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The Empress is often depicted as a powerful woman reclining on a comfortable seat. Many decks also have her surrounded with images of fertility, like wheat and fruit. You’ll also see symbols reinforcing the idea of femininity, like the glyph for the planet Venus. She smiles serenely, secure in her position as matriarch and in her ability to provide for her offspring.
This card is chock full of primal mother energy. Unsurprisingly, this card can sometimes herald the arrival of a new baby. Ever the lady, she manages her family and all her business with unflappable grace. Think June Cleaver or Carol Brady. But also remember that like Carol Brady, you don’t have to actually give birth to the ones you consider your children. The Empress can be that mom friend who loves to mentor people so they can reach their full potential. Also, the idea of giving birth isn’t limited to people either. The Empress can be fruitful with ideas as well. She may not have borne a child but she leaves a legacy of words, music, or something else behind her that can nourish so many other lives.
The Empress Upright Keywords: fruitful, Matriarch, mom energy, prolific, nurturing
Reversed, the Empress is the stereotypical “smother mother”, more concerned with controlling and micromanaging her offspring than she is about their actual well-being. Remember the mother from Steven King’s horror classic Carrie? The Empress reversed also can be over-obsessed with her status and her legacy. A prime example of this is Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones, who was unquestionably a devoted mother but also unflinchingly crossed any number of ethical boundaries to cement her family line. When you see this card in a reading, check to see if someone is trampling the very things they meant to protect or if someone is crossing into unethical territory in the name of preserving what they have.
The Empress Tarot Reversed Keywords: Controlling, smothering, over-concerned with status, cruel in the name of protection, obsessive
To connect with your inner Empress, check out this podcast presentation by Psychic Shannon.