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page of ghosts 
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Jolanda / Swedish Witch Tarot - The Empress III


Far from a tarot master, but here is an attempt at the empress. I'm waiting for the book so once I have it I'll probably update this thread if I find anything interesting. I'm also waiting for the Thoth + a neat book to study and compare to this since there does seem to be some Thoth influence here, based on what little I know of the Thoth. Anyway, here goes:

The Empress is a (somewhat) classic pregnant lady in this deck. Boobs out is maybe not something I see very often (my collection of decks is small, a lot RWS-based and only major publishers) but I can appreciate how it makes her look open, relaxed and free. The symbol on her headdress is the venus symbol if I'm not mistaken and it's often associated with femininity and womanhood. In her right hand is some sort of fruit/globe hybrid. Doesn't the emperor have some kind of sceptre and globe-ish thing sometimes? Either way it makes me think of her as also a ruler, having those symbols in her hands.

The bees on her skirt might symbolize fertility in the same way her belly does. Bees are hard workers and masters of pollination - without them we're pretty screwed since they make sure plants can produce fruit and other goodies. There are a lot of animals in this card in addition to the bees, like the fish, bird (pelican?) and frog. I also think in all the animals in this card we have some of the big groups of animal: mammal (human), amphibium (frog), sea-creatures (fish), birds (pelican) and insects (bees), which I can appreciate with her embodying fertility and growth. I'm not very good with recognising plants so what she holds in her hand and what is on her throne is not known to me. The leaves make me think of some water plant and I think it's one I've seen in hieroglyphs at some point in my life.

The water plant, the fish, frog, sea shell and the way her foot touches the water makes me think there is some watery influence to this card. Makes me think of the primordial ooze where some say life first begun, the water of the womb etc. Instead of the RWS where there is a big field with a lot of wheat growing there is a lot of water here, but also some air. The bird, although the pelican is a skilled water-bird, and the big cloud puff behind her suggests that to me. There is also the question of the door in the background - where does it lead to and how do you get there? Does this empress hold some hidden knowledge similarly to the high priestess then?

There is some egyptian inspiration here as well, but I don't know enough of it to really make any comments. I can hope that someone else who knows and feels like it contributes to this thread
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Rose Lalonde 
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Thanks for posting. You're getting me excited for the arrival of my copy, which as you know, is on the way! And thanks to reading this and taking a closer look, I see the Empress has a good bit of Thoth imagery: the pelican and bees you mentioned, and lotus. There's also the door in the background, a reference to the Golden Dawn (and later Thoth) attribution of the Hebrew letter Daleth (door).

The pelican is apparently originally derived from a past mistaken belief that pelicans fed their young on their own blood, the epitome of self sacrifice from a mother. (I don't remember where I learned that; probably in the Thoth forum here.) And the red blood with white bird are colors that come up repeatedly in the Thoth for alchemy, and in RWS (but I know a lot less about RWS).

I love the bees! Thoth Empress & Emperor have bees too. (A favorite deck, Tabula Mundi, has swarming bees on the Empress but a man-made beehive on the Emperor, so that the Empress' aspect is the Queen-ruled hive and fertile growth in nature, while the Emperor "seeks to order what the Empress creates. Nature creates the honey bee; man seeks to hive it and tame it..." (Book M - companion book to TM).

I'm also glad the door is there, but then I like Kabbalah with tarot. The Empress is on the path of Daleth, the door between the Jolanda Kings and the Queens on the Tree of Life. Another way to say female and male, yin and yang, principles coming together to create, also expressed by a pregnant Empress.

I like water as "primordial ooze" as you said. A fertile source of life.

That was stream of consciousness, but I'm just on a lunch break so had to hurry!
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I'm reading the Medieval Scapini book and there is some kabbalah influence there so the door = daleth is actually mentioned in an overview of Golden Dawn vs. Leví associations of the letters. It's very brief, and most of the kabbalah stuff is first a short introduction to some old mystics ideas and then in relation to the deck, so not the most in-depth course. I hope the book I got for the Thoth will explain it in a little more detail and I should also consider taking notes of it since it's all very new to me so I'm not sure how much actually goes in! But thanks, then I know I should check what little kabbalah stuff I've got when I do the next card

I really like the idea of the empress as what is (nature and it's abundance) and the emperor as what could be (as in his abilities to put things in order) that you mentioned with the bees - it makes a lot of sense to me as metaphor. One is not better than the other, just as it's useful for us to keep bees it's just as useful for wild bees to do as they do. Another thing I like about this deck is all the animals in it. I'm not super adept at animal symbols but I really like seeing them in all the cards and I like that the Thoth has a lot of the same, so I can look at it too. I wonder if the Thoth has the same panda bear as in the next card.

Thanks for your thoughts again, they've made me really excited for both my books and the Thoth. Can't promise that I'll stick to it for the entire deck, but I hope to do some more of these cards especially since the book for the deck is in Swedish only and I think this is an intriguing deck that deserves some study in English too
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