The Empress

Number: 3 | Element: EARTH | Planet: VENUS

Upright: Sensuality, Creativity, Abundance
Reversed: Insecurity, Carelessness, Lack of Inspiration


Beautiful, empowered, and pregnant: this card depicts the Empress, the arcanum linked to the most benign attributes of the female archetype.

The Empress is a representation of woman as a trope, a symbol, and an allegory. She symbolises motherhood and fertility, love, beauty, sexuality, and emotion. Such derive from the non-intellectual feelings, related to emotion and intuition, that are basic to human life. 

As a female archetype, some interpretations define her as pure emotion and creative energy because of her ties to Aphrodite, the goddess of love and sexuality, and Demeter, the goddess of wealth, earth fertility and harvest. Therefore, the references to the material and vegetal world are also quite strong in this card. The Empress rests on comfortable cushions, which denotes a physical and material comfort. 

A sense of harmony and peace emanates from her aura, akin to a forest atmosphere. These quiet and misty forests are visible in the background, signifying her connection with Mother Earth and life itself. Around her feet grows the abundance of wheat and rye, which is linked to harvest and fertility. Her halo of light suggests a cyclic motion related to Nature and the sequence of seasons, reminding us of Persephone.

Her left hand, the passive and feminine side, holds a golden sceptre, symbol of royal and noble power. After all, she is the Empress, a representation of the gifts of the goddesses. The globe at the tip of the sceptre resembles a small world, or a seed yet to bloom, alluding to the pregnancy of the Empress.

Her right hand holds onto a heavy shield with a flaming and wounded heart on it. This shield is no more than her own heart, a heart full of passion and strength to live, but emotionally fragile.

Upright Meaning and Interpretation

Sensuality, Creativity, Abundance.

The Empress is strongly associated with creativity, expression, and fertility. She unveils a path full of happy moments for us, so we must go along that path and just know how to take care of ourselves. Do not conceal your physical beauty, instead, you must cherish it. Have a nice haircut, exercise your body, and get in touch with your own sensuality. Open the path of wisdom to your own body and senses.

Every so often, The Empress is an indicator of pregnancy, or maybe the beginning of a new project. Enjoy these moments of intense inspiration to develop your creative side, and flourish within yourself.

As an archetype of Mother Earth, the Empress also advises you to get into the wild and explore nature. Observing the trees, breathing pure air, knowing the colours of the seasons: this is the time to breathe in, and to learn how to relax and enjoy the moment.

If you are a man, you must also know that it is time to balance your feminine side.

Reversed Meaning and Interpretation

Insecurity, Carelessness, Lack of Inspiration.

When The Empress shows up inverted, it is a sign that you need to focus on yourself. Make yourself the priority and forget about other people’s emotional or material needs. You might have neglected yourself for too long.

You may experience a creative block or lack of inspiration. Awaken the wanderer in you and spend some time in nature: explore a landscape, go hiking in the mountains, immerse yourself in the sacred quietness of a forest. Nature’s radiance will help you clear your head and allow your creative energy to flow.

This card in reverse may also signify that you have been overprotective and sometimes controlling regarding your social or love relationships. That creates anxiety and discomfort in other people, so it might be wise to take a step back and examine the way you deal with someone.