Astrological Association: Taurus and Libra
Upright: caring, loving, warm, nurturing, unconditional love, mother, motherhood, plentiful, abundance, fertility, peace, bountiful, babies, pregnancy, birth, femininity, beauty, pleasure, receptivity
Reversed: smothering, depending too much on another, codependency, creative block, fertility problems, lack of abundance, unexpected pregnancy or a problem pregnancy
The Empress Symbolism
The Empress is before a yellow background. Yellow is the color of energy, creation, and vitality. It symbolizes radiant, vibrant energy, which brings forth all life; the breath of the world. The sun is a yellow, glowing orb of energy and without it, nothing on Earth can flourish. It is a nourishing aspect of the Empress. She uses it to create, heal and grow all her plants, children and everything else under the Sun and stars. The green color of her vegetation is a product of the sun.
She has twelve stars in her hair and a myrtle wreath as a crown. Myrtle is a sacred plant to Venus, the planet the Empress rules over. There are twelve zodiac signs and twelve months of the year. This signals that she is the great mother to everyone since she encompasses the entire zodiac. If you break down the number 12 to 1+2=3, this aligns with three being her placement in the suit.
There is a forest behind her, which is lush, green and fertile. In the forest, there is a stream or waterfall, which flows towards her. This is the same stream that flows through the entire Major Arcana, which starts at the sea behind the High Priestess and ends in the ocean of Judgement.
This lush garden depicts abundance and fertile. The trees are evergreen and cypress trees. Cypress trees are related to Venus. The evergreen trees show us that even in the dead of winter, we are still alive with new ideas and creative imagination. We should also be aware of the rhythm to nature’s beauty and so we need to take care of what seeds we plant in our own gardens, whether they are in your mind or an actual garden. Our thoughts are like seeds, ready to grow and sprout off into new ideas, actions, and material goods.
Plenty and bountiful wheat grow at her feet. The Empress is a representation of Demeter the Greek goddess of wheat and grain. According to Greek legend when Persephone, Demeter’s daughter, was kidnapped by Hades, the God of the Underworld, Demeter was so sad that the land went barren. Zeus saw that all of humanity might die from eternal winter and starvation, so he ordered Hades to give back Persephone.
Her gown is adorned with pomegranates for her daughter.
She wears pearls around her neck. Pearls are widely known to symbolize purity, beauty, and spiritual wisdom. They are also sacred to Venus.. A pearl is the essences of a life fulfilled. It is radiant light energy that grows from an oyster’s body. The oyster is the womb and the pearl of the baby.
The Empress Upright Summary
The Empress is the ultimate mother, kind, patient and nurturing. She rules the Earth and all life on it. Just as she nurtures everything on the Earth, she can nurture your ideas too. The Empress doesn’t hold secret knowledge. She wants her children, friends or subjects to grow and prosper. She is prosperous herself. She is the embodiment of all the Queens. The Empress signifies a strong connection with our feminine side, regardless of how you identify. She urges you to create beauty in your life and allow yourself to experience pleasure.
In some cases, she can literally translate to a pregnancy. But birthing and carrying a child can be metaphorical too. Such as seeing a project you’ve labored over for months come to life. The Empress gives life. She can give life to ideas, words, businesses, or anything else that has the potential for growth. When we get her in a reading, she can point to a point of great creativity ahead. The energy of the Empress is abundant – the wheat field at her feet suggests a good harvest in the future. When discussing relationships, this card can indicate marriage.
In the place of the past, the Empress represents a past female influence. This could be anything from a role model to mother or even a bully, but the aspect to identify is that it is still having an impact on you and should be dealt with. If asked in regards to your family, it could be related to your Mother. If you’re asking about education or work, it could be that a female teacher or colleague is having an influence on you. Romance isn’t implied.
The Empress in the present position represents a new beginning, but not in the sense of starting right away. You may have just completed a task and are looking for the next project to work on. It’ll come. You could be bored and unsatisfied in your life. The maternal feeling in the card is strong, so maybe an older, more experienced feminine person can aid you.
In the position of the future, the Empress is the best position it can land in. Are you in a relationship now? If so, you or your partner is ‘becoming’ The Empress. This is a good sign. If you’re asking about work, it could be that things will pan out, eventually, and reach a comfortable plateau.
When reversed, the Empress could show a lack of growth in different aspects of your life, through either stagnation or lack of encouragement. Expect a period of poverty, in the sense that you will be lacking in the things which you desire. Consider if your lack of growth is being caused by your own influence, or if somebody else is putting it on you, especially somebody in authority who should be your guide and mentor.
She can signify a bad mother, or a helicopter parent, who smothers her children. It may come from a good place, but is actually causing harm under the surface. In very rare cases, it can signify a difficult or unplanned pregnancy.
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Cover Artwork by Trung Nguyen