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The Empress tarot card represents Mother Earth, the Divine Mother, the nurturing, healing principle in us all. She is our ability to express unconditional love, our call to creativity and our ability to love with wisdom. Read more about The Empress Tarot card meaning.

Love is the will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.

Scott Peck, The Road Less Travelled

Key Phrases of The Empress

  • Love with wisdom, a trusting and balanced heart
  • The feminine
  • Our ability to give and receive love 
  • Sunshine, harvest, abundance, a call to nature 
  • A love of all things beautiful
  • Creative expression
  • A call to nature

The Empress Tarot card upright keywords

  • Femininity
  • Abunchance
  • Nature
  • Creativity
  • New opportunity
  • Maternal
  • Caring
  • Nurturing
  • Pregnancy

The Empress Tarot card reversed keywords

  • Lack of feminine energy
  • Energy blocks
  • Lack of enjoyment and care
  • Unable to create
  • Self-neglect

The Empress Tarot card description

The Empress card shows an older woman with a peaceful demeanour. Her face is calm and loving. 

She sits atop a throne or platform, often shown with a scattering of cushions. Her attire is regal, consisting of flowing robes and decorative garments as well as a headdress or crown, often decorated with a scattering of stars. 

The Empress is almost always drawn in nature, surrounded by trees, mountains, plants and crops of wheat. In most decks, the symbol of Venus, the card’s ruling planet, can be seen. 

The Empress Tarot card from the Rider Waite deck
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The Empress Tarot card from the Rider-Waite deck

Key Points of The Empress tarot card

  • Astrological: Planet of Venus
  • Element: Earth
  • Number: 3

Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.

Song of Solomon (2:10)

Symbolism and mythology of The Empress Tarot card

 The symbol of love with wisdom, The Empress expresses humankind’s capacity to give and receive love. In Jungian psychology, The Empress tarot card relates to the collective unconscious concept of the anima. 

Mother Earth mythology

The Empress is the symbol of Mother Earth. Fertile, loving, nurturing, her gaze is relaxed and welcoming.  

In Greek mythology, the goddess Demeter is the Earth Mother. This archetype is also reflected as Venus, the Goddess of love, beauty and creativity. In Eastern philosophies, this energy would be referred to as yin energy. 

Mother Earth energy is worshipped across the ancient world. She would provide civilisations with the ideal conditions and weather patterns for farming, crop growing and eventually harvest. Without her help, people believed that they’d have to endure endless Winters with no hope for Spring.

With this, The Empress is outdoors, surrounded by lush forests, streams and growing plants. As Mother Earth, ears or fields of wheat are often shown in the card. Wheat is a symbol for harvest and the seasonal yielding of crops for nourishment, sustenance and abundance, and appears countless times in the Tarot. 

Attire and headdress

The Empress’ attire is regal. Her robe is sometimes shown with decorative patterns of pomegranates. Similar to the visuals seen in the card of The High Priestess, the pomegranate visual in this instance relates more to seeds, life-giving and fertility, not the connection of Persephone in the underworld. 

The Empress is always depicted wearing a headdress, often decorated with stars. Headpieces signal an elevated state of consciousness. Her headpiece symbolises her connection with both the natural world, the cosmos and the mystic realm. The stars link her to various harvest Goddesses, namely Astarte, Ishtar and Eostre, all relating to Easter.

Symbol of Venus

The symbol of Venus, the planet linked to The Empress, is always depicted in the card. Sometimes the symbol is embroidered onto a pillow or hanging from a tree. 

Venus is the planet of love. The symbol’s presence in the card hints at The Empress’ qualities of beauty, grace, love, fertility and creativity. 

The Empress Tarot card from the Robin Wood Tarot deck
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The Empress Tarot card from the Robin Wood Tarot deck


Visuals of birds are also present in most depictions of this card, either as an actual bird in flight or emblazoned on a shield. Across cultures, birds are seen as messengers, bringing us insight, new thoughts and messages that have been brought into conscious awareness. 

As creatures of the air, birds are intrinsically linked to the mental realms of consciousness. Doves, in particular, are prophetic birds, bringing insight from the future. This graphic hints at The Empress’ wisdom, and her ability to express love and wisdom simultaneously. 

