The Empress | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

The Empress

Keywords for the Empress


In the image on the card, we see a beautiful woman seated on her throne, a stone bench covered in lush cushions and beautiful fabrics. The Empress wears a white dress covered in red pomegranates, indicating her association with the great goddesses of the ancient world, such as Isis, Astarte, Demeter and her daughter Persephone. 

In her right hand, she holds a short scepter, which appears very similar to a sistrum, the sacred instrument of Isis, Hathor, and other goddesses of Ancient Egypt. On her head, she wears a crown of twelve stars, each representing one of the twelve signs of the zodiac.

At the bottom of her stone bench, we see the shield of the Empress. This shield bears the shape of a heart, a reference to our emotional nature. On this heart is engraved the glyph for Venus, goddess of love, romance, beauty and passion. 

A river flows from behind the Empress down underneath the ground at her feet. This water of this river has its source in the flowing robes of the High Priestess, which tells us that the root matter of subconsciousness is the life energy animating all life, including the physical manifestation of the Empress. 

Directly in front of the Empress grows a field of wheat, which is yet another reference to the fertility goddesses of the ancient world (especially the Greek Demeter). Along with the pomegranates embroidered on her gown, the cypress trees behind the Empress speak to the element of Death that is by its very nature contained within Life. 

Interpretation of the Empress 

When the Empress comes up in a reading, she carries with her many of the meanings associated with the Divine Mother. She is thought to be loving, caring, nurturing and gentle. 

In addition to the archetype of the Mother, the Empress also signifies the archetypal “lover” or “mistress.” Associated with the goddesses Venus and Aphrodite, she also represents love, romance, and beauty, as well as sexuality and passion. 

In a reading, she stands for an approach to life that is rooted more in Eros than in the Logos or wisdom we saw previously with the High Priestess. She represents full embodiment, being in touch with our feelings, and the appreciation of sensuality and the pleasure to be found in the physical world. 

She is a woman who appreciates and creates beauty, abundance and pleasure for herself and those around her. The Empress is a potent reminder that pleasure and love are among the highest motivating forces in the universe. 

This card is highly associated with the idea of creation, of using our imagination in conjunction with our desires to create new life, whether that be through the birth of a child or a new project, plan or idea. 

When we allow our hearts to guide us, we often find it is easier to create and produce something of value in a way that is truly generative and sustainable.

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.