The Empress is the Goddess Demeter. Demeter was the Greek goddess of harvest, who presided over fertility on earth. More importantly, she is the goddess of the cycle of life and death. And so it is with the Empress, the archetypal Mother: she gives birth, and, by extension dooms to death.
The Labrys she is holding was used by the Amazons and is associated with female empowerment and matriarchy. It also implies female genitalia (from the Latin root labus, which means lips). Her pomegranate is the ultimate symbol of fertility.
On the Tree of Life, the path of the Empress connects Chokmah and Binah. It is the Binah that holds within itself the potential to generate human form. Furthermore, the kabbalistic symbol (Hebrew letter) for the Empress id Dalet, which means door. The Empress is a door which effects a transition from the ONE into many. Therefore, the key to this card is multiplicity.
It is important to remember that the archetypal Mother is inextricably linked with the Earth. Everything on Earth owes its existence to the Empress; the quintessential life-giver. It is the Empress, that rules all Universal laws related to development and fulfillment.
With all that, it is easy to overlook another idea of the Empress: that of LOVE. Astrologically, this card is ruled by Venus, the goddess (and planet) of love. Furthermore, the symbol of Venus embraces all ten Sephirot on the Tree of life. The Empress reminds us that LOVE is the universal and unifying rule of the world.
For the Empress, growth and destruction are concurrent activities (after all, each birth implies death).
TRANSITION FROM THE HIGH PRIESTESS
Another key to this card is the stream of crystalline pure water flowing downward to the right. It is a symbol of the continuous process by which the Universal Unconscious of the High Priestess (hidden as it might be), continues in the earthly, material world of the Empress.
There is another parallel here. The Universe is created and continues to evolve through thought. We, as humans, do the same. Our reality is created solely by us: by thinking it into being. Everything manifested in our world, once started as a thought in someone’s head. Therefore, the power of thought is extremely powerful, and the implication of responsibility for our thoughts is very profound.
In a Tarot Reading, The Empress may mean:
- Birth, pregnancy, fertility
- Being in touch with the beauty of your life
- Can represent someone needing nurturing
- Exploring our relationship with our mother
- Describes an empathic and caring personality
- In touch with universal love/spirit
- Reminding us that spirituality is expressed from the heart not the head.
- Spending time with nature
- Nurturing others and those around you as well as yourself