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What's your take on The Empress?


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dalsegno_

I've always had a rocky relationship with The Empress and can never quite figure out what she's trying to tell me... Sometimes she's full of creative energy and other times (especially when reversed) it's a complete disaster.¬†ūü§Ē

What are everyone's thoughts about this card? How have you encountered her¬†before? Would be very grateful to hear some of your insights.¬†ūüėĄ¬†
For the record, I'm thinking of The Empress in the standard RWS deck, but any ideas regarding any deck's Empress are more than welcome!

DS

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RayOfSunshine

I recognise the feeling of not exactly knowing what she is trying to tell, like she is a bit mysterious.

Mostly, I see the Empress as a soft, feminine, nurturing, caring and forgiving character. As she is a number 3 and connected to the planet Venus, she is a dynamic and creative character. I also get a strong motherly sense about her. Generally just really sweet and loving and in connection with her true nature. For me, it can also mean going out into nature, in a more literal sense, as she also stands for 'mother nature'. I also like to think about the energy of this card as the feeling you get when you've just spend your day at the spa. Warm, fuzzy and content.

 

In general, I really love her. She is a welcome sight in my readings. I don't work with reversals, so can't tell you anything about that. 

 

Hope this helpsūüôā

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Hey @dalsegno_ This is a description from the Anna K Tarot and thinking about it, I find I can totally relate:

 

The Empress can be possessive, suffocating, a sitting hen, a cruel tyrant with no sense for rationality.
It is important that she represents the "female" form of rulership - she is the female counterpart of the Emperor.

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MissJones

I see her as the very essence of fertility - that is, life as it is in nature. The creation and nurturing of life is utterly chaotic. Nature finds new and creative ways to survive, but there is no rationality to it. It can be beautifully destructive or devastatingly gentle - the Empress is wild, unfettered life, and she will always bring about newness and change, whether it’s wanted, expected, prepared for, understood, or not. She absolutely loves all of her children, and that is very comforting when you are one of those children. She can be very kind, and loving, or very fierce and protective. She’s very, very colourful.
 

I personally love her chaotic energy because that’s me in a nutshell, but she can very easily herald unwanted changes when she’s reversed. There’s enormous power in life, so she resonates really well with me, but she’ll nurture all things, even if they are hell-hounds lol! Which is why, when reversed, it can signal some difficult obstacles to overcome ahead, which will require unique and innovative solutions. Life always finds a way!
 

That‚Äôs how I see her though, everyone‚Äôs relationship with her is different ūüôā

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geoxena
Posted (edited)

I must admit, I don't understand the concept of having a relationship with the image on a tarot card.  Frankly, it baffles me.  I mean, I'll do a reading and get on with my life, and if the same card comes up in a subsequent reading, all the other cards with it will be different -- as will the purpose of the reading -- and so on, so I just do the reading, move on once again, and put the cards away until next time.  I just don't think of being in a relationship with that or any card. Can someone explain what that even means?!?? 

 

The symbolism and artwork on a card will always strike me differently, depending on who it is I'm reading for, and context, etc.  Unless there's some other thing in the artwork that really stands out to me, when the Empress comes up in a reading, my first thought would tend to lean towards it representing someone who is spoiled and always wants to be pampered.  To me, the Queen of Pents stands for much more of an Earth Mother dynamic than the Empress does.

 

 

Edited by geoxena
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1 hour ago, geoxena said:

I must admit, I don't understand the concept of having a relationship with the image on a tarot card.  Frankly, it baffles me.  I mean, I'll do a reading and get on with my life, and if the same card comes up in a subsequent reading, all the other cards with it will be different -- as will the purpose of the reading -- and so on, so I just do the reading, move on once again, and put the cards away until next time.  I just don't think of being in a relationship with that or any card. Can someone explain what that even means?!?? 

