3-The Empress

3 The Empress

The Empress Tarot divinatory meanings

The Empress represents every kind of love, affection, sensuality, femininity, motherhood, fertility and creation. She is voluptuous, curvy, nurturing and caring. She 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. She 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 in monochrome.

<<High Priestess  | The Emperor>>


Image of The Empress in the Rider-Waite tarot deck
The Empress – Rider-Waite

A 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.

Reversed meanings

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

Book of Thoth: The Empress

Image of the 3-The Empress tarot card in the Book of Thoth
Book of Thoth Empress

This 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 – Daughter of the Mighty Ones

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


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

Reversed meanings

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


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: reversed 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.  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 macro cosmic ‘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.

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: III – THE EMPRESS

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

<<High Priestess  | The Emperor>>

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The Empress tarot meanings - love, affection
The Empress represents every kind of love, affection, sensuality, femininity, motherhood, fertility and creation. She is voluptuous, nurturing and caring.

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