This is the fifth and last installment in this Weekly Tarot Card series. The next series will begin on Monday. However, if you’d like to get caught up on the rest of the week, you can use the following links:
The week started with a couple of exercises to help you get to know the Empress. The aim of observing the card and meditating on the card was to see what you personally see. Midway through the week, we looked at the more universal representations in the card. These layers do not make the definition completely, but put together, they help you to make your definition.
Today we look at what hat might be. The definition I provide isn’t the only definition, but it is what I personally gain through my own observations, meditations, and interpretation of the element, number, and images in the card. Before going on to read this, I encourage you to look back at the exercises and do the same.
The Empress, at her core, is a card of nurturing. She is not just the element of Earth, but she has the number 3 backing her, which is the power of creation. The wheat around her is symbol of abundance and harvest, of fruition and readiness to collect. In many depictions, the Empress is seen as pregnant, and I remember once reading a description of her that she is perpetually pregnant. Symbolically, she’s perpetually creating, nurturing, a space in which for development to happen. She is the garden in which plants happily grow, she is the eco-system that provides shelter, food, and safety to those within.
The Empress is a mother, in whatever that may mean. Each individual might have a different experience with the concept of ‘mother’. For some, the word means warmth, embracing, protective, to others they might mean manipulative with their love. The Empress is all of the definitions of mother, all in one. At her worst, she is manipulative of her children, or overbearing, smothering them. At her best, she is the encourager of growth, and the loving, guiding support that we all need. When the Empress appears, she might be asking you to consider your own relationship with your mother, or your own Empress within you.
The Empress represents the Earth. Not only is Earth her element, but I cannot think of a better definition of Mother Earth than the Empress. She is that which keeps the natural world in motion. She creates beauty, protects, shelters, feeds. She is the ocean currents, she is the mountains, the lakes, the forests, the meadows, the deserts, the ice caps. She is all of it. Sometimes she is radiant, generous, and kind, and other times she is raging volcanos, earthquakes, and tidal waves. She is the best and the worst of the natural world, but we have to love her, because she is our World.
The Empress is the symbol of fertility, and expression of the self. While the High Priestess called to bring forth ideas and to nurture them, the Empress is those ideas about to flourish. She represents abundance and the birth of new ideas and creativity. She is the feminine which needs to come out and be expressed. Allow her to take your hand and guide you.
Love, beauty, fruition, fertility, ideas, nurturing, nature, serenity, arts, happiness, desire.
The Empress is the last of the 3’s in our series. Next week we now move onto the 4’s, beginning with the Wands.
What were your experiences with the Empress? How do you feel that she is a part of your life? Or how do you feel that you need to bring her into your life more fully? Fell free to leave a comment and share your experience.
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The Aquarian Tarot in a Tin by Italian-born, American-raised David Palladini, was published originally in 1970 by U.S. Games Systems Inc, and then republished again in 2016 in a smaller size. Named after the Age of Aquarius, the Aquarian Tarot is a midieval depiction of the Rider-Waite Tarot system. The images are closer, and thus might give the impression of being more character-based rather than relying on symbolism. This intimate deck provides a stark reflection of the human condition in it’s journey through the tarot.
Faerie Tarot by Nathalie Hertz, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc, 2008. Hertz is a French artist, and the creator of several other beautiful tarot decks. The Faerie Tarot was ‘inspired by the flora and fauna of the French countryside,’ and ‘invites you to see the world in a delightful new way…blending fantasy, whimsy, and nature.’
Impressionist Tarot by Arturo Picca (artist) and Corrine Kenner (author), published by Lo Scarabeo in 2015. This deck takes works of classic impressionist paintings and recreates them to fit the meanings of the tarot. It pulls from works of Edonard Manet, Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gough, and Paul Gauguin. A truly beautiful deck, especially for those who have interest in the art world.
Prisma Visions Tarot by James R. Eads, 3rd ed., published in 2016. The deck itself is beautiful, though perhaps not for the beginning tarot reader. The suits all fit together to create a master picture displaying the energy and progression of the suits. The figures and images flow from one card to the next, showing movement within the stationary cards.
Rider-Waite by A. E. Waite. The deck used in these photos is currently out of print. I won’t say much about this deck, as it is fairly standard and probably one of the most produced decks. It serves as a standard for many tarot readers and artists, depicting classic images relating in part to the original playing cards that tarot developed from.
The Spiral Tarot by Kay Steventon. With turn-of-the-20th-century style art, this deck takes from the classic Rider-Waite deck and brings it up to the late 1800-early 1900’s, a time of industry and contemplation for the western world as it moved forward into a more technological era. I am a little biased toward this deck as it’s been my main deck for 15 years. The cards are thick with additional symbolism that can be tricky to pick out of the traditional Rider-Waite, and adds layers of Greek myth throughout the Major Arcana.
Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley (designer and author) and Lady Frieda Harris (artist), published by U. S. Games Systems, Inc., in 1978. This deck takes from most esoteric imagery, and requires the reader of the deck to have deep, initiate knowledge of the symbolism used. There is nothing within the cards that is without meaning. However, on a more surface level, the deck draws from Egyptian symbolism and from the style of the Marseille Tarot (mostly seen within the Minor Arcana). For those looking for deeper understandings of the universe, I recommend this deck. I would caution that this deck is highly advanced, and might be avoided for the budding reader.
Vampire Tarot – by Nathalie Hertz, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. in 2000. As mentioned above in reference to the Faerie Tarot, Hertze is a French artist who gained her notability through the publication of her tarot decks. The Vampire Tarot was a bestselling deck upon its release, and plays on more gothic symbolism, providing more jarring interpretations to allow for the accepting of negative forces within the world to compliment the positive forces. The deck brings together myths and legends in the form of vampires, which ‘gives tarot readers a macabre passport’ into the world of divination.