The Wild Unknown Tarot - The Empress III


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.

So beautifully stated!


Womb, cycles

In addition to the cyclical nature of deciduous trees mentioned already, a visual impact I got today from this card is not one of a "tree" at all, but it instead looks to me like a full uterus—either ready to menstruate or pregnant, gestating. So it's a very literal interpretation of the womanly, motherly nature of the Empress. This shedding even parallels the tree shedding its leaves toward its roots in autumn to make room for new growth in spring. Even the crescent moon reminds me of a new egg that is about to be released to start the cycle all over again. The moon is to the left, also traditionally representing receptivity or the feminine side.

So not only is the Empress tree round, soft, and cyclical—symbolically representing her femininity, she is also very graphically and literally a womb/uterus, in contrast to the very phallic Emperor.

I know we should discuss the Emperor on his own thread, but to me the two cards really have to be understood together, especially in this deck. His sun is on the right, although interestingly, it appears to be another eclipse (at least one other in the deck, despite how rare eclipses are: 2 Swords, and arguably Son of Pentacles in a partial eclipse). The eclipsed sun seems to balance the sliver of the moon—both beacons of celestial light, yet not fully illuminated. Although it's not exactly the same as an eclipse, the moon is empty when the sun is behind her in the same way that the sun is eclipsed when the moon is in front of him. But I don't see this as a blockage, exactly, but more the thread that ties the two together—they're complimentary by being opposite, but opposite at the same stage of their lives, the sun and moon aligned together looking toward the earth; Mother and Father directing a singular attention on their child, as opposed to a full moon and bright sun looking at both sides of the Earth.

A rather sexual way of looking at the two is to place the Empress above the Emperor, her white foundation enveloping his white background before union. And yet, his black foundation emerges from her black background. Their strength draws from each other, each taking turns in the foreground… the two cards exist together for me, even when only one is present in the spread. In either card, the other is present, even if not the active force. The fully expressed feminine force requires masculine context and vice versa—they coexist, either within a single person, a situation, or in relationship. The purer a polarity, the stronger its opposite must also be. They are equal expressions of duality that hint at the possibility of non-duality. We could even create an endless cycle of Empress above Emperor above Empress above Emperor in the endless cycle of polarity that reminds me of the classic Yin/Yang symbol—a representation of unity expressed through duality (which is also encompassed by the Justice card…)

Turning into a rambling tarot nerd here, so I'll leave it there before I get too far away from the Empress herself :)


I was meditating on this card recently and realised the tree is blossoming with such an energy, under the crescent moon! With a bit of nurturing something or someone can also blossom just like this :)


I was meditating on this card recently and realised the tree is blossoming with such an energy, under the crescent moon! With a bit of nurturing something or someone can also blossom just like this :)
Ooh I really like that Daniel...


Something else to add to this card, the crescent moon is in exactly the same place as the High Priestess card before. The Empress has a slightly smaller version of this moon to make it fit with the blooming tree, but if you compare both cards together it's in the same place! So both are ruled by this crescent Moon which in astrology represents the Mother. The crescent moon is waning in the NH and decreasing in size, many belief systems have this at a time of getting rid of things from your life and banishing (when as the waxing moon is a time for manifesting and spells). It's the same shape Moon (but now yellow and in the middle) in the Moon card and other cards represent different moon cycles.

The Empress tree blooms brightly from within with nurturing and is not reliant on the energy of the Moon which is getting smaller. I will write about this more in the Emperor thread but the Emperor needs the Sun where as the Empress is more independent, she can cope without the light of the moon and without leaves. I am not sure why the Waning Crescent (in the NH) is used on the feminine cards, why include it and not the waxing moon with things coming? However the Wheel of Fortune does have the Waxing crescent.


Wow, well spotted and nice analysis too..
What doe 'NH' mean though?


sorry :) I knew I should have written it out! Northern Hemisphere :)


Maveriker and Sulis, you are so great! In my week dedicated to this deck, I meditated on the empress tonight, and I had found, just like you Sulis, that a tree is the best way to represent a mother because without the trees we could not breathe!
I will try to translate what I wrote in French in my journal:
Tree. A protecting force. You regenerate the air I breath.
Tree. You give without asking, without complaining. You endure attacks without retaliating.
You sacrifice yourself to become wood for us to build houses, for us to burn fires.
You are there eternally, always renewed, totally giving yourself.
Tree, you are the archetype of the Mother.


I absolutely love the simile between the womb and this tree, not to mention the note on the cyclical behaviour of deciduous trees and its connection to the woman's body;

I'll add some thoughts:

The Empress here is definitely connected to the Emperor. They are the negatives of each other - the Emperor is a dark tree on a background full of light -even though!- during the eclipse, it is supposed to be dark.

The Empress on the other hand is a tree of light on a dark background; given the negative image (by negative I mean white on black background), I was thinking: perhaps the "moon" in the Empress card is not a moon, but it is actually the Sun, right before the eclipse? And the blossoms are bathed in the red light. This would explain the light and the dark for me - the tree shines with the final glimpse of light before the eclipse.