care of her children.  They may not be fed properly and are allowed run wild (a bit like the Queen of Pentacles reversed).   She can be uncaring, unloving and too caught up in herself to give a jot about her kids.  She can highlight the absence of a mother or mother figure in childhood.  She may have left, died or is just unavailable.

The presence of the reversed Empress in a reading may suggest that you are questioning your role as a mother or that you do not want to be like your mother or possible don’t want to be a mother. You may break tradition and decide not to have children. The reversed Empress can also indicate miscarriage, termination, infertility or hysterectomy.  However, she can also indicate birth as in being no longer pregnant.  Look to the other cards to support this.  If there are happy and joyful cards surrounding the reversed Empress then this is a good sign.

The natural positive and healthy balance in the upright is lost when The Empress reverses.  This leads to either a loss of interest in oneself and one’s appearance or obsessiveness and superficiality.  You may not be feeling too good about yourself or have possibly let yourself go; becoming lazy and lethargic.  You may look drab and dull and piled on the pounds when you were not looking.   Over-eating and bingeing may be a sign of a deep inner unhappiness.  You have lost your natural contentedness and connection to life and find lasting joy in little.  Your relationship with others and especially your partner may be affected.  With a low self-image your self-esteem and confidence plummets too.  How and why have you let this happen? However, that downhill slope can be oh so subtle that you may not have noticed it until this late stage.

 The Empress suggests that if you do not like what you see in the mirror then you must take action to correct it and feel good once more.  You won’t regret it.  Remember, this is about doing it for you and your sake not for anyone else.  The knock-on benefits will be amazing though.  She suggests you get out and get active. Exercise and eat healthily.  Get in touch with your body by looking after it and pampering it.  Update your wardrobe and get your hair cut.  If you can afford it, totally re-invent yourself; pack up all your old clothes and accessories and give them away to friends or to charity.  Replace them with something more suitable and flattering.  Let the woman in you be revealed.  It is time for some ‘me time’.  Let others wait.

However, in the other extreme you may become frivolous, extravagant and wasteful.  You use superficiality to hide and suppress your feelings. Others may call you vain and totally self-absorbed.  You may be overly concerned with your appearance and think of little else.  You also judge others by theirs.  Wanton spending and waste on extravagant clothes, designer handbags and shoes leaves you with a bulging wardrobe and maxed out credit cards.  What is going on?  What is the point?  You will never be able to wear them all. You may look great but are pretty empty and have nothing to say for yourself.

In relationship readings, the reversed Empress indicates disharmony, instability and a lack of positive growth. .  You may find it hard to express your emotions or take love from the idealistic stage in the head and bring it into the heart. Your heart may be closed and cold.  You may feel disconnected from your partner or have lost touch with each other.  Children, work and chores may leave precious little time for you as a couple.  Communication and emotions are repressed and blocked creating an environment for resentment to breed in. You have forgotten each other and need to find your way back before it is too late.

Her reversed presence in a relationship reading would suggest that your sex life is either non-existent or lacking in passion.  When have you last physically touched? You really need to spice things up and have some fun as a couple.  Try to arrange date nights.  Dress up and go out but do not talk about the kids or having to put the bins out when you go home.  Try to find your way back to your courting days when you only had eyes for each other.  Sadly, Divorce and Widowhood are both representations of the reversed Empress.  If you want to save your relationship you must work hard now to get it back under control.  Take action now.

The Empress reversed can suggest commitment issues.  You may have a habit of bailing out of relationships as soon as they seem to be going somewhere or settling down.  Doing this puts you in control and blocks the natural progression and growth of a relationship.  What is it that you are afraid of?

The Empress reversed can hint at extramarital affairs and infidelity.  With her strong sensuality and passion she can be drawn to seduction and flirtation.  She can be the nightmare Vamp at parties who attracts men to her like a moth to a flame.  She won’t care if they came with their partner or not.  Her amazing looks, curvaceous body and sultry pout make women feel extremely uncomfortable.  Indeed in a less negative sense she is the impossibly beautiful woman who lives down the road from you.  No matter how hard you try, no matter how much you work out and no matter what you wear you will never come even close to looking as well.  In fact she even looks absolutely fabulous putting the bins out in the morning.

