As we continue our journey through the Major Arcana of the Tarot, we come to the Empress card. This card is all about those nurturing, feminine, creative, feel good energies. Today we are going to explore the meaning, keywords, imagery, artwork and more of the Empress tarot card. Plus you can learn how to bring these powerful energies into your spiritual journey.
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What is the Empress Card?
The Empress Tarot card is number 3 in the Major Arcana of the traditional Rider Waite Smith deck, right before the balancing force of the Emperor card. It comes after the High Priestess, who challenged us to look inwards and face our own truth to move forward. Now it is time for a little nurturing and loving.
The Empress is the first of the Major Arcana that is strongly connected to another card in the Tarot. Just as the Empress is about feminine, the Emperor is about masculine. Creative energies vs Authoritative energies. It is all about that cosmic balance.
When the Empress card comes up in one of my readings, the first thing I think of is that powerful nurturing energy. You could think of it as mothering, but it isn’t just about raising children. It is also about that incredible creative spirit that nurtures and brings art to life. A green thumb that makes plant flourish and grow. It’s that feeling people get when someone listens and cares. Or that moment when you step through the door, you are home. It’s about the sharing of energy for the betterment of others. This is a love that promotes growth and comes from a pure place of light.
This is a feel good card that inspires us to chase those passions, to care, to have hope, and to love deeply.
When working with the Empress card, it helps to have a list of keywords to associate with the card. This can be very beneficial in a reading or when just working with Empress energy.
Empress Upright Keywords
- Safe place
- Financial growth
- Unconditional love
Empress Reversed Keywords
- Creative or writers block
- Fertility problems
- A loss or grief
- Financial struggles
The Empress Imagery
First, let’s explore the imagery of the Empress card from the Rider Waite Smith deck.
When the Empress card pops up the immediate feeling I get is a big hug from mom. The Empress imagery provides that feeling of comfort, safety and connection.
The first thing you will notice is our beautiful Empress sitting, but unlike the High Priestess who was very stiff and upright on a throne, the Empress is calm. She is relaxed, leaning back into a pile of lush fabrics and cushions. She exudes peace, comfort and a welcoming vibe.
Flowing around her body is a gorgeous robe is adorned with pomegranates, which symbolize fertility, life, and the cycles of nature.
But take a closer look. She may be relaxed, but she is still a queen, and she wears her power symbols with grace and ease. On her head is a crown adorned with 12 stars, a symbols of the twelve signs of the Zodiac and the 12 months of the year. She also wears a necklace of 9 pearls symbolizing the 9 planets. She wears the universe on her body, representing spiritual insight and connection to the cosmos.
This is Mother Nature and although she is nurturing, she can also be powerful and fierce. With her is a heart-shaped shield engraved with the symbol of Venus (this symbol is also often used for feminine or female), representing love, beauty, and femininity. She also holds a scepter topped with a globe symbolizing authority, power, fertility and connection to Mother Earth.
The Empress is surrounded by lush forests and fields. Beside her, is a field of wheat, symbolizing fertility, growth, and abundance. Then behind her is a flowing river and trees. The river signifies the flow of energy, emotions and creativity, while the trees suggest life, stability, and connection to the natural world.
Empress Art in Tarot Decks
Just like I have done with The Fool, Magician and High Priestess tarot cards, I like to share the Empress cards from a variety of tarot decks. Comparing the art of these different cards can provide some wonderful insights into the meaning of the cards. See the captions for details on the tarot decks each of these decks comes from.
The Empress Tarot Card Meanings
The Empress card is the Mother of us all. She is the Mother Nature archetype, provider of our beautiful home. She is that soft place to land after being out in the storm. That guiding light that gently reminds us of the power of love.
Depending on the question, the querent and surrounding cards, the Empress tarot card can have some different meanings in tarot readings.
It is time to get creative! This could mean creating art, building a new business, starting a family, or nurturing your own passions to pursue something new. That idea that has been bouncing around in your mind, it’s time to bring it out and give it some serious consideration. Look for mentors and aides who can help you reach your goals.
It can be about belonging. Knowing your place in a relationship, family, community or the greater cycles of our universe. We all have our place and our role. The Empress reminds us of that connection and that we are all cherished.
The Empress may also be calling on us to find a safe place to rest. To recharge. Think of that homemade chicken soup, that heals your body and spirit. You may be called to seek out that respite, and give yourself time to heal.
The Empress signifies abundance when she appears. Life’s pleasures and luxuries surround you. You have everything you need to live a comfortable, fulfilling lifestyle. Everything you have dreamed of is coming to fruition. Take time to reflect on the bounty that surrounds you and offer gratitude for all that you have created. Focus your intention, so you can continue to build on this energy and manifest even more abundance in your life.
The Empress Card in a Reading about Love
When referencing love, sensuality, desire, the Empress is feeling her oats! She is all about that feel good shimmer that races through your body you realize, “I am all that, and a bag of chips!” I am cherished, I am loveable and my feminine energy is flowing!
