Above all things, know thyself.
Thoth- ATU 3-The Empress
The Tarot Apokalypsis- Key 3- The Empress
The Thoth Empress is associated with the Hebrew letter Daleth, known as the Path of Daleth-meaning-Door, and her planet is Venus, whose sign is shown on the bottom right of the Thoth Tarot card. THE EMPRESS is also called the "Gateway 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 which is implied as the title of Triple/ Trinity Goddess of Maid-Mother-Crone, the Empress being Mother.
The Empress represents guidance in harmonizing cosmic laws and therefore, assisting us in legitimizing our actions with materialization on the physical plane of Malkuth. Radiating an energy that is clear in intent, dynamic but at the same time resolute in principles, capable of bestowing eloquence, and intellectual fecundity that earns a person fame and a good reputation.
Thoth- ATU 3-The Priestess
Thoth-ATU 3-The Empress
The Tarot Apokalypsis-Key 3-The Empress
The Sumerian cult of Innana.
If one looks at THE THOTH 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 Qaballist, I am painfully aware of the inadequacy of anthropomorphic symbolism when describing the Above and/or Supernal Triangle, the upper Trinity of intelligence on the Tree of Life. That is why images, as in, Tarot pictures (Flash cards of Self) unconsciously communicate a great deal of information that words can only flail at. The images represented in THE TAROT EMPRESS card are an attempt to convey the concept of pure fruition. The idea of pure fruition is also represented on the Tarot Apokalypsis Empress card, as ripe fruit of the pomegranate tree is displayed above the Empress and an abundance of fruit in a basket on the left facing side of this elaborate card. The fruitful and fecund concept is also shown in the vivacious presentation of the jeweled bedecked Empress of the Tarot Apokalypsis card.
As an exercise towards this goal of understanding The Divine Feminine, the initiate must try to conceive of pure emotion (Energy-in-motion), 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 image, who is the Illuminating Intelligence or Birth Mother of information through a transitional state of Understanding. She is the Universal Mother Nature. She is shown as an expectant Mother on the Thoth. Her Illuminating Intelligence is shown as a bright full moon behind the Thoth Empress and the bright star like crown of the Tarot Apokalypsis--Key 3- Empress card, complete with harmonizing rings of golden light.
All that is Life on Earth is the providence of THE EMPRESS, as she builds life forms from the Spirit or Spiral Frequencies of Life and/or Vital Energy, establishing the Laws of the Universe that have to do with restriction and formation. She is the Supernal Female Force of "Will to Form". She is also Venus-Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. Hence, Love is the Law, Love under Will. The Path of Daleth is the path that takes the Luminous Intelligence of Chokmah and transforming it into the Illuminating Intelligence of THE EMPRESS, illuminating, inferring filling up and emitting Light, thus bestowing the title of Mother of Light and Life on the Great Womb of Universal Consciousness. We are her Children of Light.
Sheela Na Gig
She is a Door (Daleth means- door), and one may pass through a door in any direction. Therefore, to pass through her on the Return Path, is to pass into Supreme Darkness, which is the Dark Mater (Mother in Latin is Mater). Hence, the ancients often depicted this doorway as the exposed Vagina of the Great Mother; The ancient Sheela Na Gig of the Irish being one. The vaginal image illustrates a doorway, as one-way, exit, is birth and the other way, entrance, is death/transformation. Here before her, the worn and often battle-weary dead are ready to “pass over” and/or return to the Abyssal Womb, ("other side of the mirror") as she commands power, sincerity, and fertility. Hence, rejuvenation and rebirth.
In some cosmological theories, Dark Matter/Mater is a non-luminous material that is postulated to exist in space and that could take any of several forms including weakly interacting particles (cold dark matter) or high-energy randomly moving particles created soon after the Big Bang (hot dark matter). This perfectly describes Dark Mater for she is the birther of visible light and/or high energy moving particles. Also, she is the Trinity Goddess, of Maid, Mother and Crone, who also destroys form and renews it by putrefaction, dissolution, solution, and coagulation -the paradigm of renewal.
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) in a few presentations, 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 misogynistic Roman Patriarchy, as male and to have presided over communications and the affairs of men. Here then, as THE EMPRESS, Janua/Janus resides over the passage of ideas and affairs of humankind. Originally, Janus was a Solar Entity, and THE EMPRESS is the Mother of the Sun/Son, so the comparison is not only viable but pertinent as well. Therefore, anything that can be said about Juno/Janua/Janus can be said about THE EMPRESS as well, even though she, who is not form, is often now anthropomorphized as Venus-Aphrodite the Womb of life and death.
The Tarot of the Apokalypsis-Key 3-The Empress (Innana).
The Empress is often seen as the Luxurious Proliferation of Nature with each facet so compelling, being both beautiful and hypnotic, with such a view it is possible for the student to lose sight of the Overview of the Path of Daleth. This hypnotic action 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".
