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Unpacking the Tarot - The Empress

Unpacking the Tarot - The Empress

The Tarot have been used for centuries to predict the future and answer our deepest questions. The traditional deck contains 78 cards — the 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards.
 
While the Minor Arcana can help shed light on the actions and decisions we make every day, the Major Arcana helps us understand our life’s purpose. Each card represents situations we face throughout our journey and the lessons we all must learn.
 
Here is a closer look at the fourth card in the deck, the Empress.

THE EMPRESS

The Empress is a nurturing mother-figure. Her appearance symbolizes abundance, beauty and nature. She is the epitome of femininity and fertility. When the Empress arrives, she often brings news of a birth, whether it’s the arrival of a baby or the birth of a new idea. The Empress is a reminder to focus on the home and take better care of ourselves.

THE IMAGERY

The Empress is traditionally represented as a beautiful blonde woman. She wears a crown of stars and a robe decorated with pomegranates. The 12 stars demonstrate her connection between the great beyond and the earthly realm while the fruit is a symbol of fertility. She is seated on a red cushion. Nearby is the symbol of Venus, goddess of love. Behind her is a lush forests and a stream, which suggests she is one with nature and life. At her feet, there is a field of wheat, a sign of abundance. 

THE MEANING

The appearance of the Empress in a spread is usually good news. She suggests a happy home and family life. The Empress is a symbol of abundance, wealth and fertility. Her meaning may be literal — a pregnancy in your family or someone close to you — or she may represent the birth of an idea, especially for creative types. When the Empress appears, artists may find themselves more productive and successful. 

The Empress also serves as a reminder to embrace your feminine side. Take time to discover the beauty around you and treat yourself to positive sensory experiences. Let yourself experience life’s pleasures.

THE REVERSE

In reverse, the Empress may symbolize troubles at home. Is there conflict in your family? If so, it’s time to address these issues. Reversed, this card can also suggest a creative block or the need for self-care.

 
*This article is based on the popular Rider-Waite Tarot card deck. If you’re using a different deck, cards may be numbered differently and feature different images. That’s ok. It’s the name of the card and the meaning that matters.