The Empress

receive so that you may create from a nourished well

from Dali Tarot (Taschen Books)

From the out and in of The Magician and The High Priestess, respectively, we get the creative principle of The Empress. She is the fertility of the Earth Mother, fruitful and abundantly creative. She is the essence of yin to The Emperor’s yang (and with an awareness of binary gender labeling, we can again think in terms of a spectrum, with each at either end and the majority in various places in between, or always containing elements of the other as in the yin/yang symbol). In this capacity of yin, the deep knowledge of this card lies in receptivity. We cannot create without rooting to a source of nourishment. While she shares the receptive quality of The High Priestess before her, she is not passive but symbolizes the flowing richness of birthing to material form and nurturing growth. Her element is earth, and we reconnect through her to the ground and our roots, our gateway to Divine Receptivity.

(-) In resistance, we cannot create because we’re not open to receiving. Sometimes, receiving can feel really confronting, and we may want to explore the roots of that.

Since the first line of the Major Arcana portrays egoic identities, might this card also pertain to the culturally dictated identity of women as childbearers– especially to those who are not nor ever will be mothers? (Not just unable to receive, but unable to conceive.)

(+) In excess, the archetypal mother figure may represent the obvious “mother issues” (as The Emperor may relate to father issues), and we’re invited to explore the remnants from our relationship with our own mother which may be at the root of the issue. In another aspect, we may be overprotective in our nurturing capacity, smothering and preventing others from achieving their own individuality. In our constant attempt to nurture others, do we fail to acknowledge our own needs? Or are we so focused on our own self-nurturance that we fail to recognize the needs of others?

Questions we may be prompted to ask when this card comes up include

  • What internal parts are rooted in your complex or dysfunctional relationship with your mother? When is the inner voice hers?
  • How is your relationship with self-nurturance?
  • Are you blocked in your creative project(s)?
  • What do you find difficult to receive? Money? Attention? Nurturance? Where is that rooted?
  • Is there a part of you in conflict with the culturally dictated identity of women as childbearers?

What else? The archetypes of the majors are complex and you may have other insights. How has this card come up for you? What are some examples of this card’s energies?

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