A woman sits on a cushioned luxurious chair, turned slightly to face the viewer. Her robe is adorned with rich fruits. In the foreground a field of corn is ripening. Beside her, on the ground to her right, is a heart shaped shield bearing the mark of the planet Venus. Her legs are crossed at her ankles under the robe. Her left hand rests on her left knee while her right arm is raised to hold a short, globe-topped scepter. Her crown bears 12 stars. Behind her, in the background, a thick forest can be seen with a river that descend off a cliff as a waterfall.
The Empress was initially one of my most difficult cards to interpret. I had difficulty getting past the misogynist consensus that the Empress represented Every Woman, and was weak, passive, a tool for the Emperor/Every Man to use, and merely a conduit for procreation. Why? Why must the feminine always be regarded as lesser to the masculine? Why does having a womb mean the womb-bearer is unsuitable for any office of command and/or authority? Why are we still holding on to 1910 errant ideals when doing so poisons the present?
My Empress is more a management style than an expression of gender. Could be a man, could be a woman, could identify as neither, could be genderfluid. She rules her kingdom in a different way than the Emperor, but make no mistake, she rules. She does not demand recognition as the master of all things, but she holds all the fealties anyway. She expresses her fecundity by being the CEO of her holdings. She delegates as necessary, contracts as necessary, encourages those under her, and makes sure everyone is fed or at least has a living wage.
She may appear to the ignorant as weak because she is often seen showing a contented or resting persona. She is surrounded by the proof of her lordship, the fruits of her fields, the resources at her command, and the proliferation of creative output. Those looking for thrones made from the spoils of the conquered will be disappointed. Her trophies are the full larder, the budding fields, the apprentices honing their craft, and that art that feeds the soul. She inspires, she encourages, she is the whisper in your ear that says, “Do it. It will be beautiful.”.
As a standalone card, the Empress represents productive and sustainable increase, delegation, diplomacy, and the cunning necessary to make it all work. If she is reversed, ill dignified, or set against the Querent, then she represents someone working to decrease or spoil the Querent’s holdings. The Querent would be advised to check their own sphere of influence and make sure those under them are secure. If upright, well dignified, or shown as working with the Querent, the Querent will have a great help at hand. Just remember that while the Empress may allow the Querent to take the accolades, she is not a tool to be used without her consent.