The empress is signifying all the forces of Mother Nature. She is the protector of maternity and the source of life. Characterizing development and fertility, she brings together, under her female wisdom, all the creative energies. While the Priestess is more in contact with the heavenly and the divine, the Empress is the ruler of an earthly ideal. Both figures though are the only female ones that correspond to the concept of maternity.
Being the third card of the tarot deck, the empress has been given the number three, a symbol of composition and harmony, a unified principle that derives from the act of reproduction. This number emphasizes the beginning of a new life or any sort of material productivity. The Priestess number two exemplifies time dimensions, the past and the future time, where the Empress’s number three comes to add the dimension of space in order to underline all the real events that can occur in time.
This figure’s properties are highly connected historically with the ancient Greek Goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone. Demeter was the founder of the Eleusinian mysteries, a ceremony that was dedicated to the myth of Hades and Persephone. He had abducted Persephone, and had forced her to live in the underworld. The legends say that her mother had cursed the world in return, causing the land to become infertile. When Zeus interfered, he arranged an agreement between Demeter and the underworld. Persephone would have to live underground for eight months a year. During this time her mother grievance for the absence of her daughter would cause the climate change of autumn and winter. These two mythical figures would represent the change of seasons. The return of Persephone would symbolize the beginning of spring and the circle of life. They were the goddess of death and rebirth.
The Empress is the realization of the importance of nature and the faith in prosperous materialism.
She is the spiritual awareness for the need of creativity through hard work and its actualization. She brings all the inspiration into practice using her own system of emotional values. Her judgments are not based on a logical sequence of ideas but an insight for order based on refined sentiments.
This card is a sign for self-awareness in a more deep psychological level. The Empress brings to life all the buried or consciously unknown ideas through genitive efficiency. The subconscious mind controls all our actions in the material world and the Empress is there to help objectify its forces. The world of the Empress brings security and internal trust for the materialization of ideas. Creative productivity comes from within but is expressed on a safe ground.
She is sited in a blooming garden behind a farm full of wit. A small river is flowing behind her representing the stream of consciousness. Her jewellery is a symbol of love that brings us back to the aesthetics of the ancient goddess Aphrodite. Her crown and scepter remind us that she is the protector and ruler of all the earthly forces.
When this card appears in a Tarot reading, it is a message for great productivity and prosperity. Love, beauty and grace are common derivatives of its effect. Admiration from others is often a beneficial factor of this card. When the card is placed on the opposite direction the Empress is transformed to the Goddess Kali that is savaging her children. Her overprotective properties can bring stagnation, waste of energy and the imprisonment of the mind into dark labyrinths. The desire for excess or the notion of indecisiveness is also elements brought by the Empress in the wrong position. Under this form she can prevent the proper development of a situation, an individual or a sequence of events.