Robin Wood, The Empress #3


I love all of your insight

A comment about the valley. The valley is the sercurity that she provides. I think of this as her role as a mother. She has set up boundries within which the children are free . She is there if they need her, but she knows enough to let them come to her rather than interfereing in their discovery. She has everything they need, but lets them decide when they need it.
This is by far my favorite card.

I don't think we can look at the empress without balancing her role with that of the emperor. While she sets boundries and lets her children run free within them, the Emperor shows what is beyond the boundries, but sets rigid guidelines for the child to follow to protect him from what lies beyond. He takes an active role in the child's behavior, where as the empress is more passive.


Scarf as modesty? Yarn originating within her gown? Interesting to think on.
Here's another idea - the scarf keeps her crown from blowing off in the breeze. The winds of fate could well blow it off, take away her power, if she were not attentive. So I see her as being prepared. And content.

Anyone care to comment on the heart hanging askew on the tree - with only the sign for female within? Did a man leave it there? Or is it a love for women BY women? A love for who we are and what we do? But it's hanging crooked ... is the wind blowing??



I see the Empress as a mother/wife figure, filled pleasantly with love, kindness and inner beauty. She is strong and capable of providing herself and her family with all of the material comforts needed. I also see her as a master storyteller, filled with wisdom. Someone that you can share your feelings and thoughts with.



Yeah, that Venus shield thing ... other than it balances out the Emperor as Mars it seems to be too prominent to be dismissed so easily.


Could the sheild simply be a symbol to celebrate femininity???


According to Robin's book, she is spinning the thread of life out of stars and air.

About the shield hanging on the tree Robin also says : "This is to symbolize that her intuitive heart is the only protection that she has, and she has set even that aside to accept the Seeker with openness. It has a green ribbon for growth, and a gold border with a spiral pattern for introspection." It is the symbol of the feminine.


Note that the shield on the tree is not easily accessible, either. That, and the fact that she looks so at ease, indicates to me that she already knows the seeker. She's a close friend, or a relative, somebody that knows the seeker's deepest darkest secrets. She's familiar enough with them to keep on with her work despite the fact that she has 'company' watching.

Her calm assurance also says to me that she's the brains behind the brawn, so to speak. Compare the Empress to the Emperor, and she seems to be the wiser - seh's the one sittin gin the lush valley, relaxing and enjoying her work, probably with a few children just out of the seeker's view. The Emperor, on the other hand, is in a position of external power - high on the mountaintop, in the barrens, in a rather stiff position, almost as if posing on his throne. He may be protecting her, but she tells him how to do it.


Sorry for the semi-feminist rant on that one. Just how I see it. :)

What she's spinning DOES look as if it comes from herself. I spin, and it's very easy to put your own spirit, and your thoughts, into the fibers as they twist into the thread. It's very good for meditation. She's filling that bobbin with all the love and contentment within herself. Whoever ends up with something made from that is a lucky person indeed.

As for the wheel itself - it looks suspiciously like an Ashford Traditional. Not a fancy model, but a pretty little workhorse. Much like the woman herself.


First I need to apologise if this message turns up twice - I'd pressed "submit" and then got a message saying the connection had been lost, so I don't think the message got through. But in case it does arrive - sorry for the repetition.

I find this Empress somewhat disturbing. Unlike the Empress in other decks I have, she's not flaunting who or what she is. In other decks her diadem shines brightly, she wears jewels and costly robes and she reclines at her ease. Not so this Empress. Her diadem is covered by a scarf, she has cast off her furs - and she's working!

Her face, too, disturbs me. She is evidently a young woman, because of her pregnancy - but there's something about her face that is ageless and her posture could almost suggest that of an old woman. Both mother and crone.

I think it's the fact that she is not what, on the surface, she purports to be that I find disturbing. The fact that she has cast off or covered up her finery just seems to emphasise her enormous power. She is not, as the Empress in other decks, an Empress of material things but an Empress of something much deeper and much more important. And her smile invites us to share this knowledge with her.

She is surrounded by abundance - the basket of fruit or vegetables beside her, the luxuriant landscape around her, and the child in her womb. And have you noticed the astrological symbols around the rim of her spinning wheel? This woman is creating the universe!

Which brings me to how I would interpret her in a reading. She is, I think, reminding us that we are all co-creators and encouraging us to create for ourselves a life that is worthwhile.



Being a handspinner by profession myself, and seeing the Empress twisting yarn on a New Zealand-made, Ashord Traditional spinning wheel, gave me much joy and perhaps a bit of a chuckle. How could someone like myself not feel connected to this woman?!

In my dictionary, "empress": a woman who holds an imperial title in her own right. Thinking about that definition, I'm guessing Robin's Empress isn't spinning as a profession or because she has other words, this Empress isn't spinning because she *needs* cloth for her clothes...she's spinning because she wants to. Because it's soothing and meditative. Because it grounds her to the earth and in her case, to her people. It connects her to her ancestors...all those who came before her and to whom she is linked by the yarn she spins. And hey, when she's done spinning, she's indeed produced something useful...this IS a practical Empress, after all. Perhaps she can use the yarn to knit something lovely for the baby she carries. Despite her rank, she's a humble, kind and nurturing person...who like the High Priestess in Robin's deck, is not pretentious or snooty.

Lush growth and abundance surrounds the Empress. For me it represents the overflow of joy already present in her own heart. And speaking of hearts, the heart on the Beech demonstrates to me that all those around her have been the lucky recipients of her love. Going back to Robin's definitions of symbols used in Tarot cards (Chapter 3), I see that the Beech tree represents "gracefullness, beauty, stillness, peace, old knowledge, ancient wisdom...," ALL things associated with such an Empress, not to mention the task she's performing at her wheel and the mountains that rise in the distance behind her.

When this card comes up in my own readings, I'm reminded that tho' I may not be rich $-wise, I am more than wealthy in countless other ways.


well, i guess MeM, cricket, Netzach and spinningspider have said it all...
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
i'll take some notes now! :)