The Thoth Tarot:The Empress--Key 3-...."The Gate of Heaven":
The Empress represents the Universal Womb, in which all manifestation is gestated. As I have said before in past blogs, she is the Path of Daleth (means-Door) that spans between Chokma (All Father) and Binah (All Mother) and is a Transitional state of Psychic Energy. The 2nd Sephiroth-Chokma, is a Hebrew feminine noun, and has the capacity to emanate the "Pure female" (called Virgin Goddess); However, the 3rd Sephiroth-The Empress/Path of Daleth, is the merging of the Intelligent Energy states masculine and feminine; of Chokma and Binah. She is the pregnant balance of incubation and passivity. It is this Door/Daleth that effects the transition from One into Many, thus being the Gate of Heaven.
I have always called the Empress, "The Womb with a View" as she transforms all idea into form. She represents both the Universal Mother and Earth Mother, and almost every culture, ancient and new, has some form or name for her. She is the Mother of Gods, usually symbolized as the Moon, which is both light and dark, life and death. She often gives birth to an intermediary deity, such as Christ, Osiris, Mithras, Odin etc., usually Sun gods who rule the earth in her name.
At this high-Supernal Triangle-stage on the Qabalistic Tarot Tree of Life, words are always metaphorical and the pictures alone unconsciously communicate a great deal of information about the forces and forms more than any word can conceive. Thus it is recommended that these Trump Cards be used as mandalas for meditation. The Thoth Tarot, also uses sacred geometry, along with alchemical, astrological and Qabalistic symbols, which stimulate subjective thought.
The Empress is often called the "Mother of Light" since the Dark Fiery Energy of Chokma, enters the Womb that is the High Priestess, who gestates the egg of Akasha, while The All Mother as the Empress passes through Her as a "birth-door" (Vagina), the form of light that we can see. Hence, she is often seen drawn on traditional tarot with a light face (Empress) and dark face (High Priestess). One often finds that the Thoth Tarot, concentrates more on Visible Light, while the 3rd Sephiroth Binah is shown as a black Sephira, "a light emitted by an anomalous sun, nocturnal and dark." Therefore, the Empress is both light and dark and as did Juno/Janus the Roman Goddess and later God of communication ( the Latin janua means door) which is the passage of ideas, and was said to control the affairs of men. The Roman patriarchal-two faced god, Janus was originally the goddess- Juno, who bore the "Gate of Heaven" title of the Sanctuary Screen in Christian Churches, derived from the yoni "gate" of Juno that was "veiled" by the hymen (a god) in her own Temples.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Hymen (god)
Hymen (Ancient Greek: Ὑμήν), Hymenaios or Hymenaeus, in ancient Greece, was a god of marriage ceremonies, inspiring feasts and song. Related to the god's name, a hymenaios is a genre of Greek lyric poetry sung during the procession of the bride to the groom's house in which the god is addressed, in contrast to the Epithalamium, which was sung at the nuptial threshold. He was one of the winged love gods, Erotes.
As the "god of Weddings" the female hymen, really needs no great explanation of human sexual traditions.
As a personification of the Gate Way to Heaven, Juno had two outwardly facing faces, one for Life and the other for Death. The Tarot Empress is also known as Mother Sun and Mother Moon (High Priestess)...they are both the same metaphoric description of the Intelligent Energy that builds Worlds out of Light through the gestating power of Knowledge and the birthing power of Understanding.
Yet, the primary goddess-form related to the Empress is Venus-Aphrodite, who in Greek Mythology arose from the Ocean, naked riding a scallop shell. When ever she stepped on land flowers grew, and thus we also know the Empress in terms of luxurious proliferation making each facet of Nature so beautiful and compelling that we can be in danger of losing sight of the whole by the dazzle of the parts. This is about what we do with the human body----as spirit, Fiery energy, we supply the whole of emotion (energy in motion) to our forms, but often the individual emotional parts become so hypnotic that we forget the Whole Self for the focus of the parts. We become servants to what dazzles us with beauty, and forget that we are The Beautiful Dark that Operates "The Forms veiled in Light". It behooves us to state: "I AM the Spirit and thus, the Life of the Body". Hence, Life is what I AM, and the "alive" is but a simulation of what I think I AM.
As Aphrodite-Venus, the Tarot Empress is the Goddess of Love. In fact, the symbol of Venus encompasses the entire Tree of Life which expresses the truth that Love of form, is the formative energy of the Tree of Life---i.e. The Universe; However, Venus maybe subjective in the Supernal Triangle, but She is also objective as a Sephira--Netzach which is a part of the Astral Triangle of Personality. There is a very profound mystery here, as there are three planetary forces that find their objective expression in the Sephira low (meaning density) on the Qabalistic Tree of Life while their subjective expressions called paths, are found at the opposite extreme of the Supernal Triangle.[Hod-Mercury, The Magician; Yesod-Moon, The High Priestess; and Netzach-Venus, The Empress]. To me the mystery of Life and the Alive finds solution here. Remember that Life loves its forms....as any mother knows, the child is more important than anything else to her! The Empress expressed thought into forms and through the administration of the Sun- center of Tiphareth (6th Sephiroth/Beauty). The Divine Creative, creates the universe by
continuous thought and/or infinite dream, and as "God's Image" and/or demiurge, human kind creates reality by constantly thinking and dreaming of it. The study of the Empress card is indeed needed for the Self-Knowledge of the student Qabalist.