The Empress is Mother Nature and she is all about love, caring and nurturing. In readings about Love, the Empress is a beautiful card to pull.
The Reversed Empress
When the Empress card appears in a reading reversed, it is when all of that nurturing and creative energy goes awry. Depending on the question, this could present in a few different ways.
Loss of Self
When giving so much of yourself to benefit others you lose sight of caring for yourself first. Think of the mother who loses her sense of self, and her own goals and passions, because she is giving everything to her children. The artist who becomes so obsessed with perfection in their art that they are unable to complete any pieces. The person who gives so much of themselves to a relationship that they lose all independence and control over their own journey or path. When reversed, the Empress is telling us we need to put on our own oxygen mask first.
I’ve been there. Motherhood is hard and it can be easy to discover an imbalance in your life. This is not a fun place to be and it can be hard to break those habits and patterns that bring you to that trapped, disconnected point. It can be a struggle to realize that by helping others, you are harming yourself. It is time to realize that only by loving yourself first can you truly love those around you. The Empress is calling on you to focus on some self-care.
Passivity and Lack of Drive
Our beautiful Empress is lounging regally in her chair. When upright it is important not to mistake this for a lack of strength, determination, drive, or passion. But when reversed, that all important forward momentum and energy, is lost or perhaps being directed in the wrong way. This can present as writer’s block or an in ability to start (or finish) projects.
A Disconnect from Nature
The Empress is about Mother Nature and this amazing home she provides us. When reversed, we may be called to spend more time respecting our home and being present. Spend some time grounding yourself. Take a walk or hike, spending time breathing the fresh air, touching the grasses, even hugging a few trees to bring yourself back to that place of oneness.
Lack of Abundance
When the Empress appears flipped, it can also indicate a lack of abundance. Financial struggles, failing health, depression, fertility struggles, insecurity, or it could be the failing of an idea, business or project. Right now, things are not thriving.
The Empress Yes/No Card Pull
Since the Empress card is usually associated with creation, abundance, growth and nurturing, the answer to a single pull yes/no question is usually Yes when the Empress appears. Especially when you are asking about tapping into creativity to manifest or pursuing a new idea.
The Empress card is card number 3 in the standard Rider Waite Smith deck.
It’s a super creative and nurturing card and it’s all tied to the number 3. Three is all about creativity, communication, and bringing stuff to life. So, when you see the Empress card, it’s a nurturing energy that’s all about abundance and creativity. It’s like the universe saying, “Hey, let your creative juices flow, and embrace the awesome things that can come from it!” Just like the Empress encourages growth and nurturing, the number 3 is like a creative cheerleader, urging us to express ourselves and make things happen. It’s time to manifest those ideas into reality with the lively, dynamic and expressive energy of the number 3.
This numerology association enriches the Empress card’s themes of fertility, abundance, nurturing, and creative expression, as the number 3 resonates with the idea of bringing ideas and visions to fruition. This strongly aligns with the Empress’s role in nurturing and bringing forth new life, both in a literal and symbolic sense.
Planetary Astrological Correspondence
The Empress is associated with earthiness and therefore with Taurus. In astrology, Taurus is concerned with stability, abundance, and finances. Taurus is ruled by Venus, the planet of attraction, beauty, and also abundance. This means the ruling planet of the Empress is Venus.
The Empress is associated with the element of Earth. As the true Mother Earth, her connection to nature is the grounding force and energy of this tarot card.
The Empress Daily Affirmations
I love to incorporate tarot cards and affirmations in my daily mediations and manifestation work. When it comes to daily affirmations, you may find one that sticks with you, or you may change it daily. Find what works for you.
There is a place and a purpose for everything.
I am loved, I am safe, I am cherished by the universe.
When everything is in balance, I am whole and strong.
I am stardust, my being has danced amongst the stars.
My heart is open and accepting of the loving energies around me.
I am open to receiving and giving love in all its forms.
I nurture myself and others with compassion and kindness.
Embracing nature’s cycles guides me through transformation and change.
My intuition is worthy of trust and guides me on my creative journey.
I am in tune with the cycles of nature, and let the cycles inspire my own change and growth.
I celebrate the beauty of life and find joy in simple pleasures.
Radiating love and kindness nurtures the world around me.
I am deserving of abundance, and I attract it effortlessly.
I am a source of comfort and support for those around me.
Abundance flows to me effortlessly and in unexpected ways.
I honor the beauty within and around me.
Nurturing myself allows me to nurture others.
Harmonizing with the rhythms of life fuels my growth.
I am filled with boundless vitality, embracing each day with energy and enthusiasm.
Expressing my unique creativity empowers my journey.
I connect to my heart, soul, senses and through that inner connection, I connect with the power around me.
Life’s abundance is a reflection of my inner abundance.
Every act of kindness nurtures the collective heart.
Here are some of my favourite Tarot Books that I find myself pulling from the shelf regularly. These are fantastic for learning, as references during a reading, and even as entertainment. The Tales Behind Tarot in particular is a beautiful story taking us on the Fool‘s Journey through Tarot.