The Tarot of The Ages- Key III-The Empress, depicts a very Egyptian Genetrix, and/or Mother of the living. She is sitting on the throne of the Creatrix and/or Genetrix. In the upper background, is symbolized as the living winged soul who runs its life on earth. With symbols of a chalice and hawk images of Horus, the Sun/Son. Her full breasts are the milk breasts of life, from which the milky way was named. Suspended papyrus reeds on each side of her, represent the nile and the breezes on the nile that whisper her name. The Genetrix rules over appearances and her 2 companions residing in bubbles at the base of her throne areTa-urt and Nekhebet, who watch over birth and death.
- Ta-urt (Taueret) "The Great", Hathor as the Goddess of childbirth and nursing, as Mother of the Nile, she sometimes was depicted with a hippo's head. At other times she wore the lion's head of destruction. Her hieroglyph was sa, meaning the uterine blood of the Goddess which could bestow eternal life. (Larousse, 38-39)
- Nekhebet, was the name of the Vulture Goddess Mut (Maät) who resided over death and rebirth. She is recognized as "the representative of an ancient matriarchal stratum" in Egyptian religion. (Neumann, A.C.U., 12.).
The Crescent moon at the bottom of the card is also a symbol used to represent the Genetrix-Hathor.
Interestingly, the artist-Mario Garizio and author- Patrizia D'Agostino, disagree with the use of the letter Daleth (door), and use the Hebrew letter- Gimel, meaning camel instead. The letter Gimel, is use to represent the Priestess-ATU-2, in the Thoth Tarot. Therefore, the Tarot of The Ages gives the Empress the same qualities as the Thoth Priestess, as one who carries one's personality across the abyss. The Camel was note for carrying travelers across the vast abyss of deserts sands, while also giving said travelers the nurturing camel's milk, that kept them alive during the ordeal of desert travel.
There is also a disagreement on the assigned planet, as the Thoth Empress is assigned the Planet Venus, while the Tarot of The Ages-Empress is assigned the planet Mars. Mars in the Thoth Tarot is assigned to the Emperor, as he is the god of war. Maybe she is given Mars, as she is the Goddess of life and rebirth. Mars being a war god, was also considered to be a "fertile" god of agriculture. Not sure on that comparison, which is not explained in the instruction booklet.
The divinatory meanings attributed to the Tarot of The Ages Key III-Empress, are the same as the Thoth Tarot, and are listed at the bottom of this blog.
The Thoth ATU 3-The Empress, is the 14th Qabalistic Path of the Tree of Life assigned the Hebrew letter Daleth-meaning-Door, and her planet is Venus. 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.
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 Above Trinity), 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. 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 (Dr. Paul Foster Case) or Birth Mother of Ideas through a transitional state of Understanding. She is the Cosmic 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 Life, 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.
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 or Genetrix.;The Celtic Sheela Na Gig.
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, which is one-way birth and the other way the “Little death” or Petite Mort of the French. 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 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, it is possible for the student to lose sight of the Overview of the Path of Daleth. This point was acknowledge 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".
The Ancient Roman/Greek Venus-Aphrodite is the traditional "Goddess of Love”. However, 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 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 laws (applied by the Emperor) no longer apply. The veil is a dramatic separation of imagined reality and what is real. Light being the illusion.
By now, the able initiate knows that the Upper Supernal Triangle represents the Universal Collective Unconscious Mind that created the Universe by self-awareness of existence and/or I AM. 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 observed 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! The quantum theory of observation, show that both the observed changes by being observed.
From wikipedia the free encyclopedia:
The computed quantum presence (wave function) of an initially very localized particle. Click to animate
The quantum theory of observation consists in studying the processes of observation with the tools of quantum physics. Both the observed system and the observer system (the measuring apparatus) are considered as quantum systems. The measurement process is determined by their interaction and is described by a unitary evolution operator.
This theoretical approach was initiated by John von Neumann (1932). It differs from the usual interpretations of quantum mechanics (Niels Bohr, Copenhagen interpretation) which require that the measuring apparatus be considered as a classical system, which does not obey quantum physics. This requirement is not justified because quantum laws are universal. They apply to all material, microscopic and macroscopic, systems. This universality is a direct consequence of the principles: if two quantum systems are combined, they together form a new quantum system (cf. 2.1, third principle of quantum physics). Therefore the number of components does not change the quantum nature of a system.
The quantum theory of observation invites us to give up the postulate of the wave function collapse, because it is not necessary to explain the correlations between successive observations, and because it contradicts the Schrödinger equation. Thus conceived quantum theory of observation is another name for Everett's theory, also called the many-worlds interpretation, the theory of the universal wave function, or the "relative state" formulation of quantum mechanics, because by applying the Schrödinger equation to observation processes, we obtain solutions that represent the multiple destinies of observers and their relative worlds.https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Quantum_theory_of_observation
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.. symbolizing the "Yab Yum" (goddess/god face to face) of the Tibetan Tantra. The Venus Aphrodite depiction is carried on in the unashamed nudity of the Female Goddess in the Universe Card. Yab Yum is the activating activity of the Empress Card.
The twisted blue shapes on the Thoth card represent flames and her birth from Water, which we know to represent consciousness born of the Unconscious. The Living Holy Grail, is the Lotus like chalice in her hand. At her waist is the Zodiacal girdle Or belt. 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 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 souls of us all.
When the Thoth or The Tarot of The Ages- 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.
- Feminine progress.
- Mother, sister, wife.
- Ability to motivate others.
If ill defined by surrounding cards:
- Lack of interest and/or lack of concentration.
- Delay in progress due to anxiety.
- Motherhood issues.
Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper.