Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot-Key 3; THE EMPRESS & The Barbara Walker Tarot-Key 4: THE EMPRESS
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Thoth Tarot & comparisons

Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot-Key 3; THE EMPRESS & The Barbara Walker Tarot-Key 4: THE EMPRESS

The Tarot of EliThe Thoth Tarot:The Empress--Key 3--"The Gate of Heaven" Compared to the Barbara Walker Tarot-Key 3: The Empress

The Empress in all Tarot decks, 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. Just as Chokma has the capacity to emanate the "Pure female" (called Virgin Goddess) the Empress/Path of Daleth, is the merging of the Intelligent Energy states of Chokma and Binah. She is the pregnant balance of incubation and passivity. It is this Door that effects the transition from One into many, thus being the Gate of Heaven.
I have always called the Empress (since about 1971 CE), "The Womb with a View" as she transforms idea into form. She is Earth Mother, as well, for almost every culture has some form or name of her. She is the Mother of Gods and often gives birth to an intermediary deity, such as Christ,Osiris, Mithras, Odin etc., who rules the earth.Therefore, in the Hermetic Qabalah, The Empress rules, subjectively, as The Queens of every suit and the objective, 3's of every suit. She is the Throne the Princesses "sit on".

At this high -Supernal Triangle-stage in the Tarot, 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 and/or Major Arcana Cards be used as mandalas for meditation.

The Empress is often called the "Mother of Light" since the Dark Fiery Energy of Chokma pass through Her as a door that, transmits the form of light that we can see, so she is often seen drawn with a light face and a dark face (as seen on the Thoth-Key 14- Art Card). As did Janus the Roman God of communication ( the Latin janua means door) which is the passage of ideas, and controlled the affairs of men. Janus was originally a Solar Deity and the Empress is also known as Mother Sun...they are both the same metaphoric description of the Intelligent Energy that builds Worlds as Self Expression.

Yet, the primary god-form related to the Empress is Venus-Aphrodite, who in Greek Mythology arose from the Ocean, naked riding a scallop shell. It was said that when ever she stepped on land flowers grew; therefore, we also know the Empress in terms of  luxurious proliferation making each facet of Nature beautiful and so 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, we supply the whole of emotion (energy in motion) and/or Life Force to our forms, but often the individual living 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 Beauty that Operates Form. All of our Souls radiate from the 6th Sephiroth-Tiphareth, meaning Beauty! We are Solar- Spirit and thus, the Life of the alive.

The Empress is the Goddess of Love and her symbol of Venus encompasses the entire Tree of Life, which expresses the fact that Love is the formative energy (Will to Form) of the Tree of Life---i.e. The Universe; However, Venus/Empress, 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/Son-center of Tiphareth (6th Sephiroth/Beauty).

The Divine Creative creates the universe  by continuous thought of Self and/or infinite dream, and as "God's Image" and/or demiurge, human kind creates individual reality by constantly thinking and dreaming of it.  The study of the Empress card is indeed needed for the Self-Knowledge of the student Qaballist.

As Stated: The Qabalistic Thoth Tarot- The Empress-Key 3, is attributed to the Qabalistic Path of Daleth. The Hebrew letter Daleth is seen at the bottom left of the card, 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 but her attributes are more Macrocosmic and Universal as compared to his more Microcosmic and material.

To reiterate: The path of Daleth (on the Hermetic Qabalah Tree of Life) unites the Father and 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"---so became existence, "Am", which is the United combination of Feminine and Masculine; the I AM that is the Divine Creative.

Also showing this spontaneous union of the Divine Anima and Animus, there is the alchemical  symbol of Venus, which is the only planetary symbol that comprises all the Sephiroth of 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 the mystery of 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" who rules as Empress of the psychic realm of Imagination.

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) that must be stimulated by Sulfur (Phallus) 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.

