So, we have looked at The Fool (0), The Magician (1), and The High Priestess (2), which corresponds with the beginning of life and is our awareness of our Physical Self, our Mental Self, and our Emotional/Spiritual Self. Next up…The Empress.
The Empress, although not scary, is one of those cards that is often misunderstood. I do not know when this card began to solely reflect that a child was coming but somehow, somewhere that is what this card has come to represent. The Mother/Nurturer Archetype is just one aspect of this card. This card actually deals with the Primal Creative Force, in all its aspects, not just childbirth/fertility. The Fool has entered that phase of the journey where the attention has shifted from the inner world to the outer world.
# 3 -The Empress: (Connecting Mind and Body, Abundance, Imagination)
The Empress is our realization that life is an inherently creative process. We become motivated to explore creation and our creative nature to find harmony in our environment/self. We seek to nurture not only ourselves and others but our dreams and aspirations and by doing so we begin to realize a cycle of abundance. This creates a sense of purpose and meaning in our life and keeps us moving; pursuing our passions and creativity.
The Empress is a nurturer, and therefore represents unconditional love and abundance. She is the embodiment of emotional/physical security. Sounds like a mom, Right? The Down side to this is if you aren’t on good terms with your mother chances are you are stalling out creatively or having trouble manifesting the life you want. Your Mother just became a Smothering force. No Worries. You can fix this. Keywords for this card: Mother, Mother Earth, Femininity, nurture, nature, abundance/fertility, Art, Beauty, Unconditional Love, muse.
Questions to ask: “How do I nurture my surroundings/others?” “How do I nurture my feminine side?” “How do I nurture myself?” “Do I have any creative gifts?” When was the last time I took time to practice or pursue my creative talents?” “Why am I not expressing my creative side?” “When was the last time I enjoyed the beauty of Nature?” “How can I bring more natural elements into my life (urban dwellers)?” “How do I view motherhood or my Mother?” “Do I love myself unconditionally?”
If you have a Smother instead of a Mother, ask: “What do I not understand about my relationship with my mother?” “What part of myself, mirrors the issues I have with my Mother?” “What do I need to change in my life in order to feel more secure?” We will come back to this at a later date because you cannot manifest the life you desire if you have mommy issues.
What to remember about this card: Nurture yourself, as well as others. Nurture your dreams, creative gifts and talents and share them with the world. You have the potential to create the life you desire.
# 4 -The Emperor (Ambition, Authority, Financial Success)
It makes sense that if the Empress represents Mom that makes the Emperor a father figure. Welcome to Family Dynamics aka Spiritual Boot Camp. Following the free flow of our inherent creative high we realize we could use a bit of structure in our life. Structure is the foundation of a successful life. It is controlling or the harnessing of that creative force we just discovered. We want to protect and develop it. We have also realized that by sharing what we have and nurturing others we have been depleted (emotionally, physically, financially, etc.) and so there is a need for boundaries. You are now developing strength of character and organizational skills, and you realize that playing this game of Life requires some rules.
The Emperor is about taking control of your life by taking action and being responsible. He is a reminder that we need to create structure, boundaries and solid foundations (but not be too rigid about it). We need to govern our lives (as well as others in our lives; boundaries) in order to turn our creative powers into reality. The down side to this is it can be easy to go from driven to overbearing, which brings us to daddy issues. Do you have them? Well, if you struggle with setting boundaries, finances and you are overly reactive to everyday situations than the answer is probably yes, but just like the mommy issues it can be fixed and we will deal with both at a later date.
Keywords for this card: Authority, Father-figure, structure, regulation, solid foundation, Action, government, reason/logic. Questions to ask: “How can I embrace my masculine side?” “What area in my life do I need to take responsibility for?” “Where in my life do I need to take charge?” “How do I feel about fatherhood or my father?” “What can I do to not over extend myself (energetically, emotionally, physically, mentally, financially)?” Questions to ask if you have daddy issues: “How can I be more assertive with setting boundaries with others?” “What in my life needs authority or a firm approach?” “Am I being too aggressive/firm with others or certain areas in my life?” “How often do I delegate matters to others?” “Do I need to delegate more or less?” “In what areas of my life am I like my father?” “How Do I feel about that?”
What to remember about this card: Take control of your life and your emotions. Do not live life in an emotional unconscious state (be active not reactive). Embrace Logic and reason when necessary but never forget we are emotional beings. Be ordered, organized and assertive to execute your ideas.
# 5 -The Hierophant (Education, Tradition, Intuition)
The Hierophant is that point in our journey where we begin to question where we fit into the world. We want to know the meaning and purpose of life and so we explore our spiritual nature. We look to organized religion and a teacher to mentor and guide us along our path. We conform to traditional teachings and institutions. We develop a value system and this is also the point where we glimpse that we also have an ability to be a mentor; we too have a wisdom to share with others. The downside to tradition is rebellion.
The Hierophant is seeking, Seeking a place in the world, within the system, forming values, and looking for a place to belong. We are looking past our Self, past our family, and wanting to know what else is out there and what is our place in that greater picture. We need guidance from someone other than our self or our parents to show us the way. Keywords: Group Identification, traditional values and systems/organizations, conformity, religion, beliefs, pursuit of knowledge, Expectation. Questions to ask: “What Spiritual truths am I currently exploring?” “What do I have the yearning to learn?” “Do I have a spiritual mentor?” “Do I need one at this point in my life?” “Do I recognize the spiritual teacher in myself?” “How can I share the spiritual wisdom that I possess?” “In what way am I rebelling against traditional systems?” “Why am I rebelling against it/them?”
What to remember about this card: Seek spiritual guidance but remember one day you will also guide others. Seek the knowledge that you are interested in but remember that there is no understanding without experience. Always act in accordance to your beliefs but remember it is up to you to choose what values from traditions work best for you and your life. Teach don’t Preach. Follow the rules, in order to learn the rules, learn the rules in order to understand when it is necessary to bend or break them and how.
Photo: The Fool. Petroglyph at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, U.S.A. Taken by Pamela Nikon DSLR 5300