“The multicultural, pan-gender Empress appears with arms outstretched, embracing all manner of Earth’s creatures … The Empress represents signifies a strong connection to femininity, no matter what our gender, translating as gentleness, elegance, sensuality, fertility, creative expression and nurturing.” – Holly Sierra (Pride Tarot Guidebook, © US Games Systems, Inc)
Archetype: The Earth Mother
The Earth Mother seems to go back to the most ancient and primal parts of the collective unconsciousness. As Creatrix, they are the source of all things born or made. Visualizing a pangender Earth Mother isn’t easy for me to do because both the concept of femaleness is simply hardcoded into my 50+-year-old brain as an attribution for both “Earth” and “Mother”. It helps me to remember that regardless of our biologically-derived sex, all humans strings of esoteric yinyang code inside us. We’re all at least a little Earth Mother and Sky Father on the inside; it’s inside the human psyche microcosm where all the archetypes manifest.
From a textual source (dating ~3200 BCE) Inana (Sumerian goddess of fertility and war) is the oldest known deity but mythically, she is the granddaughter of Namma. Namma is a name for the supernal mother who gave birth asexually to the gods of the universe and presumably, the universe itself. In my mind, Namma is the primordial “soup” unfolded from the Monad during the first nanoseconds of creation.
The Empress is a human representation of the Earth Mother Inanna who in turn is a material aspect of ineffable, cosmic Namma. Since we humans are made of the same star stuff as the rest of material reality on the atomic level, we are all esoterically grandchildren of the Earth Mother, grandchild of the Cosmos. We can all draw on the Empress’ fertility to create life and shape energy.
The womb tree: Cupping the Empress is a tree that may or may not have been inspired by Miranda Gray’s International Womb Tree project. Miranda Gray is herself the author of the Red Moon the Oracle. Wombs bring to mind possibility, potential, fertility and abundance but also the darker and more sinister associations that come with the risks of trying to give birth.
The robe of creatures: The center of the Empress’ robe is the sky from which birds are emerging as if traveling through a portal or tunnel of light. The colors of the robe symbolize fertility, spring, and nature. The ferns which decorate both the robe and the ethereal background are associated in a number of cultures with new life, new hopes, and new beginnings. Creatures from every part of the animal kingdom including several sets of human pictograms provide a sense of the sheer biodiversity of our world. The robes reflect a middle world that is both a macrocosm compared to unicellular organisms and a microcosm compared to the Solar system).
The rooted spiral of stars: Behind the Empress’ head is a spiral filled with blue stars that represent her nurturing dominion extends beyond the planet to all of creation. Surrounding it are bees and dragonflies facing outward that suggest the expansiveness of that spiral. Spirals represent spiritual evolution and connection, especially the connection between a human soul and divinity. Bees have a number of associations with creative force, community, and symbiosis. Dragonflies have an equal number of associations with change and transformation.
Reading The Empress In General
Upright this card could mean something like:
- Getting “back to nature” will help your mood, stress, anxiety, and/or depression.
- Good fortune, abundance, happy experiences are present or will be arriving soon.
- The person this card signifies is nurturing, protective, wise, and/or trustworthy
- Extremely auspicious for starting a new job, family, hobby, romantic relationship, spiritual path, etc.
Reversed this card could mean something like:
- The problem might be that are depending too much on other people for help.
- If you are feeling angry or jealous, that is coloring your judgement over this person or situation.
- Don’t let other people take advantage of you in this situation; fight for what matters.
- The person this card signifies loves you but can be very demanding and cruel; it probably has something to do with their own past and other people you’ve only heard about.
The Empress In Questions About Relationships
You As The Empress Upright: Just be yourself. You have all the right qualities to make a really good partner; if this other person doesn’t seem interested? Don’t let that make you question your worth. Someone else is out there who’s going to recognize just how special you are and treat you accordingly.
You As The Empress Reversed: If this relationship is causing you a lot of anger, jealousy, and/or paranoia? The root of the problem isn’t what your partner is doing, it is in your perceptions of them and what they do.
The Other Person As The Empress Upright: This person is extremely loving, nurturing, and probably has a lot of affection for animals or kids. They might be looking for a serious, long-term relationship like a marriage or they are/were. How you express love towards everything this person loves and cares will always have a huge influence on your relationship together.
The Other Person As Empress Reversed: Right now, this person is involved in a complicated relationship (at home or work) that has to be sorted out before they can focus on anything new with you. If this is someone you are already involved with and you know what is causing the chaos? Be patient and supportive; try to help reduce the drama and make sure not to contribute to it.
“The Empress fills you with the entirety of the world’s beauty if you let her in. She shows you in no uncertain terms, that you are never, ever alone. You are part and parcel of the glistening, pulsating world of energetic and beautific connection.
― Sasha Graham
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