Nurturing with the Empress
78 Miles of Mystery: Mile 3
It’s mile 3 of 78 Miles of Mystery, and joining us on our road trip is the Empress, Key 3 of the Tarot, and the 4th card of the Major Arcana. A card of feminine power, abundance, and fertility, she’s a nurturing woman with major Mother Earth vibes. Where the High Priestess brought a passive energy to our journey, the Empress now fills the air with passion.
The voluptuous Empress sits on a red-cushioned chair, holding a sceptre and wearing a crown of twelve stars (one for each sign of the zodiac). She also wears a necklace of pearls (representing the planets). Her white robe features pomegranates. Her seat oozes sensuality with its scarlet velvet fabrics, while at her feet, her heart-shaped shield portrays the symbol of Venus. Wheat grows in abundance at her feet, and behind her, a river flows through the trees, its path taking the water beneath her seat. Vivid green trees reach for the sunny skies at her rear.
What the Empress Portrays:
The Empress portrays a deep connection to femininity. This can appear in numerous ways; through sensuality, fertility, nurturing, creativity, and beauty. When the Empress card turns up, it’s a sign for the seeker to connect with their feminine side; regardless of their gender. It calls for creativity, beauty, and sensuality—with abundance!
The Empress can also indicate pregnancy and birth, literally and metaphorically. The birth of a new project, idea, or way of being is often indicated by this card. The Empress calls for whatever has been nurtured within to be born into the world.
The beauty of nature is also a theme of this card. It suggests spending time outdoors, reconnecting with Mother Earth, breathing in her energy while giving thanks for the blessings she bestows upon us.
The Empress carries deep love at her core. By embodying her nurturing, motherly nature, the seeker can build upon the love already present and bring more of this abundance into their life. The Universe often gifts us with a surprise when the Empress appears. While some may label the good luck as serendipity, it can in fact be the outcome of positive choices made by the seeker.
The Empress in Fiction:
Frigga from Marvel’s Thor, mother and daughter duo Molly & Ginny Weasley from Harry Potter, Bonnie Bennett from The Vampire Diaries, Kitty Foreman from That 70’s Show, and my favourite, Morticia Addams from The Addams Family. All these women portrayed love, passion and nurturing with abundant Empress energy.
In fiction, Marmee (Mrs March) from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Miss Honey from Roald Dahl’s Matilda, and Abilene from The Help by Kathryn Stockett are also great examples of Empress energy.
A Closer Look:
The Empress represents the archetypal Earth Mother. She reflects the Feminine Principle and figures such as Freyja and Demeter. Venus, the planet of love, rules the Empress. With its themes of fertility, creativity, beauty, and harmony, this planet and the Empress work hand-in-hand.
Taking a look at the Empress, note her full figure representing the fruitful mother. Some theorise she’s pregnant, but this isn’t clear from the image. She exudes an aura of peace and calm, appearing totally at ease within her nature surroundings. The crown of stars reflects her connection to the zodiac, but also the 12 months of the year, and the 12 hours of the clock. With the crown a symbol of dominion, it indicates her affinity with the universe, also indicated by her pearl necklace whose pearls reflects the planets. Some say the necklace contains 9 pearls, which could represent the 9 months of pregnancy, indicating the Empress is with child. 9 would also represent the 9 planets. 7 pearls appear in the Rider Smith Waite version, which could reflect the 7 astrological planets (with the Sun, Moon and declassified Pluto absent.) Whatever the association and pearl count, it's relevant to note that pearls are a symbol of perfection and integrity. Associated with the feminine moon, these lustrous gems also represent hidden knowledge.
Her white robe symbolises purity, while the fruits are said to be pomegranates (sliced in half) reflecting the theme of fertility. Note how the shape of the fruit bears resemblance to the Venus symbol on the Empress’ shield.
Consider too, how the Empress connects to the High Priestess who sits before a veil illustrated with pomegranates. It binds these two powerful feminine energies as sisters; one who invites us to live the mysteries of the esoteric, and the other who asks us to bring life into this beautiful world. An echo of the High Priestess’s hidden knowledge is reflected in the pearl necklace of the Empress, while by their feet, they both display their connection to a ruling planet; the moon for the High Priestess, and Venus for the Empress. The High Priestess resides in the intangible, while the Empress relaxes in grounding nature.
