The Empress of the Tarot in the Modern World
The Empress from the Tarot is alive and well in the suburbs! I saw her the other day in a supermarket. She wasn’t wearing her tiara of twelve stars – just a functional, no-nonsense headband. She wasn’t holding a golden scepter, she was pointing a rolled up copy of Women’s Weekly towards the vegetable section. The Empress pushed forward in that direction, herding her brood of young children down the aisle of Woolworths, her trolley already overflowing with food and household goods.
She praised and admonished her offspring in the manner of the archetypal Mother. This Empress of Suburbia was born to the role of motherhood and she loves to nurture her children, and anyone else who happens to wander by.
In the Rider-Waite deck, The Empress is the embodiment of womanhood. She is an expression of Mother character, an Earth Goddess who is shown as a symbol of fecundity, ruling the physical vicinity with calmness and poise. Some Tarot decks show her as being pregnant, and this makes sense as the scene around her is always bountiful and high with life. In Waite’s image of The Empress, a stream flows by the background, representing the surging vitality of life itself. In front of The Empress is a field of corn, another symbol of growth and sustenance.
From The Empress we can learn the feminine qualities of warmth, patience and respect for self and others. She asks us to listen to the words of wisdom that tumble along the stream; to hear the truth that whispers by the treetops on the soft breeze; to know the possibilities of self expression that lie within the idle seeds of vegetation; and to feel the ageless knowledge of the earth as it expresses itself in the harvest of fruits and grain.
One of the greatest lessons from the Tarot is to make time to listen to the wisdom that each character can teach us. As The Empress of the Tarot reclines on her plush lounge, she expresses the nurturing quality that we crave from Mother-figures. From The Empress we learn to appreciate this nourishment to the soul, and if it is not obtainable from our own mothers, then by attuning to The Empress we can receive the benefits of being valued, encourage and loved by this archetypal Mother Goddess.
The Empress is sometimes thought of as a representation of Demeter, the Motherly Goddess who searched the world when her daughter Kore/Persephone went missing. Any mother worth her apron strings would relate to the story of Demeter, who ignored all responsibilities other than looking for her lost daughter. By attuning with The Empress, we can become more aligned with the divine energies of Goddesses such as Demeter.
Some women are so intimately connected to the Mother Goddess that they radiate this energy every minute of the day. The Empress of Suburbia loves having children around her, and she sees this role as a true blessing. She brings her bountiful qualities to any place that she settles into, already if it’s just for a short while. Whether you see The Empress in the Tarot or in the supermarket, concede her with a smile – you will feel nourished by her presence.