Journey Through the Major Arcana: The Empress

By Joy Marshall  | Instagram

Our journey through the Major Arcana next brings us to The Empress. She is number three in the Fool’s Journey. 

Photo by Witching Hour Photography

The Empress sits luxuriously on a throne covered with resplendent pillows and rich fabrics. She wears an elaborate gown and a crown of 12 stars. In one hand she holds a pomegranate. Behind her is a forest, and in front of her stretches a field. In RWS decks, one of the pillows by her feet displays the symbol of Venus, and she holds a scepter in one hand. Additionally, she sits in a field of wheat (sometimes depicted as corn), with a waterfall behind her. 

The Symbolism of the Empress

The Empress is all about abundance. She is the “Mother” of the Tarot and could even be considered Mother Nature herself. Everything around her is vibrant with life, ripe with promise. All of the symbolism in this card leads back to these themes. She is the very embodiment of beauty and grace. The Empress connects to the natural world around her, and uses the energy as a source of connection and renewal. 

The 12 star crown symbolizes her connection to the 12 months of the year. Her crown is a reminder that abundance can be found throughout all cycles of the year and of life. 

The history behind what influenced the Tarot deck we are familiar with today is complicated. But it’s safe to say, much of the symbolism came from a time when people were very dependent on nature to survive. If they didn’t have a good harvest, their very lives were at stake. This is a really important thing to keep in mind when looking at The Empress. The birth of children, animals and crops was felt much more keenly. Children often didn’t survive to adulthood. A lost harvest meant death. 

The Empress symbolizes a harvest to the point of richness. An indication that life not only came to be but thrived. 

Connection with Divine Femininity

This card represents a Mother of Thousands, divine femininity and the promise of continued life. It indicates a strong connection to your feminine side, whether you are a man or woman. The Empress invites us to connect with our feminine energy. Be elegant, enjoy your sensuality, immerse yourself in creativity and beauty. Take some time to nurture your soul, and that of your loved ones. Indulge in your senses, maybe even go ahead and “treat yo’ self!” (Parks and Rec anyone?) 

Ultimately, everything about this card is bright, shining and warm. It is a very happy card! Traditionally, it indicates a birth. It could be the birth of a child, but it could also be the birth of an idea! Perhaps you have thought of some new creative pursuit that will bring you an abundance of happiness. Perhaps you have a very nurturing person in your life, or you yourself are that person. When you see this card, take a moment to reflect on the abundance you’ve built. You have done an amazing job, and you should be really proud! 

About the Contributors: Joy Marshall and Tatiana Pimentel are a photographer-model duo on a journey to create accessible and diverse fantasy art that tells a story and helps people connect to their own path. Find more information at The Witching Hour Photography.

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