The Empress holds up a sceptre. Although normally perceived as phallic symbols, hers has the feminine symbol of an orb on top bringing balance between the two sides. The sphere is also a representation of the spiritual universe.
Her red cushions emulate the themes of love and sensuality, but with red also associated with blood, war, and aggression, it could be suggested that the Empress subdues these non-nurturing tendencies by using her protective mothering instincts, or her female wiles.
The wheat field is a symbol of abundance and fertility, while the water, which feeds the crop, reflects nourishment and life.
The Empress in Motion:
One way to connect with the Empress is by opening up to the five senses. Spend time with taste, touch, sight, sound, and scent, and note how experience each sense connects you to your body and mind on a deep level. A favourite meal is a great way to try this out. Play soothing music in the background, and as you focus solely on nurturing your body with healthy food, note how your body reacts. Savour each taste, the tactile experience within your mouth, and the mixture of scents in your nostrils. What about sound? Is there an orchestra of subtle crunches, slurps, and smacks as you tuck in?
Time in nature is another great way to connect with the Empress. A picnic outdoors, meditating, lying on the earth and watching the clouds drift by; all these simple activities will allow her abundant energy to fill your cup.
When did you last dance like no-one was watching? Aligning your body with music is a wonderful way to connect with sensual, feminine energy. Throw on a comfy outfit, light a few scented candles or incense, and get your boogie on with a few of these tunes. (All link to Spotify)
‘I can cast a spell of secrets you can tell Mix a special brew, put fire inside of you Anytime you feel danger or fear Then instantly I will appear, 'cause
I'm every woman It's all in me Anything you want done baby I do it naturally’
‘I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast I love all y'all, but I love me the most I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast I love all y'all, but I love me the most Go and raise your glass, give yourself a toast I love all y'all, but I love me the most I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast I love all y'all, but I love me’
A Sky Full of Stars by Coldplay
'Cause you're a sky, 'cause you're a sky full of stars I'm gonna give you my heart
'Cause you're a sky, 'cause you're a sky full of stars 'Cause you light up the path’
Higher Love by James Vincent McMorrow
‘I could light the night up with my soul on fire I could make the sun shine from pure desire Let me feel the love come over me Let me feel how strong it can be Bring me a higher love Bring me a higher love, oh Bring me a higher love I could rise above for this higher love’
The Empress in Creativity:
Often seen as the muse for creatives, the Empress is the card to call upon when it comes to creative pursuits. With all her passion, sensuality, and abundance, who better to have on your side when a new project needs birthing?
When the Empress appears in a reading relating to creativity, it’s a very positive sign. She’s present from ‘conception’, where the idea is formed, through the ‘pregnancy’, when the plan is nurtured, and then through ‘birth’, when the project is realised and brought into the world. She can also indicate a lucky turn of events bringing something beneficial to the seeker, and while this luck may be seen as a serendipitous event, in truth, it’s often the seeker’s own endeavours that have brought about the good fortune.
If creative block is an issue, turn to the Empress for calm, soothing energy. Envisage her motherly embrace as you nestle by her side on her luxurious velvet cushions. Picture the stream flowing through her land washing away the energetic obstruction blocking your creativity, and from there, how the abundance of her wheat field brings a bounty of inspiration once more. Why not try a visual meditation? Sit with the card, step into her lush meadow and connect to her spiritual universe.
At what point of the process do you work closest with Empress energy? For example, consider a painter, working through the ‘pregnancy’ phase. They cradle their project protectively in their mind, forming an idea of how the final piece might look. While this form grows, they may begin feathering the nest by ensuring the outer world contains everything necessary to nurture the ‘baby’ once its born; equipment, paints, easel, brushes. Once they are ready to begin and place that first stroke on the canvas, the project is birthed.
Symbolism for the Empress:
Crown of stars: Dominion over the spiritual universe, and/or the mystical realm of angels and fairies. 12 stars represent the 12 signs of the zodiac, the 12 months of the year, and the 12 hours on a clock.
Pearl necklace: 9 pearls for the 9 planets. Pearls represent perfection and integrity. Their connection to the moon reflects hidden knowledge. Can also be perceived to reflect the 9 months of pregnancy.
