The Empress represents the Universal Womb and/or "The Gate of Heaven", 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- Binah-The Empress that is the 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. Hence, being the Gate of Heaven.
For the past 40 + years, I have always called the Empress, "The Womb with a View" as she transforms all idea, via Understanding, 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, representing 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. Both the Witches Tarot and the Thoth Tarot, also us 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; The Akasha being an etheric energy field where experience is imprinted. It is within The Empress, Key 3 who is called Binah, that the egg is fertilized, by Chokmah-and hence, "hatches" the egg of Akasha which is now the "light of experience" and/or "Understanding". The "light that experiences is often called the "living Light" and/or Life Force. It is what Soul's are made of.
Therefore, she is often seen drawn on traditional tarot with a light face (Empress) and dark face (The All Mother Binah-Sephiroth #3-Understanding).
The Witches Tarot, shows this birth of "visible light" as a crown of 12 stars around her head, which also symbolizes the Zodiac. One often finds that the Thoth Tarot, concentrates more on Visible Light, even though the Akasha is a form of light that is invisible to the human eye. For it is a part of the invisible spectrum of light, that is called, "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 had a gender change and became the god of communication. The Latin word 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)
God of weddings, reception, marriage Mount Olympus Bridal torch Apollo and Clio, Calliope, Urania, or Terpsichore; Aphrodite and Dionysos Priapos Hymen
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 there is more myth to explore as 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. Therefore, 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, or cowers us with fear 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 the Life of the Body".
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 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. Hence, there is a very profound mystery here, as there are three planetary forces that find their objective expression in the Sephira that are 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 expresses thought into forms as "she understands them" and through the administration of the Sun- center of Tiphareth (6th Sephiroth/Beauty), she rules them.
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 called-0- The Fool, that is 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; Love being the Highest Form of Understanding. 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 Swan feeding her young from the blood of her breast represents, the Mother's blood that nurtures us all.
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, the Thoth Tarot #3 and #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 or Empress Tarot Card ,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 so then I AM was created. Identity 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 and the green robes of the Witches Tarot Empress.
Venus, 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" , who is the Understanding that created Image-making and/or Imagination.
The Witches Tarot, shows the Empress, pregnant, wielding the "egg of Akasha scepter". The Hare, sitting at the base of her Throne, is both the symbol of fertility and the Goddess Mother Hera. The symbol for the Planet Venus is also painted on her heart shaped shield, that is leaning against her, five petaled rose and wheat sheaves decorated throne. The Five petaled rose is a symbol often used to represent the Pentagram and the wheat sheaves represent the Goddess Demeter. All these symbols support the title of All Mother Goddess.
Hence, 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.
The Empress Tarot card of both the Thoth and the Witches Tarot, are wearing vestments of the Imperial Green, while being seated upon a throne. 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 or Graäl, that is sanctified by the blood of the Sun (the Sun ejaculates energy which she accepts;male 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 flowers, on the Witches Tarot Empress's Throne, besides being the Pentagram are also the five petaled Sacred Rose, The Rose-Mari, a symbol for the "Yoni of Mari", the early Ocean Goddess of Mesopotamia and surrounding area. Later the Rose-Mari became the Western symbol of the "Holy Graäl. This symbol not only shows her fecund nature but also states she is the All Mother Form Creator. Her ample breasts, show she is a nurturing mother. She is surrounded in the splendor of nature.
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 of the Collective Unconscious, and that is the why and wherefore of the path initiations that occur in the Psyche of the neophyte. 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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