The Wild Unknown Tarot - The Empress III

Sulis

I was going to do a thread on both The Empress and The Emperor cards together as I really do think that they are a pair in this deck and the similarities and differences in the symbolism used is really important but I'm going to have a go at separate threads for each..


The number 3
The Empress's number is III...
3 is the first number we come to that adds in another dimension.. With 1 you have a point, with 2 you have 2 points and movement of energy between those points but when you add another point you've gone into 3 dimensions... You have height or depth, you have a triangle which is the base of a pyramid... You can build on a 3..
3 is the sum of 1 + 2... It's the product of the first 2 digits.. Add 1 and 2 together and you get something new..
Because of this it's associated with creation and creativity. 3 is a number of self expression, of taking things 'out there', outside of the relationship between you and one other person or of that relationship growing and maybe producing something else - a child for example or a deepening of the relationship you have. 3 is about community, expression, growth and expansion. It's a very active number, it's where the action takes place after the initial burst of energy with the Ace and the pause of the 2.

The Empress in tarot
The Empress is the mother archetype, she is the feminine principle and she embodies everything that those 2 phrases represent..
She is the source of everything... She is creation, she gives birth to all that there is, she is Mother Nature, she is The Goddess.
She is also an Empress so the consort of The Emperor and the female ruler of an empire. She is all 4 queens rolled into one.
What do you think of when you think of a mother?
She's nurturing, fiercely protective, she can be overbearing and even smothering.. She loves without condition, she is a provider, she's in charge but she rules with a more gentle type of rule than her partner, The Emperor does..
This lady is sensual, she is emotional, she experiences life with the aid of all of her senses and she feels rather than thinks in a logical way (although she can be like that too)...
This card is about abundance, creativity, nurturing and caring..

This Empress
It's night time.. A crescent moon (Waning in the Northern Hemisphere) hangs in the sky above the white silhouette of a leafy deciduous tree. The tree has a rounded shape and the outer leaves are tinged with pink, getting darker the further away from the centre of the tree it gets.

The Emperor in this deck is also represented by a tree.

When I think of a tree like this I think of a complete ecosystem.. This tree is home to many different organisms.. It provides everything they need; food, shelter and water... We all know that trees are also integral to the survival of the planet since they produce oxygen through photosynthesis and also get rid of carbon-dioxide..
When I first saw this and The Emperor card I was a bit puzzled by the use of trees as symbols of these archetypes but now I can see that all of the points I've mentioned really do fit in with my idea of an empress... The tree is the world, the universe to the organisms that live in and on it and to the things that depend on it.. It nurtures and it protects, it's the giver of life and it provides the structure that things depend on.
The dark sky immediately makes me think of the feminine principle with dark representing feminine and light representing masculine.. Feminine is the dark womb, receptive, inward looking yet strong..
The pink glow that the leaves have makes me think of warmth and nurturing and the rounded shape makes me think of the female shape, the receptacle, warmth, the place where things can grow, be they things, ideas, whatever...

These are just my thoughts on this card, I'm no expert so any additions are welcome... This and The Emperor are cards that I've really had to think about but I think I'm getting more of a handle on them now...

I've added an image and I'm off to think a bit about The Emperor :).
 

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Pixna

Beautiful, beautiful insights, Sulis. I'm glad that you are going to try to do separate cards for the Empress and the Emperor.

Your comments helped me see this card in a fresh light -- thank you! There are a few other things I noticed as well.

The colors are soft and feminine yet convey strength, beauty, and security. The purple tinge around the edges of the tree is indicative of royalty. The white trunk/bark of the tree emanates light -- it seems to glow brilliantly against the dark background of night, suggesting intelligence and wisdom.

Something about this tree conveys security to me -- as though it could envelop me in its branches and I would be safe. This is a tree I could hug and nuzzle. The roots are hidden from view, but they appear to run deep and wide. There are many leaves on the tree, accentuating her fertility and abundance.
 

Gillyboo

Thank you for these insights, Sulis!

I also noticed that between the Empress and Emperor tree types, with the Empress being deciduous as you called out, she is subject to physical cycles of peak and retreat while the Emperor is evergreen and sustains his needles in high key energy year round.

These are also mature trees and so are past the whims, vulnerabilities and frenzies of youth.
 

Pixna

Ah, the maturity and cyclic "moodiness" of the Empress. Very perceptive observations, Gillyboo. Thanks!
 

Sulis

Thank you for these insights, Sulis!

I also noticed that between the Empress and Emperor tree types, with the Empress being deciduous as you called out, she is subject to physical cycles of peak and retreat while the Emperor is evergreen and sustains his needles in high key energy year round.

These are also mature trees and so are past the whims, vulnerabilities and frenzies of youth.

Wow, I hadn't thought of that but you're right.. Cool observation :).
 

Gillyboo

Wow, I hadn't thought of that but you're right.. Cool observation :).

Thanks, Sulis! I think I read somewhere on another card where you'd sit and meditation, so I was inspired, staring at these cards intensely (until something nearly burst!). At least something happened. :bugeyed:
 

Sulis

The Empress and The Emperor

I was meditating on the Empress and Emperor cards yesterday and was particularly thinking of the way I see The Empress as the embodiment of all 4 queens and that made me think that The Empress is in fact 'every woman'.. Looking again at the image of the tree I was struck at the ordinariness of a tree to represent an empress; a ruler and the 'every woman' thing really hit home...
Trees are so ordinary, they're everywhere yet they are taller than anything else (unless it's man-made), they are regal, strong and imposing, yet there are thousands of them... This seemed to gel really well with the notion that The Empress (and her counterpart, The Emperor) represent all women and all men...

It was a bit of a revelation for me :).
 

Pixna

I was meditating on the Empress and Emperor cards yesterday and was particularly thinking of the way I see The Empress as the embodiment of all 4 queens and that made me think that The Empress is in fact 'every woman'.. Looking again at the image of the tree I was struck at the ordinariness of a tree to represent an empress; a ruler and the 'every woman' thing really hit home...
Trees are so ordinary, they're everywhere yet they are taller than anything else (unless it's man-made), they are regal, strong and imposing, yet there are thousands of them... This seemed to gel really well with the notion that The Empress (and her counterpart, The Emperor) represent all women and all men...

It was a bit of a revelation for me :).

I absolutely love this! How insightful, Sulis -- thank you!
 

happyfish

I had some similar thoughts to Sulis, but different enough that I'll go ahead and post them. :)

In the Empress card of the Wild Unknown tarot, we are met with a night scene. Remember that the High Priestess was also cloaked in darkness. Night time in the Wild Unknown seems to be associated with the realm of the feminine, signifying mysteries and inward-moving energy.

The card is dominated by an expansive tree, a waning crescent moon peeking out above. The colorful tree stands out against the black of the sky. It could serve as a safe haven from the darkness beyond. The edges of the tree are brimming with pink, red and purple life. The colors evoke blossoms and fruit – signs of the Empress’ role in creating and sustaining life.

Note that this is a deciduous tree, which will go through the repeating cycle of life. This tree will have color in autumn, lose leaves in winter, and then burst forth with new leaves and blossoms in the spring, bearing fruit in the summer. It is an apt way to show the nurturing, abundant, life-affirming energy of the Empress.