 

The symbolism and artwork on a card will always strike me differently, depending on who it is I'm reading for, and context, etc.  Unless there's some other thing in the artwork that really stands out to me, when it comes up in a reading, my first thought would tend to lean towards it representing someone who is spoiled and always wants to be pampered.  To me, the Queen of Pents stands for much more of an Earth Mother dynamic than the Empress does.

 

 

I am not sure it can be explained in a forum post but I think it’s very much dependent on ones views. I consider the cards to be projections of universal archetypes and in that sense, they most certainly can stand alone. There are strong basic archetypes behind all the majors in particular. There have been books and lectures done on that topic so if it interests you then have a look. Other than that, there is also the aspect of magic and animism. That’s not what’s implied here but it’s definitely an important part of why some might form an active relationship with a card, outside of the context of a reading. 

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geoxena

Thank you, Raggydoll.  Yes, I know about archetypes, and was going to mention archetypes in my previous post but didn't - because my question is more about how a relationship is established between someone and a tarot card or its archetype.  Unless they're talking about the dynamic of a tarot card being embodied by someone they know, I don't see how a relationship is formed.

 

 

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MissJones
1 hour ago, geoxena said:

Yes, I know about archetypes, and was going to mention archetypes in my previous post but didn't - because my question is more about how a relationship is established between someone and a tarot card or its archetype.  Unless they're talking about the dynamic of a tarot card being embodied by someone they know, I don't see how a relationship is formed.

 

 

I personally see it in very simple terms. A relationship is, quite literally, how one thing relates to another - that is, how things are connected, and how things are regarded/regard each other. I can have a relationship with chocolate without dating it (though it could be said it would probably be a better partner than I’ve had before lol), because it holds meaning (this is chocolate, chocolate means sweetness and tastiness and a treat, it brings memories of childhood rewards and birthdays and happy times) and I have an understanding of how it relates to me (it makes me feel good, it makes me chubby, I don’t mind being a bit chubby, therefore chocolate is always welcome), and how I relate to it (I am the devourer of chocolate, decimator of the grocery isle).

 

Similarly, you will have a relationship with your cards because they hold meaning (symbolism, understanding, and reading tarot represents a part of your life, whether a small part or a big part). I’m assuming you read for some sort of pleasure, so the cards as a whole will mean something to you, therefore you will relate to them somehow (derive meaning from them, and divine meaning from them lol). Individual cards too, to understand their meaning, you would have to relate to them and understand them somehow. The Empress means spoiled for example. For you, this may be the entirety of your relationship to/ with the card. This card holds symbolism, therefore your relationship with that card is purely one of understanding symbolism, and how it relates to you / your query.

 

For others, they may relate to their cards in a different way. A card may hold a particular emotional connection for them, elicit particular feelings, and they may have a different understanding of the symbolism. Therefore their relationship with that card will be different to yours just by how they perceive the card differently. They may also see the card as something more alive, and therefore would have what you would understand as a more ‚Äútraditional‚ÄĚ relationship with that card, as their connection to it / with it would be seen as a conscious, 2 way dynamic as opposed¬†to a conscious/not-conscious dynamic.¬†
 

You relate to each card, simply by understanding it to be something/symbolise something. Therefore, you have a relationship with each card, because it holds meaning beyond ‚Äúthis is paper and ink‚ÄĚ. But you don‚Äôt have to be in a committed, romantic¬†relationship with your¬†cards, if you don‚Äôt want to be¬†ūüėČ

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aries_dreaming

I see her as a mother, a nurturer, a force of creativity 

 

I get her a lot in personal readings which leads me to see her as my personal card. Which is kind of ironic as I am the most non maternal person I know but I am very creative.

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When paired with The Emperor I see her as both his companion and his enemy. Like a battle of the sexes but also a unified married couple. She is definetly the mother and he is the father. The God and The Goddess. She rules a realm of birth and creation, and he rules a realm of control and destruction. I love the contrast between her fields of trees and flowers and his dry barren desert in the background.

