The Empress Tarot Card divinatory meanings

The Empress represents every kind of love, affection, sensuality, femininity, motherhood, fertility and creation. She is voluptuous, curvy, nurturing and caring. The Empress, cooks, bakes, keeps home, mothers you, and mothers everyone else. She cares about everyone, whether or not it is her business. She knows her role is at the centre of the family house. The Empress will decorate your house - choose the colours, the fabrics, the styles. She will do the complete makeover. The Empress creates. She represents the fertility and fructification of the Earth. She cares about the Earth. She will organise protests about the environment. She is passionate and earthy. She knows how to shake her bits. When the Empress is weak there may be fertility problems, a miscarriage or abortion. Love and creativity is at a low ebb or non-existent. Gone are the exuberant colours - everything is seen in monochrome.

Rider-Waite: The Empress

Rider-Waite EmpressA stately figure, seated, having rich vestments and royal aspect, as of a daughter of heaven and earth. Her diadem is of twelve stars, gathered in a cluster. The symbol of Venus is on the shield which rests near her. A field of corn is ripening in front of her, and beyond there is a fall of water. The sceptre which she bears is surmounted by the globe of this world. She is the inferior Garden of Eden, the Earthly Paradise, all that is symbolized by the visible house of man. She is not Regina coeli, but she is still refugium peccatorum, the fruitful mother of thousands. There are also certain aspects in which she has been correctly described as desire and the wings thereof, as the woman clothed with the sun, as Gloria Mundi and the veil of the Sanctum Sanctorum; but she is not, I may add, the soul that has attained wings, unless all the symbolism is counted up another and unusual way. She is above all things universal fecundity and the outer sense of the Word. This is obvious, because there is no direct message which has been given to man like that which is borne by woman; but she does not herself carry its interpretation.

In another order of ideas, the card of the Empress signifies the door or gate by which an entrance is obtained into this life, as into the Garden of Venus; and then the way which leads out therefrom, into that which is beyond, is the secret known to the High Priestess: it is communicated by her to the elect. Most old attributions of this card are completely wrong on the symbolism - as, for example, its identification with the Word, Divine Nature, the Triad, and so forth.

Fruitfulness, action, initiative, length of days; the unknown, clandestine; also difficulty, doubt, ignorance.

Rider-Waite: The Empress reversed card meanings

Light, truth, the unravelling of involved matters, public rejoicings; according to another reading, vacillation.

Book of Thoth: The Empress

Book of Thoth Empress Tarot cardThis is the Harmony of the Universe, that Love
unites the Will to create with the Understanding
of that Creation: understand thou thine own
Will.
Love and let love. Rejoice in every shape of love,
and get thy rapture and thy nourishment thereof

Love, beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, completion, good fortune, graciousness, elegance, luxury, idleness, dissipation debauchery, friendship, gentleness, delight.

More information

Golden Dawn - The Empress

Daughter of the Mighty Ones

Beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, luxury, dissipation.

Mathers: The Empress

Action, Plan, Undertaking, Movement in a matter, Initiative.

Reversed Card meanings

Inaction, Frittering away power, Want of Concentration, Vacillation.

Etteilla: Empress

NIGHT Obscurity, Darkness, Lack of Light, Night Scene, Mystery, Secret, Mask, Hidden, Unknown, Clandestine, Occult. Veil, Symbol, Figure, Image, Parable, Allegory, Mystic Fire, Occult Science. Hidden Machinations, Mysterious Intervention, Clandestine Actions. Blindness, Confuse, Cover, Wrap, Difficulty, Doubt, Ignorance.

Etteilla: Empress reversed card meanings

Day, Clarity, Light, Brilliance, Splendor, Illumination, Manifestation, Evidence, Truth. Clear, Visible, Luminous, Grant the Day, Seize the Day, Make Public, Make Appear. Pierce, Coming of Day, Brightened Up, Acquire Knowledge. Expedient, Easiness. Opening Up, Window, Gap, Zodiac.

