The Empress is, quite simply, the Earth Goddess. She is feminine sensuality and creativity at its’ height. Unlike the High Priestess she doesn’t sit rigidly on a throne but reclines casually on a chair that looks like it was made for making love. Her legs are slightly spread and she is openly sexual.
When the archetype of the Empress is blowing through your life you will experience a powerful blast of the feminine and all of its’ creative energy. For a woman this card may indicate a pregnancy or a desire for pregnancy. If already a mother it may show a refocusing on the nurturing, feminine side of parenting. For a man, this may show a gently powerful, nurturing person entering his life. There can be a period of material comfort and emotional abundance as a result of this. There may be an opening of the man’s gentler, kinder nature.
For either sex, this can indicate a period of immense creativity and fertility. The wheat in the foreground hearkens back to Demeter, the Goddess of Earth, agriculture, and fertility. This may represent a strong interest in gardening and growing and a need to reconnect with Mother Earth.
There is quite simply nothing negative about this card. It’s a card of growth, creativity, sensuality, fertility and expansion. We like it.
Reversed: Blocked creativity and a lack of abundance. In a woman it may represent complications around the issue of birth: unwanted or complicated pregnancies, infertility, abortion. In a man it may represent a total rejection of his feminine, nurturing side and embracing the cold, male archetype or perhaps sterility or vasectomies. In either sex it can indicate poor parenting and withdrawn, disinterested mothers or fathers. If real estate is involved it may indicate a poor choice that fails to enhance the spirits and lives of the buyers. A period of lack of financial resources may be at hand.
A few thoughts on this card beyond what I go in to in my book, “Just the Tarot.”
The United States is a society which was firmly rooted in puritanism. The Empress runs smack up against those elements.
For one thing, she is openly, joyously sexual. There is nothing hidden or coy about it. She is firmly and comfortably settled in her body and happy to be 100% of a woman. We emerged from a tradition that viewed women as socially and intellectually inferior and viewed their bodies as – at the worst, unclean and unholy – and at the best as some sort of fleshly trap to make good christian men think evil, lustful thoughts. The Empress looks those men straight in the eyes and says, “Go ahead and think all the lustful thoughts you want. In fact . . . what have you got?”
Another aspect of The Empress that goes against that puritan tradition is her wonderful sensuality. She is all about comfort, leisure, hot baths, tenderness and just plain loving life right here on this beautiful Earth.
The puritan tradition tells us that life is hard and that’s good. The more we deny our own sensuality the holier and closer to god we become. Think of the Shaker chair: upright, stiff, designed so that the person who is using it WON’T be comfortable because comfort might make us enjoy our bodies.
The Empress quite clearly says, “To hell with that! You couldn’t even make love in that chair without it falling over. Where’s my couch?”
Unfortunately, that’s still an ongoing battle in our national psyche. There are still way too many people who think that taking a little time for themselves, enjoying their bodies and luxuriating in this beautiful world is wrong. Incorporating The Empress into your life is about rejecting that puritan, workaholic, type A model and learning to self-nurture. Relax, stroke, love.