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TheLoracular

I view all the Major Arcana as forces of energy/aspects of character or personality every human being has inside themselves.   What each of us says and does based on our feelings, thoughts and beliefs is how we present these 22 archetypes to the people around us.  Both very masculine or feminine archetypes exist in us and can serve as metaphors for how we behave, regardless of our biological sex.


So the Empress as an archetype:

She is the nurturing, fertile, creative mother or queen.  She is there whenever we are gardening, cooking, teaching kids/younger students, feeling at one with nature.  In her darker (reversed) aspects, she is the part of us that can be ruthlessly dominating and emotionally cruel or demanding.  

In my personal experience (and it is only that), people who have the hardest time feeling a connection to the Empress have bad personal experiences with mother figures and don't necessarily like or trust them very much.  The idea of being a mother figure themselves in terms of being nurturing, affectionate to children, tied deeply to gardening or nature, etc., is really hard because there's a lack of trust in what "motherhood" or "nurturing" means to them.  

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timtoldrum

Like Gregory, I am never too keen on definitions out of context and combination. I also don’t see the cards as archetypes. That said, I see the empress as the doer, communicator and curiosity. Her difficulties tend to come from jealousy, but also in financial readings where her spendthrift ways are in stark contrast to the papesse’s frugality.

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3 hours ago, timtoldrum said:

Like Gregory, I am never too keen on definitions out of context and combination. I also don’t see the cards as archetypes. That said, I see the empress as the doer, communicator and curiosity. Her difficulties tend to come from jealousy, but also in financial readings where her spendthrift ways are in stark contrast to the papesse’s frugality.

 

Yes, this. I think of her in terms of what a woman in that position might be like. (I've never known any, but we have historical examples galore.) The fertility-and-motherhood angle doesn't come from Jung for me, it comes from the fact that the reason the Emperor has her there is to provide heirs. It's her function. Sexist, I know, but that's how it happened.

She has the Emperor's ear, she can talk to him for you and possibly make things happen that way. And yes, she's curious - she has plenty of leisure time and gets virtually all the court gossip. 

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timtoldrum
14 hours ago, katrinka said:

 

Yes, this. I think of her in terms of what a woman in that position might be like. (I've never known any, but we have historical examples galore.) The fertility-and-motherhood angle doesn't come from Jung for me, it comes from the fact that the reason the Emperor has her there is to provide heirs. It's her function. Sexist, I know, but that's how it happened.

She has the Emperor's ear, she can talk to him for you and possibly make things happen that way. And yes, she's curious - she has plenty of leisure time and gets virtually all the court gossip. 


Indeed. It is sexist; however, it is a view perpetuated throughout tarot.

 

Ironically, it seldom predicts pregnancy or affairs of children. That tends to be the domain of the Sun card and the Ace of Cups. I’ve talked about this in article for my Smith-Waite blog. 

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10 hours ago, timtoldrum said:


Indeed. It is sexist; however, it is a view perpetuated throughout tarot.

 

Exactly. 
History is sexist, society is still sexist in many ways. It's not an anachronism.

 

10 hours ago, timtoldrum said:

Ironically, it seldom predicts pregnancy or affairs of children. That tends to be the domain of the Sun card and the Ace of Cups. I’ve talked about this in article for my Smith-Waite blog. 


I need to immerse in that. 
Would you say some combination of those? I'd be very hesitant to make that call on a single card.

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AlbaTross

Well, as someone who is male, I don't really approach her as a woman per se, so much as the embodiment of what she represents, and that's also true of cards such as The High Priestess and the Queens.  Perhaps women have a comparable experience with The Emperor, but for me, it doesn't matter that The Empress represents the opposite gender of me, and virtues that are seen as "traditionally feminine", so much as just things I should keep in mind.  If I'm reading into how I should approach a particular situation, maybe I should be caring and compassionate.  Perhaps I should be creative, and embrace any creativity I might have.  It could be that I need to spend some time in nature. 

