The Thoth Empress represents the 14 Path of Daleth-meaning-Door, and her planet is Venus. THE EMPRESS, is also called the "Gateway to Heaven", as She is the transitional state of intelligence 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 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, the as Above, yet 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, powered by Will as an emoting of energy.
When armed with such an understanding, the initiate may begin to understand something of the Great Binah, The Ternary Great Mother, and one of her aspects THE EMPRESS, who is the Illuminating Intelligence or Birth Mother of Ideas through a transitional state of Understanding. She is Mother Nature of the Cosmos. She illuminates understanding, we know her as giving energy a form we call "Visible Light".
All that is Life on Earth and in the Cosmos, is the providence of THE EMPRESS, as she builds life forms as the Spirit or Spiral Frequencies of Light, 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 that ensures impeccable creation.
The Luminous Intelligence of Chokmah, where light is expressed as electric Will to Force, becomes the Illuminating Intelligence of THE EMPRESS, inferring filling up and emitting Light, thus bestowing the title of Mother of Visible Light on the Great Mother.
She is an Inner- Door, and one may pass through a door in 2 directions, to pass through her on the Return Path, is to pass into Supreme Darkness, to pass from Supreme Darkness one enters the realms of Light. Therefore,the ancients, in this case the Celts who represented her as Sheela Na Gig, often depicted this door way as the exposed Vagina of the Great Mother. From Womb to Vagina is one-way birth and the other way the entry, is the “Little death” or Petite Mort of the French. Here before her, the worn and often battle weary dead are ready to “pass over”into the Abyssal Womb, where 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 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 ideas and affairs of a man. 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 as Venus-Aphrodite the Womb of life and death.
The Luxurious Proliferation of Nature with each facet so compelling, being both beautiful and hypnotic, makes it possible for the student to lose sight of the Overview of the Path of Daleth. This point was acknowledged by A. Crowley in his Book of Thoth, where he warned, and “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 and 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 areas of the crescent 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 Card- The Empress image, represents the veil that we must pass through to realize the Path of Daleth (Door), for to pass beyond the veil is to cross into a completely new level of Mind, where her laws no longer apply. The veil is a dramatic separation of imagined reality and what is real.
By now, the able initiate knows that I AM denotes the Divine Creative Mind that created the Universe by Understanding of Self as ideas. We do the same thing, as "images of god", we create reality by imagining it. Whatever we create in our personal minds, becomesus as our creation of self. This is an often ridiculed concept or precept of both metaphysics and the mysteries. However, ridicule does not an understanding make, and as a Personality attains greater Self-Awareness, the implications of responsibility for what one thinks become most profound! We start the observation that changes the electrons around us and in us with the command that creates- I AM!
The Thoth Empress, is illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris as the Western 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. The symbol for Sulphur is a Triangle over a cross.
Interestingly 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 position is the Tibetan Tantric position of Yab Yum, meaning "Goddess/God, face to face.
The Venus Aphrodite depiction is carried on in the unashamed nudity of the Female Goddess in the Universe Card. In the illustration of the Polynesian Volcano Goddess Pele’ and her paramour with a background of sea, the martial male form is offering subservient to the Female Womb as she invents both his life and death, while the Sea is the Great Dark Ocean of the Goddess/Binah. As stated, this is Yab Yum, illustrating the Tibetan word that means, Goddess/ God, face to face, and also presents the activating activity of the Empress Card...She is activated by the Union with the Emperor.
The twisted blue shapes on the Thoth card represent flames and her birth from Water, which we know to represent consciousness. The Living "Holy Grail" of Western Myth, 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 and blood which is a common symbol of the Great Mother, for even not so great mothers, build the young from their own flesh and blood. The white eagle shield corresponds to that red eagle shield of the Emperor.
To reiterate, the western alchemical references for the Supernal Triangle (the Above) are, THE MAGUS is Mercury, THE EMPRESS is Salt, THE EMPEROR, is Sulfur. Hence, Kether-Magus is Mercury, Binah is Salt and Chokmah is Sulfur. These chemicals represent the Sephiroth united on the Tree of Life that turn our leaden darkness into the Golden Intelligence of the Son (Sun), i.e. the Divine Child and/or "Golden Child" (Horus-Adam Khadmon). The only blocking veil our understanding of Divinity, 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, and develop a sense of insight, before one can visit the Great Mother, who creates the “Am” of us all. To her, we are all "I AM Me" and/or in-form-action of the One Self, as many perspectives of I Am.
The Tarot of The Spirit-Key 3-The Empress, is as the Thoth Tarot. It is the representation of the United Forces of Will to force (Chokman) and Will to Form (Binah), for the Empress is the quintessential Female principle who receives the Force of Life from Chokmah, the Male Principle. Chokmah is seen as Primeval Electric Force, and Binah as Primeval Magnetic Force. For the electric force, carries the data, and the Magnetic force "Understands this data" and gives it out as Form and/or in-form-action.
Here the Trinity Goddess, as Maid-Mother and Crone is the essence of pregnancy and birth. She is the Universal force of Vagina (Maid), Womb (Mother) and birth canal (Crone). We see these principles represented in her ancient symbols of Venus and the Egyptian Ankh. Both represent the solar circle -the radiant spirit (radiant energy) which is the All or the Nothing, above the cross of manifestation that is surmounted by the female channel. Hence, she is the Illuminating Intelligence, as she transmits the radiant Spirit/Energy that is Light and/or Horus.
The symbology of the Tarot of The Spirit-Empress depicts her as a Door, for she is the door to the House of Beth, guarding the threshold of form. She is the door to the Pillar of Severity/Understanding on the Tree of Life. The green veils behind her represents the fertile green of spring as they take on the forms of swirling cypress trees. Sitting on a black throne , the base of which is a black cube is a necessary illusion to illustrate her floating in the Dark Ocean of Binah-She is the Image-Maker of the Universal Collective Unconscious-the Department of the God-Mind that we know as Imagination. For all Form, is imagined as Light becomes aware of itself only as Form. I Am Horus! Imagination is everything.
At the pinnacle of this darkness is the symbol of an eagle, the mythological creature that can look at the sun and not be blinded. The eagle represents the Magus/Mercury who is the messenger of the heavens, ( of the Primal Will that is Kether) and represents the symbol for divine majesty that can rise to great heights.
The Divine law of the High Priestess, is represented as the scroll that the Empress is sitting on. The foot rest that is the crescent moon, represents the beginning stream of consciousness. She is wearing the shimmering white and yellow of the Sun, with a belt of triangular shaped emeralds, representing the Trinity of the Supernal Triangle- The "First Plane" of the Mind. Her shawl of red roses, represents the red rose of desire and the red magic of the Mother. All living being is magically formed in Mother's blood. Red magic also represents healing magic. Her white lilly headress represents the purity of spirituality/ the diamond light of Kether.
On her right hand rests a dove. Doves have been symbols for souls, peace, Venus and also represent her connection to the beings of earth. In her left hand is the symbol for Venus.
The Empress is pregnant with the Divine Sun (Son) and the Sun/Son is the luminous form on the plane of matter and/or the Ethical Triangle of the Tree of Life.
As one can easily see, the meanings for the Thoth and Tarot of The Spirit Empress card are comparable.
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.
If ill defined by the surrounding cards:
- There are issues with Motherhood.
- Separation from family.
- Unwise love.
- One is acting as an enabler.
Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper.