The Empress


“There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.”

- Friedrich Nietzsche

The Empress - Waite Smith
The Empress - Thoth

Associations / Attributions

Hermetic Title
Daughter of the Mighty Ones
Earth (lesser Water)
Venus (Taurus)
Hebrew Letter
Daleth (Door)
Sephirotic Path
Chokmah (Wisdom) to Binah (Understanding)
Potential Uses
Creating something new; attracting or celebrating pleasure (especially of the senses)

Card Meanings / Keywords

Golden Dawn

Beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, luxury.


Fruitfulness, initiative, action; the unknown; doubt and ignorance. Reversed: Light, truth, unravelling, pubic rejoicings.


Love, beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, elegance, luxury, debauchery, gentleness, delight.


Manifestation, giving birth to something new, happiness, pleasure.


The Empress is Queen of the Earth and its abundant fruits. As such she holds sway over all that walk the land, as well as the birds who dwell close to the earth and creatures who swim at the surface of the sea. She is especially potent at the liminal areas between land and sea, where life arises as Aphrodite arose from the waters in her birth. Aphros from the Ancient Greek can be translated as “foam” on the sea, a euphemism for the semen of the severed genitals of Uranos (Heaven) cast into the ocean by Chronos (Time). Mythically she is gateway to the world of form, between the seas governed by the lunar High Priestess and the earth.

The Empress is associated with the myths of Demeter, Persephone, Aphrodite/Venus, Gaia, Eve, and the matronly and motherly aspects of Isis and Mary (the Magdalene). While she holds as much earthly power as the Emperor (and more so in her ability to bring forth life), her expression is that of earth and surface waters rather than fire. She is inviting, rejuvenating, and life-sustaining in her kindly aspects; she is the typhoon, earthquake, drought, and famine when she is crossed.

The Empress is lover and mother, seductress and muse. As a woman in her fully embodied power, she inspires awe: She is at once beautiful to behold, and yet to be in her presence is potentially more than a little terrifying by virtue of the immensity of her eminence and puissance. She is the human body itself in and of this world. As such, she has the potential to create and be anything she desires. She is also a gateway to the soul and the High Priestess. She is the alchemical Salt and a form of the Grail.

When this card appears in a reading, it generally brings a positive influence and can indicate pleasure and happiness. It may point to something new being created, or the enjoyment of an experience. In rare cases when modified by several destructive cards, it may point to a natural disaster; even then, it is often the prelude to birthing something new.

The Empress has a strong effect on the body, it’s healthy function, and the ability to be fully embodied in a situation.


What scent intoxicates my thoughts with dreams of succulents sticky with salts?
What song spell pulls my heart beating drums to my ears?
A woman certain holds the origin of bliss, the life of the world spins thick around her
Lay upon her verdant hills and swim within the waters of her womb
My body and my breath are hers
As birds sing of pleasure and beauty
She smiles the light of my eyes, the tremble of my touch

Where do I inspire others to success and fruitfulness? What is the power of life held in this embodied form that I am? What am I holding and ready to give birth to?