Bohemian Gothic Tarot-The Empress


Thirteen said:
Ohmygawd! I finally got a chance to really, really examine this deck. The Empress is facing a skeleton...but it's not her dead husband, or the girl's real mom, or death....If you examine it right, you'll find it'

Holy Freakin' Muskrat! Okay...compose myself I hadn't seen that at all! I kept wondering about this card, being lazy here lately, but since I wasn't immediately turned on by this card I passed over it. I'd see it and try to work it out, but didn't know where to turn. OH MY Goodness. If you hold the card parallel in front of you, then the breast plate and ribs of the skeleton are directly on point with the viewer; us. But our heads are turned curiously towards the Empress...hence the shift of the skull. Wow, and yes, I just went and stood in front of a mirror, tee hee hee!

Thirteen, I'd just like to say how excited I am about your own enthusiasm for this deck!!! Your giddiness and fortitude at delving into this sumptuous deck keeps on inspiring me to do the same with renewed energy! When I have the time finally in my evenings to myself, to studying tarot, I'm sometimes a bit to worn out to gain proper knowledge, but when I run into your posts in this study group, man...I just want to stay up forever. Forever consulting each and every detail in the cards! Woot, good times mate! Thanks for the lovely evening thrills, lol.

swimming in tarot

Wow, Thirteen. There's really not much to add, except: to see the skeleton as yourself, you have to step INTO the card. Enter the picture. From where we are outside the card, we see through then lens of the camera, which is a little low, and the Empress appears to be looking above our heads at a point in front of us. At first I was reluctant to step into the card, because I don't rub shoulders with empresses on a daily basis :), but that also shows distanced thinking about who she is, archetypally. She is the all-mother, mother nature I guess, and stepping right up to one's mother is a natural thing to do. Stepping into the card, as we ought to be, we stand at our full height, and we are also a few steps closer to the Empress. Yeah. In that spot occupied by the third party in the mirror. (Venus' mirror, that's brilliant!)

Now, who is that little girl, or is she the life part of the death in this card?


swimming in tarot said:
Now, who is that little girl, or is she the life part of the death in this card?
This is the BG tarot and I'm mot sure anything is quite "alive" in this deck ;) I think, however, that she's there to remind us that the Empress stands for "mom." If the child wasn't there, the Empress would seem less motherly.

Queen of Disks

The first thing I thought of when I first saw the Empress card was the Empress saying "Honey? Guess who is coming to dinner!" :laugh: I feel like this woman is not sane at all. She is dressed very richly, (and so is the little girl) and almost like royalty (which would make sense since Europe's royal families were pretty much inbred, which can contribute to mental disorders.) It's as if this woman is not the little girl's mother (she may be an aunt, evil stepmother, or not even related at all.) Maybe the woman did in the little girl's mother in some way, (or did something else bad) and Death is coming to exact justice. The little girl is not really scared to see Death, just suprised. Maybe because she is a child is why Death does not scare her, or sadly maybe life with this woman who may not even be her mother is so unhappy that Death seems like a relief. :( The Empress sits there with a dreamy smile upon her face, and doesn't seem to see that she is looking at a skeleton (she may see it as someone else.) She seems pleased to see Death.

The Empress card on most decks is usually not one of my favorite cards, but this one is very cool.


You know, I had a thought about the little girl. In some decks, the Sun Card isn't a little boy on a horse. It's a little boy and girl. I wonder if this is the Sun Boy's sister? Both are golden haired, and she is wearing blue while he wears red.

It'd be apt, in a way, for the Empress, Earth Mother, to have the Sun's twin sister with her, wouldn't it? (I have, by the way, no evidence at all of this connection between Empress card and Sun card, but when I look at that little girl, the Boy in the Sun card came to mind).


Normally I focus on the foreground of this card but today I really like the mirror reflection behind the shoulder of the Empress. The Skeleton is so conversational to me... almost reminds me of a good natured and well-to-do husband that may have passed. The Skeleton/Husband wasn't a bad guy, but he reminds me of how the Empress seems to outlive everyone, even those she mates with and has offspring with (no doubt, to me, there have been many!). If I were to pin point anything, I immediately think of one of those female spiders that eats the male after they copulate. The Empress seems to me like that female spider... not in a bad way, though! She just takes in those males and ingests them and they are her companions as she works her wonders in all her surroundings.

The Empress' surroundings are so luscious and delicious to me... everything is so vibrant and actually overpowering (eye-orgasm???). I can't really focus on any one thing because there's things from nature everywhere in this card. The flower tapestry behind her, her beautiful dress, her ruby pendant, the lush carpet design, the flowers behind one of her many many offspring, and the carved designs in the boudoir in the reflected mirror. Somehow, I must admit that while it's beautiful, there is something just a little maniacal about it all. Over the top and over done; this is nature in its full force.

As for the nature of the Empress, her characteristics and her attitude and style... well, I have mixed feelings. I know she's to represent all maternal nature and all things feminine... but there's also female ego and female pride and vindictiveness. "Nature's wrath" isn't a stretch to me in her Mona Lisa smile. Just as easily as I think she'd be kind, she'd also lift a finger and do something scathing.

The child in the card seems like a... monument. I think of a rock--- shallow and without emotion. If the Empress is Nature, then her child is the Earth, right? All the plants and trees and animals and... rocks. The child seems pretty stationary and without real individuality; I see her metaphorically rather than as a "real" person. The child is one of the many things the Empress has produced in her time.

As for the feeling in this card overall, it's like stepping into a cave and having so many beautiful things to look at and adore... it's very wondrous. But you know you can be loved and hated at the same time, so you're holding your breath the entire time. The Empress is both cruel and kind and... well, I'd be scared to even move if she decides to teeter either way. But even if there is this insane mood swing that could happen... well, she'd at least be pretty to look at???


Thirteen said:
Ohmygawd! I finally got a chance to really, really examine this deck. The Empress is facing a skeleton...but it's not her dead husband, or the girl's real mom, or death....If you examine it right, you'll find it'

WOW! I think you are spot on (and baba-prague's reply seems to bear this out!) I love your analysis of what it means, too.

The slightly different spin this deck gives on the card interpretations and archtypes is utterly fantastic. This Empress really shows the other side of Mother: slightly maniacal sounds pretty apt. ;-)


When I see the skeleton in the "Empress" card I have to think of the fact that when we are born we will also have to die one day; nobody can escape it. Like a colleague of mine always says "I don't celebrate birthdays; it's one year closer to death!!" ;)


When a woman approaches childbirth, she approaches not just possible death, but the death of life as it was before. The skeleton seems to be looming over her, watching, waiting, inevitable.

Is the Empress pregnant? Her back is turned to the skeleton, is the skeleton the death that she doesn't even know she fears?

Her face looks like she is trying to be happy, as if one is supposed to be happy while bring in and nurturing new life, but her eyes look a bit insane (I always equate insanity with seeing the whites of the eyes from underneath)


Is that a child next to her, or the court midget? Either way, if we're the skeleton in the mirror, that little person looks more than a little freaked out by us.