 

As a man, I have the capacity to do/embody all of these things.  Similarly, women can do/embody everything The Emperor represents.  Maybe it's a matter of proclivity towards certain ideas and virtues that are better represented in people of a particular gender, but all people can be caring and compassionate, just as everyone can be firm and stand up for themselves.  The gender conversation stimulates me much more from a historical standpoint than it does from an individual reading standpoint, though I won't say it's completely void of merit.  It just has its place, and it's very much worth noting that everyone can be an "Empress" when it is necessary to be so.  

Edited by AlbaTross
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timtoldrum
15 hours ago, katrinka said:

 

Exactly. 
History is sexist, society is still sexist in many ways. It's not an anachronism.

 


I need to immerse in that. 
Would you say some combination of those? I'd be very hesitant to make that call on a single card.

 

No; it is no anachronism.  

 

Outside of cuts, I rarely one card; two or three is my minimum.  I do often use the astrological wheel for opening readings, but as you know, I do not read it card-by-card.  In that spread, the Ace of Cups or Sun in the fifth house would indicate children.  The Empress in the fifth house, never. 

 

The Sun and the Ace of Cups is the big pregnancy combination.  The Smith-Waite Ace of Cups is a baptismal font.  The Two of Cups or Ten of Cups with the Ace can also predict a pregnancy.  The Three of Cups and the Ten of Pentacles with either the Sun or Ace of Cups can indicate pregnancy for a family member.  

 

9 hours ago, AlbaTross said:

Well, as someone who is male, I don't really approach her as a woman per se, so much as the embodiment of what she represents, and that's also true of cards such as The High Priestess and the Queens.  Perhaps women have a comparable experience with The Emperor, but for me, it doesn't matter that The Empress represents the opposite gender of me, and virtues that are seen as "traditionally feminine", so much as just things I should keep in mind.  If I'm reading into how I should approach a particular situation, maybe I should be caring and compassionate.  Perhaps I should be creative, and embrace any creativity I might have.  It could be that I need to spend some time in nature. 

 

As a man, I have the capacity to do/embody all of these things.  Similarly, women can do/embody everything The Emperor represents.  Maybe it's a matter of proclivity towards certain ideas and virtues that are better represented in people of a particular gender, but all people can be caring and compassionate, just as everyone can be firm and stand up for themselves.  The gender conversation stimulates me much more from a historical standpoint than it does from an individual reading standpoint, though I won't say it's completely void of merit.  It just has its place, and it's very much worth noting that everyone can be an "Empress" when it is necessary to be so.  

 

Hi @AlbaTross.

 

I do not disagree you with.  The Emperor can be a woman and the High Priestess a man.  However, I still recognise that historical basis because that is part of the essence of these cards and I read by essence and function.  

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20 minutes ago, timtoldrum said:

Outside of cuts, I rarely one card; two or three is my minimum.  I do often use the astrological wheel for opening readings, but as you know, I do not read it card-by-card.  In that spread, the Ace of Cups or Sun in the fifth house would indicate children.  The Empress in the fifth house, never. 

 

The Sun and the Ace of Cups is the big pregnancy combination.  The Smith-Waite Ace of Cups is a baptismal font.  The Two of Cups or Ten of Cups with the Ace can also predict a pregnancy.  The Three of Cups and the Ten of Pentacles with either the Sun or Ace of Cups can indicate pregnancy for a family member.  

 

That makes a lot of sense. It's going in my notes. Thank you!
 

20 minutes ago, timtoldrum said:

I do not disagree you with.  The Emperor can be a woman and the High Priestess a man.  However, I still recognise that historical basis because that is part of the essence of these cards and I read by essence and function.  

 

Yes. The whole concept, for me, requires history. More than a few of the cards are like that - outside of our personal experience, so we read up on the subject. 

