3 – The Empress

This article is part of a series of posts that will compare each card in the Tarot across different decks in order to study and explore each archetype and concept more deeply. This is not necessarily meant to be a teaching tool for others, but if you like to study the Tarot as much as I do, I hope you find it interesting. Enjoy!

For more on the decks referenced here please another page in my blog: Tools of the Locksmith: https://wordpress.com/page/theramblinglocksmith.com/163

A major reference for this study was “Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom” by Rachel Pollack.


This week we explore the feeling side of the female archetype – The Empress. Where last week’s card of The High Priestess represented introspection and thinking, The Empress is the pure emotion and the passionate approach to life with feeling. The Empress is about experiencing the world in a very physical way through nurturing and growing life itself. She is the Great Mother archetype.

In the Tarot of Mystic Moments the Empress wears a skirt of flowers and is surrounded by nature. A deep connection with nature is only possible by being out in nature and not reading or imagining it. It means going out on hikes, growing things in the dirt, growing food, growing people.

The Empress in this card carries a child and has taken off her crown to already hand to this child as a gesture of protective love. In this way its not just experiencing nature but protecting it and protecting all life.

She is truly Mother Nature, and a way to ask yourself what you are cultivating in the physical world, and if you are spending enough time in it or in nature, or if you are spending too much time in your head.

In the Way Home Tarot we see trees growing directly from a heart with the roots of the trees both being nurtured by and protecting the heart.

In the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith empress card the Empress has a shield with a heart on it. In this card the idea of unconditional love is taken even further to represent something that both nurtures and protects us.

Are you able to feel and receive as well as give unconditional love? Can you see it as a strength? If not you may need to explore which healing process might help you reach the ability to feel love in the world.

In the Tarot of the Divine the Empress is represented by Our Lady of Guadalupe – a Catholic Saint who preformed two miracles – one was a healing miracle and one was a miracle in the natural world with roses appearing on a hillside.

Healing ourself and others is a quality of the Empress, and part of healing is growth. Where do you need to heal, or how do you want to help others to heal and grow? Where do you need to grow yourself? Connect to your higher self and create your own miracles.

In the Voyager Tarot the Empress represents the law of preservation and the power to resurrect, re-create and revive shown here through the Egyptian goddess Selket who cures scorpion and other poisons. These are powerful words and we can only access what they mean for us if we are willing to deeply experience and connect with all of our emotions.

I’ve been writing about how important feeling vs thinking is in this archetype and this is the first card where we see some actual water which typically represents the emotional path of life.

Our emotions are rivers running through us and beneath us and they connect us to all of human experience. Without connecting to them we will most likely feel disconnected from others and from life, maybe even poisoned. Maybe we disconnected in order to protect ourselves and we need to convince ourselves that it is safe to reconnect and feel again. Being able to feel is a way to breath and experience the world, let any poison you have experienced be removed and allow yourself to feel your life again.

The dove over the Empresses head in this card represents peace – the peace we feel when we heal.

Well, I did say I wanted to see more water….in the Afro-Brazilian Tarot the Empress is represented by Yamanja, or as I’ve heard her called before, Yemoja in the Yoruba language. She is the mother of all Gods and in the Afro Brazilian pantheons, the power of the moon harnessed into controlled but nurturing emotion. The moon influences the waves and brings them back to the shore. Expanding on that we can picture that Yemoja is helping us feel grounded in our emotions as opposed to be tossed about at sea.

It is hard when we feel tossed about in the sea of our own emotion, we may need help from Yemoja to feel grounded in our feelings. But we can’t learn how to without going in the water in the first place.

Where do you need to dive back into how you experience, feel and grow in the world? If this card is speaking to you today you are ready…take the plunge!