Thierens: III. The Empress. Gemini.

If the Hebrew letter Gimel means the throat (as a canal for sound) and also "the hand of man half closed in the act of prehension" (P.), then it may indeed well stand for the house of Gemini as for no one else; because Gemini is the macrocosmic 'relation between the two' which is potential vibration, symbolised by 'sound,' and this sign rules the hands of man, with which he grips this relation actually. It rules the 'Word, which was with God in the beginning' and words, speech and correspondence in this world below, as above. It means cognisance, from which science may spring later, but it is not science itself. Nor is it 'action' (M.), though it is the origin of, sometimes the pretext for, activity. But it includes indecision, uncertainty, doubt, change, intercourse, reflection, appearance and everything that the sign Gemini may further communicate.

This Empress is indeed "a daughter of Heaven and Earth" (W.), for she represents the sphere of Mercury, Messenger of the Gods, and so this card always bears the meaning of messages and writing, and of news to be heard, instructions to be received.

Twelve (in older pictures nine) stars are placed around her head and this certainly means that down here on earth the messages come to us from the stars, a gentle hint at astrology. We regret that in the picture of W., the wings, with which the figure is gifted, and the shield with eagle in her right hand, as shown in older editions of this card have been omitted, for both hold a due indication of the element Air. Gemini is the first house of Air, and sound uses the air as its medium. The use of the sign of Venus is not very clear in the picture given by W. because it is not Venus but Mercury that rules the house of the Empress. One of the older editions shows the Empress holding in her left hand a wand with a heraldic lily, a sort of trefoil on its top, very suggestive of the origin of the colour or suit of Wands, which of course has a close relation with the card of Gemini.

Why this idea of the messenger is drawn as a woman, and given the name of the 'Empress' is very well explained by Mr. W. in these words: "because there is no direct message which has been given to man like that which is borne by woman." Woman rules the world. As a mother she is the 'canal' by which the human being is conducted from another world into this one, and as a female she attracts the man, in order to 'double' herself and to impart a double value to life on earth. This is indicated in the image of the Twins, originally Adam-Eve destined to be united by Knowledge. This is the card of Knowledge.

Also of 'universal fecundity' as W. has it.

3. L'Imperatrice - Paul Foster Case

Even Papus, who was led astray by the mistaken attribution of the major trumps to the Hebrew alphabet, perceived that L'Imperatrice is a symbol of Venus.

3. L'Imperatrice - well-dignified

The divinatory meanings of the card all correspond to the astrological significance of that lovely planet. They include: Fruitfulness, Beauty, luxury, pleasure, success and happiness.

3. L'Imperatrice - ill-dignified

But if the card is very badly placed in the layout it is like the afflicted Venus in astrology, and then signifies Dissipation, lust, waste of time and substance in pleasure, laziness and sensuality.

Ouspensky: Card III - THE EMPRESS

Nature in its phenomenal aspect. The ever renewing and re-creating force of Nature. The objective reality.

I felt the breath of the spring, and accompanying the fragrance of violets and lilies-of-the-valley I heard the tender singing of elves. Rivulets murmured, the treetops rustled, the grasses whispered, innumerable birds sang in choruses and bees hummed; everywhere I felt the breathing of joyful, living Nature.

The sun shone tenderly and softly and a little white cloud hung over the woods.

In the midst of a green meadow where primroses bloomed, I saw the Empress seated on a throne covered with ivy and lilacs. A green wreath adorned her golden hair and, above her head, shone twelve stars. Behind her rose two snowy wings and in her hands she held a sceptre. All around, beneath the sweet smile of the Empress, flowers and buds opened their dewy, green leaves. Her whole dress was covered with them as though each newly opened flower were reflected in it or had engraved itself thereon and thus become part of her garment.

The sign of Venus, the goddess of love, was chiselled on her marble throne.

"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.