Welcome to the world of ancient Egypt. These beautiful cards explore Tarot, through the depiction of Egyptian Culture and more particularly the Story of Osiris. Isis is the wife and sister of Osiris; The earthly aspect of Isis is Hathor and is rightly depicted as The Empress in Barrett's Cards.
Hathor, is the Egyptian Sky Goddess and Daughter of the Sun God, Ra. She was depicted as a Cow(see the headress -the Horns of the cow holding the Sun Disc), She was the Goddess of Love and Joy, song and dance, and protector of Mothers and children. She nutured the living and carried the dead to the Underworld. Hathor is also associated with the sycamore tree; coffins are made of sycamore in the belief that Death was a return to the womb. Sometimes this card is called the Womb. You can see on the Card symbols of The Empress's Fertility. The fruit and clay vessel holding seeds, the green of her dress is Venus- signifying motherhood and the green stone malachite-the jewellery promoted healing of the Heart and nuturing of life.

There is a staue of the cat Goddess Bast, alluding to Sekhmet.This is the myth. Ra was growing old and mankind began to plot against him, so he sent the Eye of Ra(The Sun) to slaughter mankind. The Eye took the form of Hathor as the Lioness Sekhmet. Sekhemet killed them in a bloodbath. To stop Sekhemet from destroying Humanity completely Ra put jugs of beer on the battleground mixed with pomegranate juice(blood red).The bloodthirsty Sekhmet became drunk and stopped and changed back into Hathor. The same drink is drunk annually on Hathors feast day. Bast or Bastet is the benevolent side of Sekhmet, with the added 'protector from disease and evil spirits'.
In the background of The Empress is the Primal Hill. This depicts the Sun God Atum who rose from the watery abyss at the beginning of time. There is the Swallow who returns every year and we still speak today of the bluebird of Happiness. A recurring motif throughout the cards is the Ankh- the symbol of life. I can see so much symbolism in these cards-clay urns-We talk of Adam as man of clay or his name meaning RedClay.
When I see this card- I think Mother, happiness,Healthy eating,compassion, abundance,and unconcious instincts -among the many correspondances.


Got the process wrong so Bump with apologies ~Rosanne


Hopefully I have upload the Empress! Yay Moongold your the Man!!!


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Rosanne ~

I have drawn this card often in readings but just had not realised that Hathor was an aspect of Isis. I think it is fascinating the way that the Egyptian Gods blur roles so easily and and naturally.

I didn't know that the creative mound appeared again here as well.

I love the colours in this card ! The dress is beautiful

Once I used this Tarot in a reading a member organized about a series of murders in her state. This card came up in my throw as the murderer , It was most unusual and I was convinced he was a transvestite or a cross dresser. There was speculation at the time that the guy was able to get the women because they did not suspect him so the theory fitted.

It is an odd story to tell here and might even wreck this image for you forever - I hope not - but I have always found this deck to be so correct. We didn't pursue the readings. I never found out why and didn't ask because it felt uncomfortable doing them.



Hi Moongold, I am fairly new to this Deck, but I so love it. I have read alot of Egyptian History and Myths. It was a post of yours about the accuracy that encouraged me to purchase it. I have found it accurate also. The Minors I struggle with, but I am enjoying the struggle. As to this Beautiful Empress, I can see the transvestite aspect, but I feel sorry that it was apparent in readings about murder. I think this Empress has style and good colour consultants as well. She does not seem as Motherly as The Empress from Rider Waite Smith. I feel like her when I cook an excellent meal, instinctivly feel compassion, or when I get dressed up to go uptown. I am sure some of the Lads who have called my place home, would have loved to have looked as glamourous for the Hero Parade and Dance Party. ;) ~Rosanne



Thanks for this, I love the colours in this card and the platter of fruit which obviously symbolises fertility and fruitfulness. Are they just apples do you think or do we have pomegranates too!

I found a site in which they say that Hathor watched over children and pregnant women. That's a nice thought isn't it and could certainly add to the meaning of the card. She had her own cult following which included musicians, dancers and singers. Also the Priests of Hathor were oracles and midwives.


Rosanne said:
She does not seem as Motherly as The Empress from Rider Waite Smith.
I agree. Although she is supposed to represent an ancient Egyptian mother archetype, there is something about her that is distinctively modern. No doubt she has let the Emperor know where he may and may not step with her. The Bast statue to her right tells me she would be fiercely protective her children. I see her as being ultimately giving, yet also insuring she will not be stepped on by anyone.


Here are a few more aspects of The Empress. As Hathor, the earthy personality of Isis- Her hair-do is known in Archeology as The Hathor Style.
It is a simple, non-wig, self maintained style, seen as equalizing (same as man), but more importantly a sign of self confidence, which ties into SweetIsTheTruth's post. Most hairstyles were wigs and hard to maintain, and were particularly Egyptian. We all recognise Cleopatras Hair style; Hathors hairstyle did not stay in Egypt, it travelled all around the middle East; and on to Greece where Hathor became Aphrodite.
Hathor is a percussion Goddess. She is depicted as a Sistra (rattle) A Menat (a ritual rattle necklace) and a Tambourine. The Tambourine is one of the connections to Gypsies. So is Hathors twirling dance with rattles around her ankles.
The Motherly aspect is seen in her connection to the Sycamore Fig Tree which exudes a milky fluid. Her female priests would also interpret Dreams for pregnant women.
One Myth about her explains why the Nile floods Red as blood; as Sekhemet she cooled her rage in the Nile and it turned red with her spent heat. I find her arrival in a spread is more in keeping with today than many other Cards of The Empress. ~Rosanne


bumping up


Additional information on Hathor, Bast and Sekhmet and the imagery in the card compiled from various sources.

The bird flying off to the left of Hathor suggests her legacy as the goddess of the sky and the sun. Hathor was often portrayed as a cow because the concept of the sky as a cow was a widespread belief.

The Seven Hathors were a group of seven goddesses who were created in Hathor's image. They assisted her in nursing activities and acted as fairies around a newborn's cradle.

Bast is sometimes depicted holding a lioness mask, suggesting hidden ferocity and emphasizing her association as a gentler, more benign form of Sekhmet. Bast was considered to be a good mother, linking her to the Empress, who is the archetypal mother. As the lioness and female cat are protective of their offspring, so is the Empress.

Sekhmet is further connected to Hathor by the myth of Ra sending Sekhmet to destroy men who he felt were conspiring against him. After the battle, Sekhmet's bloodlust was such that she destroyed almost all of mankind until Ra tricked her into drinking pomegranate-tinted beer that she thought was blood. Once she was drunk, she gave up the slaughter of mankind and became an aspect of Hathor.

The garden that she sits in suggests a place of inner spirituality and peace; it's also associated with the mind or the unconscious. The appearance of the harvest near Hathor gives a clue as to her inner state - the fruit of her garden suggests the fruit of her loins (originally Horus, whose depiction can be seen on the wall behind he)r.

The color green creates a balance of energy. It heals the heart and helps in overcoming the fear of giving and of sharing. It promotes reconciliation, harmony and balance. It represents renewal and symbolizes fertility and growth. It also reprsents abundance, vitality, nature, success, good luck and beauty. Hathor's dress is emerald green, which attracts love and fertility. It also symbolizes money, prosperity, wealth and peace of mind.