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TotOP - III - The Empress

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TotOP - III - The Empress


What the Eye Sees

The Empress is sitting on the edge of a wood. It is a little further down from where we saw the High Priestess standing. We can see the same stream working its way further towards the sea. A stag is standing in-between the trees at the edge of the wood. Three wood pigeons are flying around and one of them has landed upon the Empressís throne. The throne has a blue oval shaped back. A robin is perched beside the Empress, a lamb is looking up at her, a hare sits beside her, and a moth flutters at the very base of the card. There are a number of plants, flowers and fruits at her feet, including ears of corn.

She sits sideways on, at the right hand side of the card, with one bare foot stretched out towards the left most corner. This is relevant as the Emperor adopts the mirror image of this position and posture in his card.

The Empress is young and beautiful, with long flowing blonde hear. Her dress is green. She holds a pole with a Lotus flower at the top. She wears the female Venus symbol upon her necklace and it also appears on a plaque next to her. She wears a gold crown with numerous stars on top. She is breast feeding a child and she is pregnant.
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Looking Closer at the Symbolism

As with many of the delicately drawn and gently coloured cards in the Old Path deck, the Empress makes for a very warm, soothing and beautiful card.

Quite a lot of symbolism has been used, including flower language and fruit significance, which Iím sure Silverlotus may be able to enlighten us upon! Some of the symbolism however, is common to this card in other decks. The Empress often holds a Lotus flower, most famously in the Crowley Thoth deck, where its unfolding cup shape forms a feminine symbol representing sexuality and childbirth. As a water plant, it also relates to the Water Element and its associations such as emotion, love and the unconscious mind. The running water of the stream, representing fertility, is also a recurrent feature of the Empress card from deck to deck, often appearing as a waterfall.

Ears of wheat appear in numerous Empress Decks, including the Motherpeace Round Tarot which is usually quite removed from traditional Waite decks, but Iíve never truly understood what the wheat means, but itís clearly to do with harvest and yearly cycles. Perhaps someone else could expand?

The crown with its many stars is another common image, and Iíve heard it said that the stars represent the twelve months of the year. Both this, the stream, the wheat, the Venus plaque/shield, the wood and open grassland all stem directly from the Rider Waite Deck.
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Personal Response

This card clearly depicts motherhood, peace, caring and a oneness with nature, clearly shown by her Ďmother earthí green dress and the animals that gravitate to her. Meanings associated with this card such as fertility, childbirth, love, sex, marriage, environment, home life and pleasure are all depicted here. The robin brings a very sudden burst of red to this otherwise very earthily coloured picture. I think this is suggestive of love, sex passion and menstruation.

Her youth, long flowing blonde hair and even style of dress, suggest she could almost be The High Priestess a few years later. I do not think that she is, but I think that it does make the point that the High Priestess can make her own choices in life and become whoever she wants, she may wish to become the mother figure in the Empress card or she may not. It also suggests that the Empress is more than just a mother figure, reminding us that her very title states that she has other powers, duties, influences and roles to fulfil.

The Empress protects and presides over those that are in her care, be it her own child or her people.
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Some very interesting thoughts, Two of Wands. I do like the idea that she could be High Priestess. I like the possibility of some sort of interplay between this two archetypes. I makes me wonder if the Magician could be the Emperor, the shapeshifter changing shapes again or perhaps cleaned up and into more regal garb? Of course, I could be trying to take the idea to far.

As for the wheat, the book says it is riping corn. I'm not so sure about that though. It sure looks like wheat to me. I've seen plenty of corn, and I don't remember it looking like this at any stage. But I could be wrong. Anyway, irregardless of what it is, I believe it ties in with the cycle of life. Growing and dying. The Empress may be about fertility and new life, but there is always the possiblity of death. A little hint at her dark side, I think.
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Astrological Influence - Venus
Element - Earth, Air
Month - May, October
Contributor - Janet & Stwart Farrar

Plants:
- Mistletoe ~ regeneration and restoration
- Cherries ~ associated with Venus
- Pomegranate ~ oneness with the universe, fecundity

This is card is my favourite Empress card. I think that traditional meanings of fertility and motherhood are very well expressed in this card, where the Empress is both pregnant and nursing a child. Yet, she still somehow manages to seem powerful and graceful.

I'm currently looking at her with the Emperor card beside. They make a striking pair, one obviously representing the feminine, and the other the masculine. In other decks, especially the Robin Wood, I see this sort of opposition between the Magician and the High Priestess, but in this deck it is moved more into these two cards. The Empress is full of symbols of the Goddess (the hare, the Venus symbols, the lotus, etc.). It also has a feeling of wildness and nature that has been brought under control, but not tamed. This contrasts nicely with the Emperor card, which will be discussed in the next thread.

The book refers to her as "Isis Veiled in the robe of nature". I'm a little unclear on this since I have not studied the idea Isis Veiled or Isis Unveiled.

I find myself drawn again and again to two aspects of this card. The first is her dainty bare foot sticking out from beneath her gown. One would expect an Empress to have beautiful jeweled shoes. But I think this lady would rather feel the grass beneath her feet, to stay in touch with nature. It could also be a nod to her ability to stay grounded, even with the power she holds. The other thing that draws my eye is her lotus wand. Obviously I have an affinity for lotus flowers. It is a flower the has been used by many cultures to symbolize beauty and purity, which are characteristics that are well suited to this Empress.
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One thing I noticed here was the predominance of daisies amongst the grass, any specific significance to that?

The wheat/ears of corn (I always think wheat for some reason) makes me think of being connected to Mother Nature, also of the practical and physical work that is being undergone, especially when rearing young, be it animals or people.
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the book has nothing about daisies, but I would bet they are another representation of fertility and motherhood possibly?
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woohoo! I was looking in SilverLotus' thread about the Language of flowers and there are some links, they say daisies represent innocence
http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread...threadid=13701
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The blue throne and lotus emphasize her Water nature. Does the stag near the woods represent the Emperor?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by northsea
Does the stag near the woods represent the Emperor?
I've always had the feeling that the Stag is a father figure ....... especially as it appears in the Lone Man card too (and of course Lone Man reduces to Empress).
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