As Mother Nature in her upright her fertility and creativity can now run amok in the reversal. We have already explored how unkempt her garden can become as it flourishes with weeds and overgrowth.  When it comes to health it may indicate that the body is providing the right environment for unhealthy growths such as tumours, cysts and fibroids.  In her upright as Mother Nature she creates and gives birth, in the reverse she can become destructive and merciless with that which she creates.

Sometimes the reversed Empress suggests that time when your child bearing days are coming to an end.  This may be a difficult transition for you and hormones may have you all over the place.  The Empress asks you to remember that you too are a Triple Goddess like her and that at each stage of your journey, be it as Maiden, Mother or Crone you are important and have much to offer.  You cannot change what nature is bringing you and you cannot go back  so try to love yourself for who you are now.  She also reminds you that in time you will also get to return and be the Maiden once more so all is not lost.

When it comes to creativity the reversed Empress can indicate being artistically or creatively blocked.  This block may be internal or external.  Sometimes what the reversed Empress creates has no structure or form as she finds it hard to express herself.  You may lack belief in your artistic abilities and deny your natural talents which leads to inner frustration.  Go back and read over the upright Empress in relation to creativity and artistic abilities as the same applies in the reversed.  You have a talent that you either can’t or won’t use.  You must do something about this as great happiness can be found once you give yourself permission.

In business or career, The Empress reversed turning up can suggest lack of growth and development.  Your career may be going nowhere because it is not the right path for you.  There is a strong sense of inactivity and stunted growth.  However, your business may just be going through the incubation period and so patience may be required.  You may not have researched your market well and have now overproduced goods you cannot sell. It can indicate a very lean time in business. Some careful weeding in superfluous areas may be required. You may have over expanded and now need to bring things back to a more manageable level.  You may need to create a new product or idea to waken The Empress once more. You also need to ask yourself how well you treat those who work for you.  Do you provide a happy and caring environment for your staff?  Unhappy staff = lack of Productivity.  A lack of consideration and generosity in the workplace may be causing resentment.

If working from home this may be causing disharmony in the household.  You may be finding it hard to focus on your work with kids running around and chores building up.  You need structure and time management rules put in place and then you will succeed.

All in all it is time to return to The High Priestess , a time to go within to find true meaning in your life again. It is time to find direction and purpose.

Back to The Empress Upright


The Fool Upright  The Fool Reversed

The Magician Upright  The Magician Reversed

The High Priestess Upright   The High Priestess Reversed

The Empress Upright   The Empress Reversed

The Emperor Upright    The Emperor Reversed

The Heirophant Upright    The Heirophant Reversed

The Lovers Upright     The Lovers Reversed

The Chariot Upright   The Chariot Reversed

Strength Upright     Strength Reversed

The Hermit Upright   The Hermit Reversed

The Wheel of Fortune Upright   The Wheel of Fortune Reversed

Justice Upright   Justice Reversed

The Hanged Man Upright   The Hanged Man Reversed

Death Upright     Death Reversed

Temperence Upright     Temperence Reversed

The Devil Upright   The Devil Reversed

The Tower Upright     The Tower Reversed

The Star Upright     The Star Reversed

The Moon Upright    The Moon Reversed

The Sun Upright     The Sun Reversed

Judgement Upright      Judgement Reversed

The World Upright     The World Reversed

Back to Lesson 2


6 replies »

  1. Thank you for the fullness of your explanations of tarot cards. Your words are assisting in the design of my personal deck.


  2. Hi Vivien,

    Mind you, I’m not an artist or anything soo I’m a little shy to show them.😑😞 I’m just about finished with Strength so I’ll send you some pics shortly. Thanks for the encouragement.😊



  3. Lol! Noooo! Really, no. But it is very interesting to see the progress of my “artist” aesthetic from the first card on. Lol! You will see!

    Love you,


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