The Major Arcana Tarot cards represent the life lessons, karmic influences and the big archetypal themes that are influencing your life and your soul's journey to enlightenment.
The Major Arcana cards include 21 numbered cards and 1 unnumbered card (the Fool). The Fool is the main character of the Major Arcana and makes his journey through each of the cards, meeting new teachers and learning new life lessons along the way, and eventually reaching the completion of his journey with the World card. This is known as the Fool's Journey and is a helpful way of understanding the story line of the Major Arcana Tarot card meanings.
The Empress Keywords
UPRIGHT: Femininity, beauty, nature, nurturing, abundance
REVERSED: Creative block, dependence on others
The Empress is a beautiful woman with a peaceful aura about her. The Empress has a strong connection with Mother Earth and life itself. She draws her sense of peace from the trees and the water and is rejuvenated by the energy of nature. In the foreground, golden wheat springs from the soil, reflecting abundance from a recent harvest.
The Empress Upright
The Empress signifies a strong connection with our femininity. Femininity translates in many ways – elegance, sensuality, fertility, creative expression, nurturing – and is necessary for creating balance in both men and women. The Empress calls on you to connect with your feminine energy. Create beauty in your life. Connect with your senses through taste, touch, sound, smell and sight. Draw on these senses to experience pleasure and deep fulfilment. Treat yourself to a day spa, learn massage, enjoy a fine restaurant or spend more time with your partner. Discover different approaches to expressing yourself creatively, be it through painting, music, drama or other art forms. This may be the perfect chance to take up a new hobby that enables you to access this part of yourself.
The Empress signifies abundance. You are surrounded by life’s pleasures and luxuries and have everything you need to live a comfortable lifestyle. You are in a period of growth, in which all you have dreamed of is now coming to fruition. When The Empress appears in your Tarot readings, take a moment to reflect on the bounty that surrounds you and offer gratitude for all you have created so you can continue to build on this energy and create even more abundance in your life.
As the Mother Earth archetype, The Empress urges you to venture out into nature to ground your energy and be in flow with the earth. Take a trip to your favorite natural setting, be it a forest, beach, mountain or lake, and sit for a couple of minutes, hours or even days to breathe in the energy that surrounds you while marveling in the beauty of your surroundings. Allow yourself the time and the space to enter a different frame of mind and receive the grounding spirit of nature into your heart and consciousness. When you do this, you can reach higher planes of consciousness.
When you are in tune with the energy of The Empress, you will naturally take on her mothering nature. You feel a strong urge to nurture and care for others, from a place of loving compassion and support. You see it as a gift and an honor to tend to others, and in doing so you, too, receive benefit. In a more literal sense, you may step into the role of ‘mother’, perhaps as the mother of a newborn, caretaker of other people’s children, or spending more quality time with your kids.
The Empress can also suggest pregnancy or birth. This may be an actual pregnancy or childbirth, or a metaphorical ‘birth’ of a new idea or project. Bring your creative ideas into being by nurturing them and supporting their growth. Allow those designs and their manifestation to flow through you, acting with compassion and love.
The Empress Reversed
Reversed, The Empress encourages you to make self-love and self-care a priority. Now is the time to bring your loving energy and focus to yourself, especially if you have been giving away your personal power by placing too much emphasis on another person’s emotional or material needs, thus neglecting your own. Book a girls’ weekend, go for a walk on your own or start a creative project that’s just for you. It is essential that you fill your cup and care for yourself so you can then take care of others without resentment.
You may also crave a stronger connection with nature and Mother Earth. Now is the perfect occasion to spend even just a few hours in a natural setting such as a beach, park or garden. Breathe in the radiant energy as you’re surrounded by nature’s beauty and take time to notice the little things: an ant racing along on the ground, new leaves budding on the trees, or the rich purples and greens of the flowers and plants.
The Empress Reversed can suggest that you are feeling a creative block, especially in ‘birthing’ a new idea or expressing yourself creatively. You may worry whether it will be a success or if your work is appealing to others. For now, don’t bother about what others think. The important thing is that you are allowing your creative energy to flow, even if it means keeping your newest creations private to you only (and even if they look like a three-year-old created them!).
The Empress Reversed may call your attention to issues around body image. Are you your biggest critic when it comes to how you look and the shape of your body? Learn to love your body again and give thanks for the lovely curves, lumps and bumps. Rediscover your beauty, inside and out.
In your relationships, you may take the ‘mothering’ role too far, becoming overprotective, co-dependent and controlling. If this resonates, it is time to shift your focus from the mother-child relationship to an adult-to-adult relationship by creating independence, trust and loving compassion.