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What the Cards Mean: The Empress



THE EMPRESS: At this point in his journey, The Fool has met his internal guidance system in the first two cards of the Tarot’s Major Arcana. The Magician and The High Priestess have taught him how to manifest through goal setting and intuitive hunches. For example, if the baby Fool needs his diaper changed then what does he do? He knows what his goal is (The Magician says you need your diaper changed) so he begins to cry (The High Priestess instinctually nudges the Fool to cry in order to bring attention to his situation). But who will help him? Please meet The Empress, you may otherwise know her as Mom.


In most tarot decks, The Empress is pictured as a pregnant lady surrounded by earthly symbols of wheat, water and fertility. She is blessed with an “earthly” education that includes understanding the seasons, the cycles of change, when to plant the seed and when to reap the harvest. The Empress is focused on her family and experiencing her full womanly self. She births new life, nurtures it, feeds it, protects it and makes it grow. She is the safe harbor we all look for at night. Her presence in your spread can simply be referring to your actual Mom. Or it could be referencing your own mothering ability, or it could represent someone in your life with a strong ability to care take. She can hint at an upcoming marriage or pregnancy, or to sensual pleasures. The Empress can also indicate a creative or entrepreneurial idea that you need to develop into fruition. She will encourage The Fool to go to college, pursue a mate and family, and create a business or follow a calling.


However, when mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. If surrounded by darker cards or in a reversed or compromised position within the spread, The Empress can indicate any form of domestic problems: infertility, stagnation, smothering or absenteeism. This card could indicate that you do not want to be like your mother. You may deny traditional female roles and never have children. Perhaps abortion, miscarriage, hysterectomy, infertility, divorce or widowhood is on the horizon. Or you just simply don’t keep up with your housework or keep your kids in line. Either way, Mom has two sides to her like the rest of us, let’s just hope you can stay on her good side!


Keywords: mothering, nurturing, creative pursuits that need to be developed, marriage, pregnancy. Anger issues, divorce, weak or absent mother, miscarriage, lack of creativity.

Illustrations from the Morgan-Greer Tarot Deck were reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902. c. (March 7, 2018) by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

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