I am the love of being, that creates being so I can be intimate with "other".
It can never be overstated that these cards or keys, represent states of conscious energy that comprise our Psyche of Whole-Self, which is a collective represented by the 78 tarot cards.
In The Tarot- key 3, The Empress, is the symbol of the universal principle of love with wisdom. She is a symbol of our ability to extend love and receive love. In Jungian psychology, she is the anima, the feminine nature.
As seen on the Thoth card, the moon is a western symbol for the feminine-magnetic-nature that is receptive to the male-electric-expressive-nature, usually symbolized as the sun. The images of the Moon waxing and waning, on the Thoth Card represent the dual faces of the Empress; Life and Death. The blue lotus, that is represented on the Thoth Empress card, is the Eastern symbol for wisdom. She is the yin energy of the orient. Key 3 reminds us that love with wisdom is the capacity to nurture and support ourselves in equal proportion to how we nurture and support others. The Pelican feeding her young from the blood of her breast represents, the Mother's blood that nurtures us all, for our flesh is made of Mother's blood, as is our very blood. There is no "male blood" in this world, or the Universe.
The Qabalistic Tarot- The Empress-Key 3, is attributed to Daleth, the Hebrew letter that means Door, and is ruled by the vibrations of the Planet Venus.
On the face of it, the Empress is a compliment to the Emperor-Key 4, and the cards for the Thoth Tarot key 3 and key 4, are designed so that the Empress and the Emperor face each other. However the Empress's attributes are more Macrocosmic and Universal as compared to his more Microcosmic and material attributes of the Emperor.
The path of Daleth-The Empress (on the Hermetic Qabalah Tree of Life) unites the All-Father and All- Mother, Chokma (2-Wisdom) and Binah (3-Understanding). Despite the number sequence, this is not saying one came before the other, rather Chokma -Wisdom and Binah- Understanding are inseparable and simultaneous. For when the Kether (Crown) became I AM---so became existence which is the United combination of Feminine and Masculine.
Also showing this spontaneous union of the Divine Anima and Animus, there is the astrological symbol of Venus, on the bottom right of the Thoth Card rd,which is the only planetary symbol that comprises all the Sephiroth on the Tree of Life. The Doctrine implied here, is that the fundamental formula for the Universal creation is Love (The Law of Attraction).
The Magnetic Womb, and Women is difficult to summarize in one word. Therefore the Greek quote."Many-throned, many-minded, many-wiled, daughter of Zeus", points us into the direction of the mystery that is "The Womb With A View" (I-magi-nation).
The Empress, is both the Highest Spiritual and lowest of material qualities (as above, so below) as she is the Mother of Form on all planes of existence while she is also the Alchemical SALT which is one of the three forms of alchemical energy (Mercury and Sulfur are the other two). Salt is seen as the inactive part of Nature (Womb-egg) that must be stimulated by Sulfur (Phallus-semen) to maintain the whirling (spiral) equilibrium of the Universe. The Arms and torso of the Thoth Deck Empress illustration consequently suggests the shape of the Alchemical symbol of Salt, as shown above.
The Empress Tarot card shows a women in crown, Hathor, the Egyptian "cow goddess", from whose teats leaked the Milky Way. On the Thoth Card, Her throne uprights suggest blue twisted flames symbolic of Her birth from Water, the Feminine Element that is Magnetic.
Clutched in the right hand of the Thoth Empress stands a Lotus of Isis; suggesting the Passive Power of the Feminine (the Power that Contains). The roots of the Lotus are in the Earth beneath the Water itself, but its petals are open to the Sun, suggesting the belly of the chalice, i.e. the Holy Grail. She is then the Living Form of the Holy Grail ( Graäl) that is sanctified by the blood of the Sun (the Sun ejaculates energy which she accepts; semen is of blood). Perched on the Thoth Empress's Throne uprights are a sparrow and a dove, her most sacred birds. On her robe are the Royal Bees and dominoes surrounded by continuous spiraling lines. Her girdle is the Zodiac. The symbol of the Womb's Love of Form is everywhere similar on this card.
The tapestry beneath the Thoth Empress's Throne is embroidered Fleur-de-lys and fishes (fishes being the symbol of the First Matter) and also the Secret Rose which is at the base of the Throne. This is the Rose-Mari, a sacred symbol/Grail of the ancient Goddess Mari-The Ocean Goddess, who was seen as the Womb of all Life on Earth. On this card there are no contradictions; what seems to contradict are held in equilibrium by the revolving moons shown on this card.
The heraldry of the Empress is two fold. On her right is a Pelican feeding its own young with blood from its heart. On her left, is the white Eagle of the Alchemist-The Philosophic mercury which symbolizes the "first Matter" and/or "first semen"( Meditation and study, will clarify the deeper meanings of this Heraldry). The Pelican can be identified as The Great Mother, whose "hearts blood" nurtures her offspring as her "Daughter/Queen who becomes many". The understanding of this Hermetic symbolism is as deep as the Ocean, and that is the why and wherefore of path initiations. Love is not a human emotion for it emotes form the Ocean of The Universal Collective Unconscious, from which all Life became. To seek love, is to deny being love; rather we are Love who Creates Itself as off-spring, i.e. "Self Reflection".
When the Empress Tarot card turns up in a reading, the querent is:
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