The 78 Cards: The Empress

The Empress, Rider Waite Tarot

Beautiful, sensual, and our representative for Venus, The Empress calls upon us to embrace the physical realm, and indulge a little (or a lot)!

Upright: Feminine energy, fertility, wealth, material abundance, grace and beauty
Reversed: Criticism of oneself, material lack, instability

I think in some ways it can be easy to misunderstand the appearance of The Empress; when I speak of material gain and possessions to my clients, it can be easy to interpret this as being vain or overly materialistic, when at her core, The Empress is not like this at all. I like to make the association between The Empress and the zodiac sign Taurus (both associated to Venus) in order to explain how her connection to the material really functions.

A matured Taurus is a thoughtful consumer; they have high regard for quality tastes, designs, and aesthetics, and thus have a heightened appreciation for these things when they come across them. Like The Empress, they appreciate and show gratitude towards beautiful images, and all the more important is the amount of love and sentiment put behind the food, artwork, object, or whatever it is at hand. At their best, The Empress and the sign Taurus display a healthy relationship with the material, and embody what we should strive for when it comes to our possessions and gifts to others (and ourselves).

To give an example of a practical way in which The Empress assists us, one that always comes to mind is how we make and take care of our home. It’s not a secret that our physical space in our home is often representative of our mental state, ie. a clean home is a happy home. This is something that’s always been true for me as well; the more stressed and unhappy I am, the messier my home becomes. The Empress calls upon us to show respect and care towards the place where we lay our head, out of gratitude for simply having that space and also as a gesture of self-love for ourselves.

So, when The Empress pops up in a reading, she is often a good sign of tangible abundance, but remember that we often get what we give. Sometimes The Empress comes up for me when I’m the one giving gifts to others, sometimes she comes up when I need a reminder to practice some self-care and turn on the bubble bath. Contrary to popular belief, she’s not just a sign of money or wealth or pregnancy (although she can be!), and more generally speaks to our relationship to the physical.