The Gothic Tarot by Vargo - III The Empress


cjtarot has also written interesting stuffs on this card, and other cards as well, in a thread on The Gothic Tarot and he/she accepted graciously to be quoted here.

cjtarot said:
I want to respond to the quote about the Lovers, the High Priest and the Empress standing in the same arch...

The Empress, guards her home...the relm of beond. (note the Emperor is inside with all the babe's doing NOTHING)

The Hight PRiest guards the knowledge in the Relm of beond

The Lovers..It is your choice (or is it) to enter into the Relm..note the lovers almost look farther into the arch..

Also look at the High Priestess and the 9 of cups...
The HP..guarding the unknow of our sub consious - or the door to the afterlife.

The 9 of cups.. Cups are emotion, our life flow if you will..the 9 is showing the final preperation before we are fufilled, before the final journey into the ultimate unknow..(Note the 10 of cups is within that arch..the claiming or the dark angel leading you away)


Here's the Empress, in a door within a coffin. The arch has a pillar on each side, and on each side of the arch stands the guardians, skeletons with wings. The Empress, wearing a long white gown and a crown, looks scared or very angry, I'm not sure, as she is ready to come out of her coffin. She also has weird knees like The High Priestess. Could it be that Vargo has problems drawing that part of the anatomy? I'll check the entire deck later.

Maybe the Fool, entered in this realm, then harnessed his powers as the Magician, became an initiated, and a vampire, with the High Priestess; and now, The Empress is shocked, maybe she is just discovering what it means to be a vampire, and it's scary. And as The Emperor, will come in term with it and use it as a tool of authority and power, and enjoy it.


The Empress is often assigned the meanings of nurturing, the womb, mom, birth or beginnings of things…and also the protective aspect of mothering.

Here we have a female figure who may or may not be startled…but she is emerging from a tomb/womb upright casket. Whatever is her issue, repose is over. The allegory of her, or her actions is about to go into action; the idea becomes form.

A double arch, the outer one having a single top, frames the casket. The inner arch has a triple top – once again mirroring the number three.


It must be an awakening then, from the inconscious (High Priestess) to the conscious (Empress).


It might just be my overactive social conscience, but I often think that it shows the Empress, the mother, awakening from a long sleep and being shocked at what has been done to her world. For so long, we have focused not on creation but on destruction, and are only now beginning to realise the importance of the Empress. But we shut her away without nourishment, so she is gaunt and weak, and shock that her first vision upon emerging into this world is one of destruction and death, glorified as being progressive (the skeletons with angel wings - the deification of negative forces?), and Man dominating his environment (the cold marble - the Empress is used to being in green, fertile lands).


I forgot to mention that Vargo's cards were based on earlier works, you can see some of them on his website. This card is called Lilith.


The Empress

WolfyJames said:
I forgot to mention that Vargo's cards were based on earlier works, you can see some of them on his website. This card is called Lilith.

Then what was it that made Vargo think that this card was nessisary? The what is it about her expresson (The Empress). This card is very femanine, with only emotions in mind. Perhapes this card just shows "emotion" being displayed and that is all of it. Its hard to tell.


interesting that the image is called Lilith, after Adam's first wife, who left him, & was later replaced by Eve?? I like the comment that this Empress is guarding the home while the Emperor lounges around. HOwever, she does look shocked. I wonder if this is what the RWS Empress would look like if she suddenly woke up and found she'd become a vampire?


I was struck by the contrast of the High Priestess and the Empress.... The HP is standing in the door suductivly she will invite you in but it might not be for what you want. She is secretive, and subtle with her power i.e. the unconscious is more sublte
The Empress seems to me to be attacking/defending this is more direct as the conscious is... it is an outward movement.
The Empress in a spread could it be something you must do (to strike out be agressive) or something to watch out for?
As for awakening as a mother, that is a jaring realization, no matter how well prepared. and mothers protect their home and themselves... in a way creation is destruction, just a thought.


oh yeh.. the three is mirrored not only in the three point arch, but the three points of her crown, and as far as I can tell on each wrist she has three bracelets, same with her upper arms...since the arch is the same as other cards I wouldn't count the three point arch, so she has threes on her upper arms, wrists, and head...three - threes....if that makes sence, it seems odd to type that term


Hello....I am a newbie to the Gothic Study Group....glad to be here!!! :)

I just pulled the Empress for my daily card, so I wanted to come here and compare my reaction with yours.

Interesting that there was a lot of discussion here about her facial expression, and how it might relate to her role as nurturer and mother figure. I was also somewhat confused by this image, as she does not resemble the "traditional" Empress, who appears to be very calm and non-threatening.

I like the idea that she is angry or upset in a protective stance....
that she is ready to fight for her loved ones, her home and her security.

Artistically speaking, I like the detail in this card, especially the way the skeltetal sentinels almost blend into the they are an integral part of this structure....there to protect and serve her for all eternity.

:) Luna