III - The Empress

III - The Empress - Tarot Card from the Rider-Waite Deck

The Empress sits in contrast to the High Priestess; where the High Priestess embodies some of the traditional elements of the maternal nature, the purpose of these elements is to highlight her role as a guardian, or figure of authority not as a mother in the familial sense. In contrast the Empress serves to embody the remaining aspects of motherhood, nurturing, inspiring, and elevating.

In the upright state the Empress serves to encourage benevolence by recognising our capacity to grow and shape the minds of those we mother. In the inverted state this external projection of our own maternal instincts is drawn inward and can either represent self-love or the recognition of those who nurture us and inspire us, helping us to elevate ourselves.

In the Rider-Waite deck, the Empress is adorned in a robe that is covered in pomegranates, representing fertility and potential. The Empress sits on a rock of stability on the edge of a field of wheat representing her permanence set against the bounty of the harvest which although plentiful is not without a point of expiry. With a river visible to the right representing the flow of life, constant and unyielding underpinning this ethereal nature. The Empress in person is ethereal but their role is eternal, for the crown survives beyond the monarch.

The Empress holds in her hand a stave tipped with an orb that represents the Sun further underlining the constancy of her presence, whilst wearing a tiara of stars representing guidance and navigation, the Sun and the Star are yet further elements of foreshadowing with both later reappearing in the Major Arcana as cards in their own right.

The Empress traditionally served as Matriarch of an Empire, a mother of nations, in this regard the Empress can be used as a prompt to consider your opportunities for growth that would be of benefit to more than just yourself. Focusing heavily on our connection to others and the dividing line between interdependence and independence.

The Emperor and Empress both incorporate elements of self-sacrifice in the pursuit of something greater, the Empress in particular serves as a prompt to consider the impact you can have on other people and the environment around you, if you feel unable to make a change to your own life directly, being in service to others or to a greater good can help you find that direction by preventing stagnation, generating movement as a means to increase the chance of encountering a path more favourable to you.

Improving your environment will also be of benefit you in the long run, but in the short term it is a sacrifice you make for the benefit of others more than the benefit of yourself, but in the process, it can make your environment less toxic eliminating the negative influence it may be having on you, and expanding your knowledge, experience, wisdom, and giving you clarity in your sense of judgement. To begin, ask yourself “What do I have the power to change, big or small?” and “How would that help others?” be as micro or macro as you desire in your answer, from monumental decisions like moving to another country to seemingly insignificant changes like taking a different route to work or when walking for leisure. Use a different website as a source of news or entertainment than you normally would. The important thing is to make a choice that enacts a change.

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