The Empress Tarot Card meaning

Mother Nature, the Earth and the giver of life, The Empress represents powerful female forces and our connection to femininity. She has a strong connection to nature and the natural world, and revels in all things pleasurable, sensual and creative

A call to balance your feminine energy

The Empress reminds us to connect to our femininity. Regardless of your gender or sexual preference, this call to connect with the feminine talks to one’s nature for deep love.

For both men and women, The Empress archetype reveals one’s ability to love deeply, as well as their power to receive and to give love with wisdom. Not a gender or sexuality-related construct, the concept of the feminine principle is an energy that flows through each person. In Jungian psychology, the concept of the anima is the feminine energetic principle within the man. 

The Empress signifies a strong connection with this feminine energy and asks you to connect with it. The motivating energy of the feminine principle is to express love in the world, so whatever sparks love in you, seek it. 

This can be done in many ways; do whatever it is in your life that creates joy and allows you to experience a pleasure. The Empress, linked with the sign of Venus, celebrates all things related to beauty, creativity and the senses. Getting in touch with your feminine energy asks you to seek out experiences that set your soul alight. Find ways to: 

  • see and feel beauty in the world, such as visiting an art gallery, or connecting with nature,
  • express your creativity by painting, dancing, creating music
  • feel into all of your senses – enjoy your favourite meal, go for a massage, spend time with a loved one. 

For both men and women, it is important to recognise this feminine energy and create a balance between it and its masculine counterpart.

The Empress Tarot card from the Barbara Walker Tarot deck
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The Empress Tarot card from the Barbara Walker Tarot deck

Retreat to the wilderness

As The Empress is the Mother Earth archetype, linked with summer, harvest and abundance, her presence in a reading could be asking you to spend time outdoors and connect with the natural world

Grounding is a common spiritual practice, where one is encouraged to spend time in nature and tap into earth energy. This helps a person reconnect with their energy flow, decrease their blood pressure and anxiety, think more clearly and connect with higher realms of consciousness.

Maternal qualities

The Empress is the Divine Mother archetype. Should The Empress visit you in a reading, it may symbolise that you’re feeling some form of maternal energy. 

The Empress card can represent birth and fertility. This might be a literal birth of a child, or a figurative one, such as birthing new ideas, starting new projects, changing thought patterns, and nurturing each of these to grow. If fertility is something you’ve asked about, The Empress showing up in reading may be trying to give you a message.  

In some cases, this can indicate a ‘mothering’ role, where you may become a caretaker of someone or something. This doesn’t necessarily indicate babies or child or rearing, rather a sort of want to express a sense of nurturing, supporting or caring for another or a cause. 

Whether this is a lifelong personality trait of yours or an energy that has just recently come about, you may be filled with compassion and are able to express it openly. Alternately, The Empress may be asking you to get more in touch with the heart-led side of yourself and learn to express emotions of compassion or empathy better. 

Get creative

Ruled by Venus, which celebrates creativity, The Empress showing up in a reading could be an indication that you are brimming with creativity and that your desire to create is on the right path. 

Any artistic endeavour you want to pursue will bring you satisfaction. Your creative impulses are firing at lightning speed, so seek more of whatever calls you; be it painting drawing, cooking, gardening etc.

The Empress manifested

Should The Empress manifest in your life, she could be a person who has warm, nurturing, caring and compassionate qualities. This person may also be deeply connected to their sensuality, enjoys living life to the full and expresses love and affection easily. Whether male or female, this person could also have great creative talents. 

The more remote and unreal the personal mother is, the deeply will the son’s yearning for her clutch at his soul, awakening his primordial and eternal image of the mother for whose sake everything that embraces, protects, nourishes and helps assume maternal form, from the Alma Mater of the university to the personification of cities, countries, sciences and ideals.

Carl Jung

Other names of The Empress

  • L’Imperatrice
  • La Emperatriz
  • Die Herrscherin

The journey through the Major Arcana

Once The Fool has decided to explore the hidden realms, he meets the Divine Mother, The Empress. 

She shows him traits of compassion, nurturing and love, and so he learns ways that he can balance the feminine energy through sensuality and creativity. 

The Fool is taught to express and receive love, and that this exchange can have a healing quality.

Featured image available from Viva Luna Studios.

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