(The above image is a copy of The Empress card in a standard Rider-Waite Tarot deck. The 8 symbols pointed out above are explained below.)
The Empress is a card that illustrates abundance and sensuality. Sitting relaxed on her throne, The Empress rules over the natural world. She cultivates new ideas and new situations, bringing them to a great harvest. It is a card of enjoyment for those who seek it.
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For more information about The Empress card, check out A. E. Waite’s description here.
Point 1 – POSE
The Empress sits with a relaxed pose on a cushioned couch. This goes in complete juxtaposition to the previous uptight and stiff nature of The High Priestess, and yet they both wear crowns; both natures are essential. The Empress’ pose is a reminder to relax and enjoy the world around you.
Point 2 – SCEPTER
The Empress’ scepter illustrates her rein and authority over the kingdom of nature. She might have a relaxed pose, but she finds strength in her disposition. In comparison to The Fool’s bindle, The Magician’s wand, and The High Priestess’ scroll, The Empress’ scepter signal’s her as the first ruler of the deck.
Point 3 – ROBE
The Empress’ robe is covered in designs of pomegranates and flowers. This blends her into the natural background and illustrates the symbol of fertility. The pomegranates on the robe also connect The Empress to the seemingly contradictory card of The High Priestess
Point 4 – HEART
At the bottom of her throne lies a stone heart with the symbol of Venus carved on it. This reiterates The Empress as a symbol of femininity and emphasis her strong connection to love. The stone is gray to convey the idea of unbiased empathy for everyone.
Point 5 – THRONE
The Empress lies on a cushioned red throne. The color red signifies passion and gusto. While The Empress in relaxed, she is no less determined to rule with grit. The throne stands upon a gray floor. Like the heart, the color gray relates to The Empress’ impartiality. She rules for all beings.
Point 6 – CROWN
The Empress wears a crown of 12 stars. Of its significance, there are a few possibilities. The 12 stars could reiterate The Empress’ connection to the natural world; 12 being the number of months in the year and the number of zodiacs in the sky. It could also be an allusion to the 12 tribes of Israel and thus an illustration of The Empress’ spiritual authority; there are many paintings of the Madonna with a 12-star crown.
Point 7 – GRAIN
Like the pomegranates on The Empress’ robe, the grain symbolizes the fruitfulness and abundance in life. Nurture and take care of the ideas and relationships in your life so that you can harvest them for joy.
Point 8 – RIVER
The similarities and differences between The High Priestess and The Empress have been analyzed above. What connects them both is the river. Flowing from the back left, we can stipulate that the source of the river is the blue robe from The High Priestess. The river flows into other cards, always illustrating the necessity of spiritual enlightenment.
An upright Empress represents your sensuality, fertility, and expression. Take a moment and be grateful for all of your pleasures in life. The world can sometimes feel like a dark place but if you look close enough you can see all of the beauty that surrounds us. Deeply rooted in nature, an upright Empress can encourage us to connect more with Mother Earth; take a trip, go camping, briefly detach yourself from the fast pace world of modern life.
If an upright Empress signals a recognition of sensuality then a reverse Empress signals a need for more sensuality. Make self-care a priority in your life. Treat yourself to a spa day or to a yoga retreat. A reverse Empress might also signal a blockage to your creative abilities. Do what you can to remove distractions. Focus on what you want to do and work hard so that one day you will have an enormous crop to harvest.
For more Tarot Card Meanings, check out our blog here.
About the author: John Taylor is a content writer and freelancer through the company Upwork.com. You may view his freelancing profile here. He has a B. A. in English, with a specialty in technical writing, from Texas A&M University and a M. A. in English from the University of Glasgow. You may view his previous articles about Tarot here and his LinkedIn profile here.