When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.
– George Bernard Shaw
PART 1 – THE EMPRESS SYMBOLISM
The knowledge acquired from the High Priestess is now brought to life by the Empress. Like a newborn, she is full of vital energy ready to be converted into actions. She is impatient to implement her new limitless source of enthusiasm but she has no experience yet. Now is the time for her to develop her innate charm abilities, gain confidence in her strength and consolidate her seduction power.
The above Empress rendering was designed by Emily Balivet, an amazingly talented symbolic painter. We will see further below some symbolic similarity with the Symbolon Empress arcanum.
Emily´s Empress emerging nakedness and long red hair reminds Sandro Botticelli “Birth of Venus”. Birth, love and beauty are exactly what the Empress symbols are all about. In her painting, Emily represented the Empress naked (newborn pure innocence) but partially covered (minimal decency protection) with a red (life) shawl draped loosely (freedom) around her body. She holds a scepter (regal power) with her left (receptive) hand and wears a floating (emergence) starry diadem (cosmic power) over her head (intellectual and spiritual abilities). She sits on solid rock (stability) with her right (active) foot touching the water (feelings) of a flowing river (real life). The decor is made of abundant vegetation and palatial ornaments (wealthy empire). With the next arcanum we will meet her consort the Emperor.
The tarot arcana and the Chinese five elements
The following design shows that there is a perfect sequential match between the first 5 tarot arcana and the Chinese 5 elements.
(1) The Magician = beginning = mercury = METAL = Fall (to plant)
(2) The High Priestess = seed gestation = WATER = Winter (to germinate)
(3) The Empress = newborn burst to life = WOOD = Spring (to emerge)
(4) The Emperor = sun at high noon = FIRE = Summer (to crop)
(5) The High Priest = material spirit = EARTH = Indian Summer (to wrap up)
The tarot arcana and Astro Tarology “Flower of Life”
Before detailing the Empress symbols in the four previously selected tarot decks, let’s look at the Fool (#0), the Magician (#1), the High Priestess (#2) and the Empress (#3) positions in the Astro Tarology “Flower of Life”. That structure works for almost all tarot decks major arcana. We selected the Tarot de Marseille (TDM) where the Fool is called “Le Mat”, the Magician “Le Bateleur”, the High Priestess “La Papesse” and the Empress “L’Impératrice” (this is the first arcanum with the similar wording in English and French). All four can be seen at the image bottom.
The Empress represents the link between Venus (love and beauty) and Jupiter (abundance and success). Venus gives the Empress her seductive power and Jupiter her imperial aura.
Let’s now observe the four different Empress arcana
Tarot de Marseille (TDM)
The seed planted with the Magician germinated with the High Priestess is now hatching with the Empress. It’s springtime now and the young shoot is exploding to life. The TDM Empress is like an inexperienced teenager with plentiful life energy ready to change the world. Looking at the TDM Empress symbols, we see (1) a young (newly born) woman sitting firmly (stability) on a throne (power), (2) holding a scepter (high power) in her left (receptive) hand and (3) a shield (nobility) in her right (active) hand, (4) the shield represents a yellow (intellectual) unfinished eagle (imperial power in progress), (5) she wears an ornate orange, yellow and red tiara (rich life and mental power), (6) the throne back is sky blue (divine power), there is a white (pure and virgin) snake (sexuality) on the floor (material), (7) the floor is tiled (palace) with a green plant (nature), (8) under her left elbow is a baptism jar (purification).
To reach a higher awareness level, the TDM Empress needs to experience her seduction power and build self-confidence.
Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot (RWS)
The outdoor RWS Empress symbolism is of a higher level than that of the indoor TDM Empress. All in her and in her surrounding evokes nature abundance and fertility. She is Mother Earth, Mother nature, radiating from earth center. Let’s explore the arcanum symbols in detail. (1) Her heart shape (love on earth) shield (authority) on her side (more universal, she is not holding the shield like in the TDM Empress) is marked by the Venus glyph (Roman goddess of universal love and relationship = Greek Aphrodite) with a yellow-filled circle (solar light beauty) over a cross (earthy incarnation), (2) A field of ripe corn (abundant fertility) is growing at her feet (material world), (3) Luxuriant trees (wealth of foliage = abundance) are in the background, (4) Through the trees, a river meanders (flow of life) to a cascade of endless water falling (renewal) into a pond (life pool) at her legs level (fertility), (5) Abundant pomegranate fruits (Persephone seasonal death and rebirth) ornate her dress (Empress = Demeter as seen below in MT = Mother nature = mother of Persephone the High Priestess), (6) She sits on a red (life) casual seat (she is outside) made of a set of cushion and bolster (material comfort), (7) Her legs are open (like the TDM Empress she may be pregnant of a new life = fertility, femininity, sexuality), (8) In her right (active) hand she holds a short scepter (ruling earth) at her head level (spiritual), (9) A laurel wreath (peace) covers her hair, (10) She wears a 12-star (the 12 tribes of Israel or the 12 zodiac signs) diadem (high power) over her head (spiritual), (11) her neck is covered with a 7-pearl (7 planets visible with the naked eye = septenary) necklace (separating the spiritual head from the material body), (12) The sky is yellow (intellectual-spiritual consciousness).
