3. The Empress

Our second-tier Tarot resources weigh in on the Empress as follows:

992ar03 Stephan Hoeller writes:

“Universal fecundity and matronal benevolence radiate from this Arcanum [The Empress], which is designed to symbolize the doorway of the double birth of the soul.  On the initial pathway, it has to do with generation, the birth of things, beings, and ideas; while on the pathway of return, it has to do with regeneration, the birth of divinity out of the womb of humanity.  For this reason, in some Tarot decks, the Empress is portaryed as pregnant” (Stephan Hoeller, “The Fool’s Pilgrimage“, page 110).

Amber Jayanti suggests that she is, indeed, pregnant, and continues as follows:

“The empress is your creative imagination — when filled with the desire to create something, you should be willing to nurture and nourish it along to birth and afterwards” (Tarot for Dummies 79).

Arthur Waite agrees that she is “connected with the ideas of universal fecundity and in a general sense with activity” and P.D. Ouspensky address her as follows:

“Queen of life,” I said, “why is it so bright and joyful all about you? Do you not know of the grey, weary autumn, of the cold, white winter? Do you not know of death and graveyards with black graves,damp and cold? How can you smile so joyfully on the opening flowers, when everything is destined to death, even that which has not yet been born?”
“For answer the Empress looked on me still smiling and, under the influence of that smile, I suddenly felt a flower of some clear understanding open in my heart (The Symbolism of the Tarot).

Finally, Joan Bunning writes:

“The Empress represents the fertile, life-giving Mother who reigns over the bounty of nature and the rhythms of the Earth. From her comes all the pleasures and joys of the senses and the abundance of new life in all its forms. The Empress encourages you to strengthen your connections with the natural world which is the ground of our being. Too often false sophistications and pleasures take us far from our roots.  Let the Empress remind you to keep your feet firmly planted in the Earth” (Learning the Tarot 119).

All of our sources are in agreement that The Empress represents fecundity and creativity–that she is in some sense the source (and/or intimately connected to the source) of all things.  But Tomberg goes further by 1) suggesting a connection to sacred magic, 2) making explicit the vertical nature of this connection, and 3) linking authentic creativity and sacred magic to the idea of service (or submission to God’s will) and incarnation.  

Additional second and third tier materials may be added from time to time…  Click here for the primary study guide on the Empress…

preview 03. The Empress4 resized The Emperor


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