Mythic Study - The Empress


The Empress has come up many times in readings I’ve done for myself. Due to my lack of knowledge, it’s always made me a bit nervous. When she appears, I always think, OMG! He’s got a girl on the side and she’s pregnant! Or, OMG! He has a secret family or he has some attachment to his mother and can’t let go! LOL! Or, OMG! I’m going to get pregnant! LOL (I wonder which card represents jumping to conclusions) Anyway, I understand now that she means much more….

Without her we cannot appreciate our physical selves, but live disconnected in a purely intellectual world without any grounding or respect for reality. - The Mythic Tarot

To me, the Empress teaches the Fool to respect his own body and mind and without care and nurturing it becomes stagnant….barren… He learns from her that he cannot continually go through life with his head in the clouds and leaping off cliffs; if he did, we’d only have a partial deck, he’d kill himself before he ever reached the card of the World! I think she also teaches him that there is a time for everything. As the book states, “Things move in cycles and ripen at the appropriate time.” Be it relationships, ourselves, creative ideas….they all need care and nurturing to become something meaningful and fulfilling…..


Earth Mother

Love your interpretation Daizy.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted

(Ecclesiastes 3)

The Empress is ripe and so is the earth around her. She understands how to plant and reap. Nothing is lacking where she walks for she is Mother.

In the background of the card, I see fruit trees next to a river and many orchards cover the distant hills. At her feet are three red flowers, flowers of passion.


accepting change

a point to note - we talk about the seasons changing and one appropriately coming after another in its proper time. But think about why those seasons change (according to the myth). Demeter was not easily accepting change (the compromise worked out with Hades where Prosephone would spend 3 months of the year with him) and during those 3 months of absence, she withholds bounty from the earth in because she misses her daughter.


I love this card. It is like she is the queen of nature. I think the changeability of Demeter is the dark side of the Empress the smothering mother that doesn't let her children live their own lives. She is furtile and soft summer breezes and the whisper of wheat in the field. Abundance and joy and protection. She will nurture but will she let you go?


I was just wondering...If when using the Mythic Tarot if you all use reversals? I know that the author does not, that there are good and bad aspects to the meaning of the cards but when or how do we know which aspect applies? I don't use reversals myself but have noticed when I do a reading I inadvertently take notice if the card is reversed or not.


Its a nice card. I guess everyone wants some peace, comfort and consolation, and this is what the 'yin' energy is, free from the challenges of 'yang'. Shes matronly, possibly pregnant, Venusian, although I think suggests relationship rather than a self-contained potency. She is, after all, the partner of the Emperor - a more austere card concerned with power.


no reversals

I don't use reversals because:

1. I started with the Thoth deck which does not use reversals
2. I bought the Mythic deck because I am very much influenced by Liz Greene and her thoughts on astrology.

This last influence is probably paramount for me. Astrologers can't "reverse" planets. Instead, each planet holds the sum positive and negative meanings for the archetype as a whole. There is no need for reversals if this same theory is applied to tarot cards. Each card shows both the up- and down-sides of the archetype. I use the adjoining cards to determine whether the card is more positive or negative.

I guess the Thoth folks did that too, with the dignities. It just seemed natural to me.

The book which accompanies the Mythic deck reads very much like Liz Greene's astro texts. No card is exclusively good or bad.


wizzle said:
Astrologers can't "reverse" planets. Instead, each planet holds the sum positive and negative meanings for the archetype as a whole. There is no need for reversals if this same theory is applied to tarot cards.
That makes so much sense Wizzle, I've never given astrology much thought except for reading the types of personalities that belong to each zodiacal sign and star gazing. It always seemed too complicated for my simple mind but I might have to delve deeper...

Anyone care to start us off on the Emporer? :)


Nature and the City

This is a wonderful card. I just have to look at it to feel more in tune with myself and with nature - or know when I am not. She is beautiful and graceful, clothed in field flowers. I like the waterfall behind her - nature cannot thrive without water. And the river that leads - where?

That city on her head - she carries the civilised world, because without food and fertility, civilisation comes to a full stop. It is a strong image of the depedence of urban man on nature - I see this as an ecological card. On our good husbanding of the earth depends our own comfort and survival.

A reminder too - that city-crown - of the creative quality of the Empress.

It reminds me of the City often represented in the ancient Tarot decks to represent the World. A divine city, a mirror of a human one - only the divine city will have married nature, not declared war on it.

Demeter is one of the most ancient goddesses of Greece, far older than the Greeks themselves. And her worship evolved over time, eventually to reach its most philosophical and spiritual expression in the mysteries of Eleusis, the Orphic rites, which, we think, influenced the Hermetics, and therefore, the later makers of the Tarot. We might say that Demeter is the mother of the Tarot, like Thoth-Hermes is its father.

Demeter here is shown in all her fertile glory. When her daughter Persephone (the High Priestess - I didn't see a thread on her?) was kidnapped by Hades, Demeter became infertile with sorrow: she roamed the dying earth looking for her beloved child and neglected her cultures. This is a reminder that fertility, creativity, are not only solar and positive, but linked to invisible, underground forces, and to love. When we are cut from these sources - the invisible, the unconscious, and love - we dry up.


I wondered about that Helvetica. My Sharman-Casselli deck has the High Priestess before the Empress and the Mythic Tarot has the High Priestess after the Emporer...which is the correct way? Anyone know?