Sceptre with an orb: The balance of male and female, yin and yang. Balance is a major theme of her sister, the High Priestess, too.
Robe: White for purity of intent, pomegranates for fertility.
Red cushions: Love, sensuality, passion, comfort, but also blood, aggression and war (seen as masculine energies) which the Empress overcomes by using her feminine guile.
Shield with the Venus symbol: A mother’s protection, forged by love.
Wheat field: Abundance, fertility, growth.
Water: Life, nourishment, healing, calm.
Venus, Taurus and Libra are all associated with the Empress. Venus is the plant of love, beauty, creativity, passion, and romance, while the fixed earth sign of Taurus brings sensuous, artistic vibes. Libra, the cardinal air sign also reflects the Empress with her love of beauty, charm, diplomacy, and harmony.
Nurturing with the Empress: A Tarot Spread:
Using the Empress as a focal point, shuffle and draw while thinking about the questions below. Journal your thoughts, or take a photo so you can refer back to the reading at a later date. If you’ve done a reading using the High Priestess spread, how do the cards compare or contrast?
1: What needs nurturing
2: Where can I take a softer approach
3: Where should I look for inspiration
4: How can I welcome in abundance
Remember, these prompts can be used within a tarot spread too!
How does the Empress inspire me to create, love, and nurture?
Where does Empress energy flow in my life?
Where might it be lacking?
Do I have a healthy balance of masculine and feminine energy?
Who do I perceive as embodying Empress energy?
How do I reflect Empress energy to those around me?
The Empress Reversed:
Reversed, the Empress can indicate suppressed emotions and/or desire. Passion may have been snuffed out. Creative block may be present, along with friction in relationships. The drive to nurture has trickled dry, and in its place, there may be indifference, hostility, or even cruelty. As always, the surrounding cards will impact a reversal. Overindulgence in the good things of life may be at play, or the seeker has wrapped themselves so tightly in their emotions, they’ve lost touch with practicality.
Sometimes, a reversed Empress can indicate incoming clarity, where the seeker has been stuck on a problem, but with clear, practical thinking, has finally found a solution.
Once again, similarities between the Empress and the High Priestess appear, even in reversal. A reversed High Priestess shifts from passivity and turns passionate (the upright Empress) while the reversed Empress turns within as she cools her passion (the upright High Priestess).
If overpowered by reverse Empress energy, consider shifting back to the High Priestess and sitting with her serene, passive wisdom for a while. The High Priestess won’t tolerate force, so if the seeker is pushing against obstacles and getting nowhere, surrendering to less assertive behaviour may be of benefit.
The Empress Reversed Journal Prompts:
What emotion rules me at this time?
To whom, or what, have I given my power?
How can I claim back Empress energy?
What habits or thought patterns need changing?
How would the High Priestess deal with this situation?
Road-Tripping with the Empress:
Take yourself on a journey with the Empress. Seek her out in music, lyrics, poetry, books, art. TV/Movie characters or well known people. What about those around you? Who amongst your friends/family/colleagues embodies her nurturing energy? Where would her motherly love benefit your life—and what might change with it?
If you journal, write about your experience. Discovering your own personal associations is a fantastic way to connect with the themes of any card, so if a connection clicks, keep note of it. Associating a card with a person, song, or character forges a solid understanding that has personal meaning, and works way better than simply rote learning the meanings. The main thing is to enjoy the process.
Consider too how the Empress impacts the Fool’s journey. He’s spent time contemplating the greater mysteries with the High Priestess, after his time with the Magician, but could he now be back down to earth, revelling in the abundance of sensual, beautiful nature and life? What might he be conceiving as he progresses along his way? And what might he birth? Reflect on how the Fool has matured now we’re mile 3 into our journey. Where does his growth reflect with you personally?
If you’re looking for guidance on journaling you can check out the post here. Likewise, for recommended books on tarot, hop to the Resources section where all the books are linked for easy access to Amazon. Please note, that as an Amazon Associate I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon. The links you click withing this post are affiliate links meaning I get commissions for purchases made through this link, but at no extra cost to you whatsoever.
The Emperor joins us next, the masculine counterpart to the Empress. Until then, enjoy going within. Let me know how you and the Empress bond. I’d love to hear associations you make, especially when they’re pop-culture based. You can reach me at email@example.com if you’d like to chat!
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