Updated: Jun 9, 2018
We’re featuring The Empress this week in our tarot series. In this series we take a closer look at the Rider-Waite style of tarot, and each post features a different card with tips for readings and advice for bringing the lessons of the cards into our lives.
The Spirit of the Empress
Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? ‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells Pumping in my living room. Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise. [...]
Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I’ve got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs?
- Maya Angelou, Still I Rise
With the Empress card the Tarot asks us to channel our inner Venus, Demeter, Freya, or Anu — regardless of our biological gender or identity. While the High Priestess governs the spiritual feminine, the Empress is the epitome of the material feminine. In short, she is self-possessed — graceful in both body and spirit — and possesses much. She is a true queen, offering stability and safety, and presides over all that she surveys.
In most decks the Empresses is depicted both serene and sensuous as an aura of calm surrounds her. The earth beneath her feet bears fruit or yields crops in sympathetic abundance with her fertile and giving nature: she is both Earth Mother and the primordial mother to us all.
She often rests upon soft cushions or is clothed in luxurious robes — this is as much a sign of her material wealth as an indicator of her personal tastes. The physicality of her nature gives way to both her sensuality and her (typically) domestic surroundings. She is fecundity incarnate, and a great harbinger for romantic relations, domestic happiness, pregnancy, and material wealth.
It is important to note that the Empress’ abundance is far from the shallow and jaded materialism we often see on display in today’s status-obsessed world. The Empress’ outer wealth is a reflection of her inner emotional riches. She holds within herself a deep connection to nature itself and to her family — including the friends, mentors, and lovers she chooses to adopt into her inner circle.
In a Reading
When you receive the Empress upright, you are being called to indulge in your inner material and emotional feminine side. She represents beauty, sensuality, domesticity, pregnancy, motherhood, and fertile creative expression.
On occasion she can herald a romantic relationship, pregnancy, or birth. Because of her nurturing nature, she will also often appear when we are in need of “mothering” or a maternal presence in our lives.
At her core, the Empress stresses the importance of emotional connection, both to each other and to nature. Should you receive this card in a reading, consider returning to your roots, both literally and figuratively, and grounding yourself in your relationships and the natural world around you.
If you receive the Empress reversed, consider what or who is depleting your emotional or material resources? Inverted she represents low self-esteem, flagging energy or self-care, a loss of personal power, and emotional or material neglect. Symptoms of this include discontent, indecision, insecurity, disharmony in your personal relationships, and feeling restless or unrooted.
You may find yourself stuck in a scarcity mindset, with a constant sense of not having or not being enough. You are also likely placing others’ needs above your own, suppressing your own desires or self-care.
When this card appears inverted in the context of relationships (either personal or professional), consider if you have been able to freely express your needs, and in-turn have had them met.
The Empress’ Advice
The Empress encourages all of us to indulge in our senses and our emotional depths, with a reminder that doing so is a radical act of self-care and self-love. Naturally, she teaches us this best by modeling it herself.