The Empress (3)
“Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.” ~ William Wordsworth
The Rider-Waite deck portrays a woman seated on luxurious cushions. Her gown is decorated with pomegranates. A crown of stars rests upon her head, and she holds a scepter in her hand. The landscape around her is lush and fertile; a river flows nearby, while growing wheat ripens at her feet. A heart-shaped seal bearing a female symbol resides next to her seat.
Cushions: Appreciation of luxury
Female Symbol: Femininity, female sexuality
Heart-Shaped Shield: Universal love
River: Flow of life
Mothering, Fruitfulness, Abundance, Senses, Nature
Having been enlightened by the wisdom of the High Priestess, the Fool next meets the Empress. With a motherly smile, she sits upon her throne surrounded by the lush abundance of Nature. She teaches the Fool how to use his senses and to delight in the goodness of the natural world. Through his experiences, the Fool learns that creation, like a newly planted seed, is fragile. It requires fertile soil, patience, nurturing, and attention to bring it to fruition. Understanding at last that his future will take time to build and grow, the Fool thanks the Empress and continues on his way.
To learn how to give life to our ideas and projects, and to enjoy our natural existence.
The Empress is life’s womb, where creation may gestate and grow until it is ready to be born. Whether the creation is the conception of new life, love, or the formation of a project or idea it must be sustained through careful attention and care. In this sense, the Empress symbolizes the essence of Motherhood in all of its divine forms.
The Empress can also represent the bounty of nature and the inherent rhythms of the Earth. From her comes all the innate pleasures and joys of physical life. The Empress encourages us to strengthen our connections with the natural world, which is the root of our existence; she asks us to set aside the intricacies of our lives to enjoy the simplicities of Mother Earth.
The Empress can also symbolize lavish abundance of all kinds — food, pleasure, beauty — the kind that nourish our senses with delight. A passionate and deep love of life is reflected in the Empress, instilling within us all the desire to embrace life’s bountiful goodness.