Due to popular myth, we know that the Venus-Aphrodite is the "Goddess of Love” but many forgot that She is also named the "Goddess of Desire", an image beautifully illustrated on the Tarot Apokalypsis Card as the Goddess Innana of Sumer. Desire, being born with the most abstract principle of Form, holds an extremely specific meaning for the Student of the Mysteries, as to feel is to desire, but to unite with the Universe, requires the "want of nothing" for "to want" separates one from the Whole. Thus, the coming to or the leaving of desire is another aspect of the Doorway that is THE EMPRESS— the Path of Daleth. When desire is gone, understanding takes its place.
"THE EMPRESS, as shown in the Thoth card, looks to be all nurturing and light; However, the darkened crescent of the Moon suggests transformation or change and to the 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 and/or dimensional-membrane 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 laws of formation no longer apply. The veil is a dramatic separation of imagined reality and what is real. It behooves us to remember that "I AM" is reality, but what I AM thinks it is--- are dreams and/or assumptions of Self Identity. I AM, means "existence", which is reality. But what you think you "AM", is total assumption and therefore, not real. It is a "reflection of the Real" for all is Mind. The "Me", is a purposely constructed illusion of I AM Self Awareness experimentation and changes with the information that is experienced.
Ancient Greek Gods
By now, the able initiate knows that the ancient Gods are anthropomorphic images of the Divine Creative Mind and its Forces that created the Universe by Willed Identity. We do the same thing, as "images of god", we create reality by "I-mage-making" and/or imagination. Whatever we create in our personal minds, becomes us or our personal assumed creation as Self. Therefore, when a Personality attains greater Self-Awareness, the implications of responsibility for what one thinks become most profound! This is known as the "observer effect" (not to be confused with the Heisenberg's uncertainty principle). The observer effect, on the other hand, implies that if we make a certain type of observation, the system itself will behave differently than it would without that observation in place. Therefore, the bodily system reacts to what the Mental observer "thinks/observes what they are". Once again it is seen that the Truth of Self is I AM, and what that Self thinks it is, is merely observed assumption.
The Thoth Empress is illustrated in the alchemical image of Salt, which is the inactive principle that 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 the Thoth Empress arms. In her left hand, she holds the Lotus Scepter and her right hand and arm curve delicately as if she were holding an infant to her breast. This is the magical gesture known as the Mater Triumphans (Isis suckling the infant Horus). By looking carefully at the Empress image, you may note that she is pregnant where her baby floats blissfully in a salty sea of amniotic fluid.
If you put the Empress and the Emperor, side by side, her Salty Self on the Left and His Sulfur Self on the right, the order of English writing, and their configuration on the Tree of Life, their faces are looking at each other. This is Yab Yum, illustrating the Tibetan word that means, Goddess God face to face, as well as the activating activity of the Empress Card. The Venus Aphrodite depiction is carried on in the unashamed nudity of the Female Goddess in the Universe Card. And in Mythology, the Aries-Mars Emperor is the Husband of Venus-Aphrodite. The twisted blue shapes on the Thoth card represent flames and her birth giving Water. The Living Holy Grail is the Lotus like chalice in her hand--a symbol of Wisdom. At her waist is the Zodiacal Girdle. Above her head are the dove and sparrow, both are birds of Venus These birds are substituted to be tropical parrots on the Tarot Apokalypsis Empress card. 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 and blood. Instead of pelicans, the Tarot Apokalypsis Empress card has the hand of the Empress lightly resting on the head of a lioness with her nuzzling cub in the foreground.
The white eagle shield of the Thoth Empress corresponds to that red eagle shield of the Emperor. However, being that Thoth Tarot is called Egyptian Tarot, there is also a reference to an ancient Egyptian Goddess Wenet, who is symbolize by the rabbit or hare. Her name, Wenet, means the Opener and the Swift One. The hare is known for being swift and the hare also symbolized the opening of the new year, fertility, and the beginning of new life. The hare’s form was also taken by other deities who had associations with the other world. Hence, she became Hera-The Greek Mother Goddess, which can also be interpreted as the symbol of the white hare. None of which are shown on either card. However, there are white fleur De lis on the bottom of the Thoth Empress card.
To reiterate: the alchemical references for the Supernal Triangle are, THE MAGUS is Mercury, THE EMPRESS is Salt, THE EMPEROR, is Sulfur. Kether's will is the Magus- 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-Tiphareth/Horus (the Soul). The only blocking veil to this end, is Desire consciousness and/or our "lesser ego" which is a parasitic virus of the Subconscious mind. We must lose the reality of the” I Want's" known as "Wanna-Be's" and become the “I AM's” of our original Divine inheritance. By "knowing thyself", you become completely immune to the "Mind Virus" of the false ego, which has infested the common man.
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. However, as Crowley has said: "It is impossible to summarize the meanings of the symbol of the Woman, for this very reason, that she continually recurs in infinitely varied form. 'Many-throned, many-minded, many-willed, daughter of Zeus". [Book of Thoth, pg. 75]
When the Empress Card, Key/ATU 3-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.
- Overall, THE EMPRESS represents happiness, stable relationships, growth, and fertility.
- Love of Nature.
If ill defined by the surrounding cards:
- Passion blocked.
- Difficulty expressing oneself.
- Problems with one's mother.
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