A gown decorated with pomegranates, a crown of stars, a rod, a heart-shaped shield with the symbol for Venus, a field of ripe wheat.
Empress Tarot Story
Having decided what he will create with his tools, the Fool strides forward, impatient to make his future a full-grown reality. This is when he comes upon the Empress. Her hair gold as wheat, wearing a crown of stars, and a white gown dotted with pomegranates. She rests back on her throne surrounded by an abundance of grain and a lush garden. It is possible that she is pregnant.*
Kneeling, the Fool relates to her his story. And she, in turn, smiles a motherly smile and gently gives him this advice: “Like newly planted grain or a newborn babe, a new life, a new relationship, a new creation is fragile. It requires patience and nurturing. It needs love and attention. Only this will bring it to fruition.” Understanding at last that his creations will take time to develop, the Fool thanks the Empress and continues on his way.
* Pregnant. Well, not in the Rider-Waite deck she isn’t. But many other decks go for pregnancy as part of the Empress’ iconography.
Empress Tarot Card Meaning
The Empress is a creator, be it creation of life, of romance, of art or business. While the Magician is the primal spark, the idea made real, and the High Priestess is the one who gives the idea time and space to decide on a form, the Empress is either the womb or nursery where it grows till it reaches a certain level of maturity.
This is why the Empress’ symbol is Venus, goddess of beautiful things and gardens, as wells as sex and love. Venus is the goddess of artists, and helps them painstakingly develop their pieces from clay to statue, from first brushstroke to masterpiece.
Even so, however, the Empress has more in common with Demeter, goddess of abundance, then sensual Venus, as the wheat in the background and the pomegranates on her dress imply. She is the giver of Earthly gifts, the great, fertile mother goddess. Yet at the same time, she can, in anger, withhold as Demeter did when her daughter, Persephone was kidnapped. In fury and grief, she kept the Earth barren till her child was returned to her.