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AlbaTross
On 10/18/2020 at 6:33 AM, timtoldrum said:

Hi @AlbaTross.

 

I do not disagree you with.  The Emperor can be a woman and the High Priestess a man.  However, I still recognise that historical basis because that is part of the essence of these cards and I read by essence and function.  

True.  While it really depends on the context of the reading for me, I can definitely see there being application for understanding the traditional view behind The Empress, and that could lead to some interesting interpretations that would otherwise fall through the cracks.  

 

I do have a rudimentary understanding of how a traditional European monarchy worked, though it is worth noting that it covers a wide region over a great length of time.  There may have been subtle differences between how one lord conducted themselves vs another, let alone a king/queen in Eastern Europe verses one in what is now the UK, or one well before the common era versus one from the Renaissance or closer to modern times.  It's also worth noting that the term king or queen could refer to someone who oversaw a small settlement or someone who reigned over a large kingdom. 

 

All that said, the term empress would likely refer to someone who either ruled an empire such as Rome with multiple kingdoms under its umbrella, or sat next to the one who did.  Much like a queen, it's probably safe to assume the empress was bestowed that title in one of two ways: she was born into the family who ruled over said empire and was the eldest living daughter in a royal family to end all royal families that just so happened to not have any male heirs, or she married the emperor.  In one instance she's the reigning monarch, and in the other, she's still afforded a great deal of respect but she's really not the one calling the shots.

 

The cards could probably likewise be read one of two ways, and this goes for all of the cards: they could be defined by their relationship to the other cards in the deck (especially those next to them numerically and in the same suit) regardless of whether those cards show up in a reading, or they could not.  If The Empress is always defined by being the card next to The Emperor in the Major Arcana then she will always be defined by her relationship to him.  Of course, under the traditional lens, that holds far less true for The Emperor and his relationship to The Empress.  If The Empress comes up and The Emperor doesn't however, it is also possible to regard her as the reigning virtue to keep in mind for a given context or situation.  Maybe there's no right or wrong way to approach it, but that could be something worth keeping in mind for future readings.  

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23 minutes ago, AlbaTross said:

I do have a rudimentary understanding of how a traditional European monarchy worked, though it is worth noting that it covers a wide region over a great length of time.  There may have been subtle differences between how one lord conducted themselves vs another, let alone a king/queen in Eastern Europe verses one in what is now the UK, or one well before the common era versus one from the Renaissance or closer to modern times.  It's also worth noting that the term king or queen could refer to someone who oversaw a small settlement or someone who reigned over a large kingdom. 

 

All that said, the term empress would likely refer to someone who either ruled an empire such as Rome with multiple kingdoms under its umbrella, or sat next to the one who did.  Much like a queen, it's probably safe to assume the empress was bestowed that title in one of two ways: she was born into the family who ruled over said empire and was the eldest living daughter in a royal family to end all royal families that just so happened to not have any male heirs, or she married the emperor.  In one instance she's the reigning monarch, and in the other, she's still afforded a great deal of respect but she's really not the one calling the shots.

 

All true enough, but for reading purposes the idea is to distill the card down to its essence, i.e., its indispensable qualities.  
 

23 minutes ago, AlbaTross said:

The cards could probably likewise be read one of two ways, and this goes for all of the cards: they could be defined by their relationship to the other cards in the deck (especially those next to them numerically and in the same suit) regardless of whether those cards show up in a reading, or they could not.  If The Empress is always defined by being the card next to The Emperor in the Major Arcana then she will always be defined by her relationship to him. 

 

I don't think that's what timtoldrum is doing, I'm certainly not. If that were the case, she would also be defined by the Priestess.  Rather, she has a relationship to the Emperor because they're a married couple.

