Empress is the fourth card of the Major Arcana, and it is the second card where a woman figure is at the forefront. What was an all-inclusive representation of the feminine aspect of the Universe in High Priestess is addressed as the Mother archetype in this card.
Empress is depicted as a fair-haired matron residing on a bank of pillows in a lush woodland, with a river running through it. Her attire consists of a simple white gown embroidered with pomegranates, a gold scepter and a crown of stars. In the bank of pillows, the dominance of the color red and a heart-shaped pillow with the Venus symbol (♀) catches the eye. In front of the Empress, there is a wheat field.
The background of the card with the predominant colors (green, yellow and gold) -the woodland and the river- point out to the peace, growth, vitality and fertility emphasized thoroughly in this card. The pomegranates embroidered on the white gown of the Empress also symbolize fertility and the rebirth of a woman into the maternity. Another correspondence to fertility is exhibited with the wheat-field in front the Empress and the symbol of Venus on the heart-shaped pillow; the latter is also representing the love and affection. The scepter in the left hand of the Empress symbolizes her indirect influence over life whereas the Crown of Stars suggests her association with the Divine; or her sacredness. That being said, the dominance of the color red in the pillows, symbolizing lust and desires, indicates that she is not exempt from human shortcomings.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
The Empress is a card that brings forward the fertility, nurturing and caring. The Empress, like the High Priestess, is wise and tranquil; yet quite unlike her she undertakes an Earthly role in creational processes; that being the role of a Mother. As such, she also represents creative expressions and creativity; and in doing so, she strengthens her aethereal role: She is the procreator and protector. Although she does not enforce any structure; as the Mother Nature, she is the originator of all possible structures.
Behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.
-Mitch Albom, For One More Day
This card, therefore; calls for connection with the inner self through earthly activities; that might be anything that leads up to a sense of fulfillment; such as meditation, spending time with loved ones, an escapade in nature or a fine dinner, the list is endless. The Empress card signifies that one can connect with his Higher Self through connecting with his earthly self as these are not fully separated from each other, and the Earth (Nature) is a lashing point between them.
In a reading, the person represented by the Empress would be wise, caring, nurturing and patient. The main feature of character would be observance and helpfulness, as well the appreciation of beauty, sensuality and creativity. In a relationship context, this card would imply that the connection is built upon genuine affection and has the potential of deepening into a new, more mature level. In a problematic relationship, this card might signify that the problems would be overcome through an understanding, communicative and creative approach. Career-wise, the Empress means abundance and a job that allows for creative expression. Furthermore, it might point out a nurturing and friendly environment in the workplace rather than a working environment where the employees are seen as just another commodity.
All in all, the Empress is a card of abundance and creativity that signifies productivity and nurturing that would be found in rediscovery through nature.
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