Thoth-ATU 3-The Empress
Is the Path of Daleth-meaning-Door, and her planet is Venus. THE EMPRESS, is also called the "Gate way to Heaven", as She is the transitional state of energy between the above and the below. The effect of this transition is from one into many, so the key to this card is multiplicity.
If one looks at THE PRIESTESS card, they'll observe a simple diaphanous robe of light while that of THE EMPRESS is appropriately covered with all the jewels of creation. As a Qabalist, I am painfully aware of the inadequacy of anthropomorphic symbolism when describing the Supernal Triangle (Creator Trinity), the as Above. Yet the Tarot pictures unconsciously communicate a great deal of information, that words can only flail at. The images represented in THE EMPRESS card are an attempt to convey the concept of pure fruition. As an exercise towards this goal of understanding, the initiate must try to conceive of pure emotion., which is a feeling that has no subject or object, neither love nor hate, but which is the raw material of both; a kind of Lust without need of result. Armed with such an understanding, the initiate may begin to understand something of the Great Binah, The Great Mother, and THE EMPRESS, who is the Illuminating Intelligence or Birth Mother of information through a transitional state of Understanding. She is Mother Nature.
All that is Life on Earth is the providence of THE EMPRESS, as she builds life forms around the Spirit or Spiral Frequencies of the One Energy, establishing the Laws of the Universe that have to do with restriction and formation. She is the Supernal Female Force. She is also Venus-Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. Love is the Law; Her Law.
The Luminous Intelligence of Chokmah, becomes the Illuminating Intelligence of THE EMPRESS, inferring filling up and emitting Light, thus bestowing the title of Mother of Light on the Great Mother of Creation.
She is a Door, and one may pass through a door in any direction, to pass through her on the Return Path, is to pass into Supreme Darkness. Therefore, the ancients often depicted this door way as the exposed Vagina of the Great Mother, such as the ancient Sheela na Gig of the Irish. The Vagina/Yoni recognized as a one-way birth and the other way , and/or return to the "Gateway of Heaven" is via death. Here before her, the worn and often battle weary dead are ready to “pass over” as she commands power, sincerity, and fertility.
The dual dynamic of the Door, has often been shown as Janua Coeli (meaning “gateway to heaven”) which is derived from the “Yoni gate” (vagina) of the Goddess Juno (later as the Roman Two-Faced god Janus) as a personification, Juno had two faces, each face looking in opposite directions. One face looking in the direction of birth and the other in the direction of death. In fact, the Latin word janua means door and this goddess was later reinstated by the Romans, as male and to have presided over communications and the affairs of men. Here then, as THE EMPRESS, Janua/Janus, presided over the passage of information and the affairs of a mankind. Originally, Janus was a Solar Entity, and THE EMPRESS is the Mother of the Sun, so the comparison is not only viable but pertinent as well. Thus, anything that can be said about Juno/Janua/Janus can be said about THE EMPRESS as well, even though she is often now anthropomorphized on the Thoth card as Venus-Aphrodite the Womb of life and death.
The Luxurious Proliferation of Nature with each facet so compelling, being both beautiful and hypnotic, can cause one to lose sight of the Overview of the Path of Daleth/The Empress. This point was acknowledged by A. Crowley in his Book of Thoth, where he warned, “The student who is dazzled by any given manifestation may be led astray. In no other card is it so necessary to disregard the parts and to concentrate upon the whole".
We know that the Venus-Aphrodite is the "Goddess of Love” but many forgot that She is also named the "Goddess of Desire". Desire, being born with the most abstract principle of Form, holds a very specific meaning for the Student of the Mysteries, as to feel is to desire, but to unite wholly with the Universe, requires the "want of nothing". Thus, the coming to or the leaving of desire is another aspect of the Doorway that is THE EMPRESS— the Path of Daleth.
THE EMPRESS as shown in the Thoth Deck card, looks to be all nurturing and light; However, the darkened crescent of the Moon suggests transformation or change and to Qabalists She is known as the Mother of Life and Death. Growth and destruction are concurrent Empress Activities, just as old cells die and new cells are born in a daily cycle in your physical body.
The transparent bubbles shown in front of the Thoth Tarot- Empress image, represent the veil that we must pass through to realize the Path of Daleth (Door), to pass beyond the veil is to cross into a completely new level of conscious energy, where her law of Understanding no longer applies. The veil is a dramatic separation of imagined reality and what is real.
