The Empress is the epitome of motherhood and fertility. She does not merely give birth in a literal sense but she is emblematic of the force of natural creation itself, capable of conceiving ideas and manifesting them into reality.
This card is numbered 3 in the Major Arcana, and metaphysically, this number is reputed to be a master number of manifestation and creation. Indeed, the inventor Nikola Tesla posited that to understand the number 3 and its multiples 6 and 9, was to understand the secrets of the universe. From this we can understand that this card is associated with divine creation.
In the Rider Waite deck, the Empress is shown seated upon a red throne, a colour which signifies her passion as well as her power. The throne is representative of her high position and prestige in the material world. Her opulent dress is covered in roses, a flower linked to the planet Venus in astrology. Indeed, The Empress is directly connected with Venus as the astrological sign of the planet is displayed on the cushion beside her. Roses are the flowers reputed to have the highest spiritual vibration and are as such associated with healing, nurturing, unconditional love, and intuition. We can interpret from their presence on this card that these are qualities that The Empress possesses.
In the foreground of the scene we can see wheat growing. This is a visual cue to alert the querent that The Empress can provide them with not only spiritual but also physical sustenance. The imagery of the wheat is also indicative of fertility and the ability to nourish, since the soil itself must be rich in order to bring forth a harvest. From this we can deduce that The Empress is a powerful creatrix and can provide for those under her charge.
The Empress can also be a somewhat authoritarian figure as signaled both by her throne and the scepter of power she holds in her right hand. The right hand is most commonly associated with one’s personal power and authority, hence the phrase “right hand man”. From this portrayal, we can see that The Empress is a powerful, and at times, a commanding figure.
In a love reading, this card is generally overwhelmingly positive. It shows that your partner sees you as “THE” important woman in their life. You are perceived as capable, nurturing, a leader, and having an indefatigable spirit. It can also signal that your partner sees you as someone they would like to settle down with. It is not uncommon for this card to forewarn you of an impending proposal of marriage. It can also quite literally signal that you will soon fall pregnant.
If this card is negatively aspected however, it can alert you to the fact that your partner sees you as self-indulgent, passive, self-involved, or even perhaps guilty of mothering them too much. Remember, mothers should be the ones to nurture to excess, not romantic partners.
In a work reading this card is again generally very positive. It foreshadows a period where your creative endeavours will manifest fully and that the projects you have laboured over will reach their completion stage. This is a wonderful card for those wishing to scale the ranks in their given profession as it shows you will be in a position of power and will have charge over many people. For those specifically in a creative field, it shows that not only will you reach a position of power and be recognised for your talents, but also that you are an inexhaustible spring of ideas.
More negatively, this card can also show that perhaps you or someone in your place of work is being somewhat domineering. In this context The Empress card is indicative of a personality who is not open to differing opinions, is tyrannical, and self-satisfied.
Timing : Generally timing is dependent on card placement within a spread. However take note of the periods ruled by Venus, Libra, Taurus and Pisces (Venus is domicile in Taurus and Libra and exalted in Pisces).
Major Arcana: Card 3
Planetary Influence: Venus
Element: A composite of Earth, Water and Air
Positive Aspects: Motherhood, creativity, nurturing, abundance, fertility, ingenuity, matriarchal leadership
Negative Aspects: Overbearing, controlling, self-indulgence, excessive pride, narcissism, envy, greed