To reach a higher awareness level, the RWS Empress needs to be inspired by nature abundance of love, beauty and fertility.
Mythic Tarot (MT)
While in the above TDM and RWS arcana, uncertainty remains about the Empress pregnancy, in the MT arcanum there is no more doubt. All three, though, are perfect symbols of fertility. The Empress symbolizes motherhood and is associated with Demeter, Mother Earth of the Greek mythology. As in the RWS Empress, the MT Empress shares rich fields and a flowing river as symbols of abundant nature. However, the riverside trees are now shorter and the mountains are treeless. This duality evokes the seasons alternations associated with Demeter’s daughter Persephone (the High Priestess).
Spiritually blessed by heaven, Demeter was the Greek goddess of the harvest, grain and fertility. She also presided over seasonal nature cycles of life, death and rebirth resulting from her daughter Persephone yearly returns from the underground to earth with each new Spring. As the earth mother, Demeter also brought agriculture to mankind, more specifically the cereals. She also taught women how to make the bread from the grains. Before anything else, the MT Empress represents the Mother Earth experience.
Here are the arcanum details. (1) Earthy Demeter is surrounded by a rich wheat field with red flowers and in her left arm she carries a wheat sheaf (ruling over nature and production of vegetation, fruits, food), (2) Her dress is richly covered with flowers and leaves (Mother Earth), (3) She wears a 12-stone necklace (the 12 zodiac signs correlating cosmic laws with the seasons cycles), (4) Her abundant brown (the earth color) floating hair (free open receptivity) is covered with a crown (ruler) shaped with castles (home peace, safety and security), (5) A river flows from the mountains valley (life fertility) to an elongated body of water (reunited water parts associated with family love, relationships, unions, marriages and children), (6) Treeless mountains are agricultural fields (nature attribute), (7) the sky is blue (sweet Spring time) with some clouds (a reminder of Persephone abduction).
To reach a higher awareness level, the MT Empress needs to connect with nature and enjoy its simple pleasures.
Symbolon Tarot (ST)
The ST Empress is associated with the Lover archetype. The ST arcana looks like a symbolic composite of the previous ones. Like Mother Earth in the MT, the ST arcana shows an abundance of trees, flowers and fruits. Like the RSW and MT, the ST Empress is set outside closer to nature values. Like in the TDM and Emily’s painting, the ST Empress evokes the power of seduction.
With one breast exposed, a more voluptuous demeanor, a semi-transparent shawl and her right foot touching loosely the pool water, the ST Empress expresses her sexual power of seduction. The fruits basket and the jar of wine evoke earthy pleasure. A dove flying in a blue sky represents peace in this Garden of Eden. Crown and diadems are gone and replaced by flowers. The power of love is ruling all over. She looks at herself in a mirror which indicates that she needs self-confidence validation in her newly discovered seduction power.
In the corners, the astrologic symbols indicate the zodiac earth sign of Taurus and its ruling Venus the planet of love and beauty. There are 12 zodiac signs and four elements (fire, earth, air and water). Each element is thus present in three zodiac signs. In this case, let’s look at the triplicity of the element earth. While all three are denominated “earth”, their materiality is different. There is the Capricorn mountain rock, the Virgo beach sand and the Taurus fertile soil. In total symbiosis, Mother Earth and the Taurus zodiac sign are sharing nature, agriculture and fertility symbols.
To reach a higher awareness level, the ST Empress needs to enjoy the power of seduction, love and beauty in earthy pleasures.
In a summary, we can say that to reach a higher awareness level, the Empress needs to (1) experience her seduction power and build self-confidence, (2) be inspired by nature abundance of love, beauty and fertility, (3) connect with nature and enjoy its simple pleasures and (4) enjoy the power of seduction, love and beauty in earthy pleasures.
As a practical simple advice, your inner Empress recommends that you manifest freely your natural power of seduction with love and beauty.
The mother and the lover archetypes
Adam had a wife before Eve. Her name was Lilith
Below is a description of the earthy Taurus psychological meanings.
Click on 2 for the EMPRESS Practical Exercises