By now, the able initiate knows that the most abused word God describes the Divine Creative Mind that created the Universe by Self-Identity. We do the same thing, as "images of god", we create reality by imagining it. Whatever we create in our personal minds, becomes us or our creation as self. This is an often a misunderstood concept or precept of both metaphysics and the Mysteries. However, as a Personality attains greater Self-Awareness, the implications of responsibility for what one thinks become most profound!
The Thoth Empress, is illustrated in the alchemical image of Salt, that is the inactive principle which is activated by the alchemical Sulfur (Emperor), maintaining the whirling (Spiral) balance of the Universe.
The design of the Alchemical symbol of Salt, is, a circle with a line bisecting it horizontally, as is shown in the positioning of her arms and if you put the Empress and the Emperor, side by side, her on the Left and Him on the right, the order of English writing, their faces are looking at each other.This is illustrating the Tibetan word Yab Yum, that means, Goddess God, face to face, as well as, the activating activity of the Empress Card as the double faced Creatrix. This is again depicted in the Lovers-ATU 6 card and their complete alchemy of combined opposites, is shown on the Art Card-ATU 14.
The Venus Aphrodite depiction is carried on in the unashamed nudity of the Female Goddess in the Universe Card-beauty has nothing to hide.
The twisted blue shapes on the Thoth card represent flames and her birth from Water, which we know to represent the Conscious Trinity of the Universal Collective Unconscious (Unconscious, subconscious and consciousness). The Living Holy Grail, is the Lotus like chalice in her hand. At her waist is the Zodiacal Girdle. Above her head are the dove and sparrow, both are birds of Venus. At her feet is a white pelican that is feeding her own young with her own flesh which is a common symbol of the Great Mother, for even not so great mothers, build the young from their own flesh. Hence, the Swan is a symbol of boundless devotion and motherly love. The white eagle shield cor responds to that red eagle shield of the Emperor. To reiterate, the alchemical references for the Supernal Triangle are, THE MAGUS is Mercury, THE EMPRESS is Salt, THE EMPEROR, is Sulfur. Thus Kether is Mercury, Binah is Salt and Chokmah is Sulfur, the Sephiroth united on the Tree of Life that turn our leaden consciousness into the Golden Intelligence of the Son (Sun), i.e. the Divine Child. The only blocking veil to this end, is Desire consciousness. We must lose the reality of the” I Want's" known as "Wanna-Be's" and become the “I AM's” of our original inheritance.
As always, words make the reality of their meanings seem so simple, but in truth, the simplest words are the most subjective, such as IT, or I. One must cross the emptiness of want, of sense, of sight, before one can visit the Great Mother, who creates the “I Am” of us all.
Tarot Illuminati-Key 3-The Empress
Venus incarnate in sensual earth
The Tarot Illuminati-Key 3-The Empress, depicts an elaborately dressed Empress similar to the early Queen Elizabeth style of 16th Century England. Dressed in dazzling light images of Nature with the Key of State, and the ornate scepter of authority. The heart shaped shield with the sigil of Venus, shows Love and her law thereof. Wheat sheaves in her left hand depict the fertility that the Greeks attributed to the Goddess Artemis.The background is a babbling stream and fertil nature. One could stare at this picture for hours and still find intriguing images woven into the fabric of her apparel.
She is the impregnated silence, from which form comes as she Understands the Wisdom of Chokmah (Emperor) turning it into "information"/in-form-action. She is the Creatrix of every moment that engenders all possibilities with active force (Will to Form) towards manifestation. Life is beauty (6th Sephiroth-Tiphareth ) the earth we walk upon, is beauteous and wonderful, as are we her beautiful informations of Self. When we observe creation and ourselves, as beauty and wonderful, we become unconditional love. Her love. We are the Children of Love and Beauty. Above all things, know thyself.
What applied to the Thoth Empress also applies to the Tarot Illuminati Empress.
When the Empress Card is thrown, the querent is experiencing:
- The principle of wise love.
- The power of owning your own inherited maternal and loving nature that resides within.
- There is an opening to all sensuality and delighting in luxury of the senses, as does a child, before they are taught to fear them.
- One finds comfort among the natural, having no need of control.
- A surge of Creative imagination, as imagination is everything in our reality, this promises achievement and success in our goals.
- The querent may experience a high dedication to healing and nurturing.
- All in all, THE EMPRESS, represents happy, stable, relationships, growth and fertility.
- Creating beauty.
If ill defined by surrounding cards:
- Destructive Mother (step mother image of fairy tales).
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