 

 

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The Empress has a wonderful connotation for me!¬† For some reason, the Ceccoli Tarot's Empress stands out to me as an Empress that represents how I view her--a woman with a keen eye and an awareness of her connection with nature, considering both the good and the bad.¬† My one and only mother loves The Empress, so much so that I gave her my postcard of the Empress from the Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative set. ūüíģ

 

I like the pregnant Empresses, I like the non-pregnant Empresses... They're all beautiful!

 

A way that I connect with The Empress is that I am very fond of The Emperor, but I am a woman.  So for me, The Empress is something of a gateway to understanding power, leadership, and order as it can be represented in the tarot.  The Empress often turns up for me as something of a "Supreme Queen Bee," a real goddess but also something of a primadonna.

ceccoli empress.jpg

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AlbaTross
2 hours ago, katrinka said:

I don't think that's what timtoldrum is doing, I'm certainly not. If that were the case, she would also be defined by the Priestess.  Rather, she has a relationship to the Emperor because they're a married couple.

 

 

True, those two cards in particular have a special connection.  A numerical connection is something more prominent in the Minor Arcana, and even then it depends.  I do tend to connect cards such as The Sun and The Moon though, and The Emperor and Empress certainly have that kind of connection.  

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timtoldrum
13 hours ago, AlbaTross said:

True.  While it really depends on the context of the reading for me, I can definitely see there being application for understanding the traditional view behind The Empress, and that could lead to some interesting interpretations that would otherwise fall through the cracks.  

 

I do have a rudimentary understanding of how a traditional European monarchy worked, though it is worth noting that it covers a wide region over a great length of time.  There may have been subtle differences between how one lord conducted themselves vs another, let alone a king/queen in Eastern Europe verses one in what is now the UK, or one well before the common era versus one from the Renaissance or closer to modern times.  It's also worth noting that the term king or queen could refer to someone who oversaw a small settlement or someone who reigned over a large kingdom. 

 

All that said, the term empress would likely refer to someone who either ruled an empire such as Rome with multiple kingdoms under its umbrella, or sat next to the one who did.  Much like a queen, it's probably safe to assume the empress was bestowed that title in one of two ways: she was born into the family who ruled over said empire and was the eldest living daughter in a royal family to end all royal families that just so happened to not have any male heirs, or she married the emperor.  In one instance she's the reigning monarch, and in the other, she's still afforded a great deal of respect but she's really not the one calling the shots.

 

The cards could probably likewise be read one of two ways, and this goes for all of the cards: they could be defined by their relationship to the other cards in the deck (especially those next to them numerically and in the same suit) regardless of whether those cards show up in a reading, or they could not.  If The Empress is always defined by being the card next to The Emperor in the Major Arcana then she will always be defined by her relationship to him.  Of course, under the traditional lens, that holds far less true for The Emperor and his relationship to The Empress.  If The Empress comes up and The Emperor doesn't however, it is also possible to regard her as the reigning virtue to keep in mind for a given context or situation.  Maybe there's no right or wrong way to approach it, but that could be something worth keeping in mind for future readings.  

 

Hello @AlbaTross

 

You are more than correct that there was both geographical and cultural difference between the monarchies throughout both Continental and Eastern Europe in the period under consideration. I did not form an opinion from an Eastern European or British perspective.

 

As far as I am aware, no universal consensus has yet has been reached on the trumps' titles.  If the card does indeed show an empress, then the likeliest model would be the consort to the Holy Roman Emperor which does include a Sforza.  That said, there is also the Byzantine emperors. 

 

Numerical associations or partner cards are not something I use.  I am not big on binaries:  that is why I did not like Jodorowsky, &c as you end up with Sun/Moon/Male/Female.  The only time I pay attention to numbers is to note advancement , e.g. 2 , 9 , 10 is a sharp ascent which can indicate time, force, &c.  But that is with pips.  
 
For reading, I focus on the essence of the eikŇćn and then its function. ¬†I note that she has her arms full (busy), looks directly at us (communication), fills the card (centre), and so on.¬†

Edited by timtoldrum
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