The Thoth Tarot- Empress card shows a women in crown and vestments of  the Imperial, seated upon a throne. Her throne uprights suggest blue twisted flames symbolic of Her birth from Water, the Feminine Element that is Magnetic.  In her right hand is 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) sanctified by the blood of the Sun (the Sun ejaculates energy which she accepts; semen is of blood).  Perched on the Throne's 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 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 Royal shield illustrated with the White Eagle or Stone Eagle of the Alchemist and or the Gluten which is another symbol for the "First Material". Meditation and study, will clarify the deeper meanings of this Heraldry. The Pelican can be identified as The Great Mother and the offspring as her Daughter who becomes many. The understanding of this Hermetic symbolism is as deep as the Ocean, and that is the why and wherefore of initiations. Love is not a human emotion for it emotes form the Ocean of  Mari/Unconscious, from which all Life became. It is enough to remember that to seek love, is to deny being love; rather we are Love who Creates Itself as off-spring, i.e. "Self Reflection".  I think this is a deep enough plunge in the Divine Anima (Latin: Spirit)  and/or The Divine Feminine to end our Ocean journey here.

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 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 no longer apply. The veil is a dramatic separation of individually imagined reality and what is Real.

By now, the able initiate knows that the Divine Creative is the Mind that created the Universe by Self-Awareness. We do the same thing, as "images of god", we create reality by self- imagining it. Whatever we create in our personal minds, becomes our individual life. 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!

Again:The Thoth Deck 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, there 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.  The twisted blue shapes represent flames and her birth from Water, which we know to represent consciousness. 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 which is a common symbol of the Great Mother, for even not so great mothers, build the young from their own flesh. The white eagle shield of Alchemical Gluten corresponds to that red eagle shield of Alchemical Sulfur, 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 Dark Unconscious into the consciousness of 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 Am of us all.



It can never be overstated that these cards, both Major and Minor represent states of conscious energy that comprise our Psyche of whole-self, which is a collective represented by the 78 tarot cards.

In The Thoth- 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.

The moon is a western symbol for the feminine magnetic nature that is receptive to the male electric nature, usually symbolized as the sun. The blue lotus 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. All the birds represent all the mental realms of consciousness ( The Tree of Life).
When this card turns up in a reading, we are reminded:
That the power to give love and receive love comes from deep within us and is our natural inheritance from the Divine.

The Barbara Walker Tarot-Key 3: THE EMPRESS depicts a lounging royal, in front of a dark cave, wearing a tiara of diamonds. The lounging shows her passive female force of Magnetism.

The Dark cave or Tomb is the obvious yoni/womb symbol, accredited to the Phrygian Cybele, the Hindu Kurukulla/Kali, and the Arcadian Demeter.

The sprig of wheat in her left hand is also a symbol for Demeter and combined with the water fall, symbolizes a traditional Tarot association with the earth and sea fertility.

  Of note is the tiara of diamond, which is the symbol for the crown of stars and/or her name Stella Maris. The Traditional Empress corresponding tarot card is the Star Card #17. Several of her older names simply meant "Star", such as, Ishtar, Astarte, Esther, Astraea, Ostara, and the German Eostre, which gave her name to Easter.

Her white dove representing rebirth, flying above in the blue sky of Mind, near the flowing waters of consciousness.

Her apples of eternal life, resting beneath the "star Lilly" or Easter Lilly, which symbolized the Assyrian goddess lilu, meaning:Lotus, presumably an adaption of the padma-lotus, a traditional goddess genital sign of the East. Ishtar (pronounced Easter), Lilith, Isis or Hathor were also provided with this Lilly/Lotus, "the great world lotus flower out of which rose the Sun for the first time at creation."

The White Horse, on Blood red background, comparable to Pegasus born of the blood of Medusa (Female Wisdom) is an ancient symbol for the goddess Alborak, who was the magical white, winged horse with a woman's head, and with a peacocks tail, ridden to heaven by Mohammad on his famous night journey, by which he received his vision and spiritual authority. The peacocks tail was an ancient symbol representing the Great Goddess in Rome, and obviously in the East as well.

The yellow solar shield with black eagle, represents the Solar god's, whose symbol was often the eagle. Such god's as Prometheus, Zeus and Jupiter. The Romans adopted this Eagle symbol as a sign of the Roman emperor's power, which then became common throughout history as an Emperor's or Kings symbol of his power. Once again, "there is no husband, until she names him husband." Barbara Walker is obviously stating what is stated in the imagery of the Thoth 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.


Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper!


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