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The Fairytale Tarot (MRP): The Empress

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The Fairytale Tarot (MRP): The Empress


Card Image: The King's castle on the mountain in the background. In the foreground are Cinderella and her Fairy God Mother with her wand is in hand and raised. Before them are a pumpkin, two rates, and a pair of frogs in clothes. Cinderella is dressed plainly and Fairy God Mother is in a bright dress with butterfly wings sprouting out behind her. The Fairy God Mother is quite a bit taller or she is simply closer to the foreground of the card.

There is a variety of Cinderella stories and the Fairy God Mother is not in all of them. It is the most popular version of the story though I am a bit partial to the Hazel tree version. Here is a link to a website account of that version of the story. http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/grimm021.html The standard Fairy God Mother version of the story is one that most are familiar with and is clearly the inspiration for the card.

The Empress is the card of the Mother Archetype and there are several in the tale to look at as an possible expression for the card.

First is Cinderella’s dead mother. This mother brings life and imparts the idea to live a good and pious life. I like the Hazel tree version for in that story it is her own dead mother responses to her tears and provides for her the gown for the ball.

Alternately, the Fairy God Mother is the feminine archetype and illustrates a magical provider and a source of hope and bounty. I like in the companion book as they illustrate her more fully as the bridge between the common world and the extraordinary world of magic and possibility. The illustration on the card shows the connection to nature through the animals. The story indicates that Cinderella is also well connected with nature but the Fairy God Mother is able to transform the creatures into objects of use.

The evil stepmother is likewise another version of the feminine archetype but focused on fulfilling her own interests first. She is determined to find the best for her own daughters, and by extension herself. (The reversed idea of the card may be more of the evil Stepmother versus the good Fairy God Mother.)

There is a greater sense of how the world does respond in favor of the action that began the course of events and in like kind. Cinderella is good and pious and therefore she finds how the nature around her and the more magical/spiritual world also responds to goodness and to her piety. The Empress is one who also allows one to reap what was sown. There is the pregnant expectation of the Empress that world for good and for ill. Just as Cinderella is rewarded the evil stepsisters are punished for their greed and the evil stepmother’s desire to gain a princely husband.

In the companion guide there is some discussion of Lewis Spence’s idea of the mythic similarities between the Fairy world and the spirits of the dead. The good Fairy God Mother is a bridge between the mundane and the magical. The Fairy God Mother as the Empress is the one who teaches us to see the magical potential in growth and life. She teases out the potential of what can be from what currently exists. There is a magic that can be found in the human endeavor to achieve something great that may still seem to be a magical process.

Onyx.
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