The 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 mani
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.
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".
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
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.
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
Empress is the Goddess of Love and her symbol of Venus
entire Tree of Life, which expresses the fact that Love is the formative
(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
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
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",
us into the direction of the mystery that is "The Womb With A View" who rules as Empress of the psychic realm of Imagination.
, is both the Highest Spiritual and lowest of material qualities (as above, so below) as she is the Mother of Form
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
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
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
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,
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
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.
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.
moon is a western symbol for the feminine magnetic nature
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.
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.
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!