Understanding Tarot: The Empress

the empress tarot card
Tarot card art from the Rider-Waite Smith Tarot Deck
This article is written by Tarot Reader, Claire Chilvers. You can find out more about her insights and readings at @ClaireChilversTarot

The Empress:  Appreciating balance and achieving abundance

As I write this article for you all, it is a cold, wet, dark, miserable winter afternoon.  A very different view from the card that I am writing about today.

The Empress card shows a beautiful, picturesque scene of abundance. She sits with a golden yellow backdrop of sunshine, her throne placed in a cornfield with ears of corn, ripe standing to attention, getting ready for harvesting. Tall trees in several shades of green sway in the breeze and a clear blue river runs through them.

For me, these late summer hazy days are a memory of months ago, but it then occurred to me that isn’t the case for everyone. For me, it may be the middle of winter, but for readers in the Southern Hemisphere, it is the middle of summer. Reminding me of the wonderful balance that surrounds us in the nature of our Mother Earth.

For our Empress is often referred to as the Earth Mother.

She sits on her throne amongst all of nature to remind us of what can be created.  She herself is creating life as she is pregnant, hence the loose garment.  

Her card number is three, which also denotes growth and birth (from two people comes a third!)

Do you remember our Fool on his journey? As he travels along his life journey, The Empress is the third person that he meets along the way with a new message for him to understand. 

His messages from his previous mentors, The Magician and The High Priestess were about how powerful his thoughts and feelings could be. The Empress is giving him an understanding of the wider world and how he can take part in its creation or destruction.

He may well meet The Empress on a beautiful summer’s day, but of course, Mother Earth can destroy as well as create, and as I sit looking at the bare trees in the distance and the sparse flower beds with no colour I can resonate with that in my cold part of the world.  

The Empress is also portrayed as Demeter, the mother of Persephone (The High Priestess). When her daughter was taken by Hades she threatened to put the whole world in a perpetual winter until she was returned to her. 

In coming to a compromise with Hades, and agreeing that Persephone share her time between them, the seasons were created. When Persephone returns from the underworld, growth begins and we have our spring and summer, when she returns to the underworld, nature begins to retreat and autumn, then winter occurs. 


This is the story of the birth and death of nature and the awesome power of The Empress, such a serene, gentle looking character yet she has the power to change everything about her. We all have that power within us too and it should not be underestimated.

We all create beauty or destruction whether we realize it or not, every choice we make does this. We can do this with our words and our thoughts (as The Magician and High Priestess advised The Fool on the first two stages of his journey). But The Empress shows us on a very tangible level that what we choose to create has an effect on others around us. Unfortunately, the relevance of this is becoming clearer and clearer each day.

When I write these articles, it is always my intention to give as much information as I can about the specific Tarot card. However, this is my fourth article now and each time I begin writing my attention is drawn to the synchronicities that are happening around me that relate so much to the card and its message that I cannot ignore them.  

Of course, I could just write a list of everything I know about The Empress, but, somehow I feel the Universe is asking me to do something slightly different.

Whilst writing this article, my town very nearly flooded. We have had a huge amount of rainfall in the South East of England, and it is now becoming a recurring theme that we do not wish for a white Christmas anymore in the UK,  just one that doesn’t destroy villages and towns with excessive floodwater.  

In contrast, Australia is experiencing terrible bushfires, and I heard on the news yesterday that there was unusual snowfall in parts of California. If ever there was a time to acknowledge the message and warnings of The Empress, it is now.

When I see the destructive power of Mother Nature, I can’t help but feel the synchronicities of the story between Demeter and Hades and the lesson that was shown about taking something from nature without permission.

I feel so many of us are beginning to understand the changes that are happening to our Mother Earth can, in some cases, be linked to our actions.

As distressing as it is to see the extraordinary happenings in nature occurring, I am finding comfort that large amounts of people around the world are joining together to redress the imbalance. 

As we start 2020, I feel so many of us are starting to care and love the Earth like never before.  I am conscious not to make people feel this article is a political statement, in essence, it is about what the tarot can teach us.

And today as I write about The Empress I feel that the focus is on the Earth and how we are all connected to it and need to take care of it. 

If the King of the underworld can learn this lesson and learn to respect the balance of nature, then hopefully we all can too.

Read More:

Understanding Tarot: The Fool’s Journey

Intuitive Astrology Forecast for 2020

About the author

Claire Chilvers

Claire Chilvers is a writer and tarot reader and lives in Essex, UK. She offers tarot readings to clients in the UK and around the world via video calls (Skype usually), if you would like a reading please contact her at clairechilverstarot@yahoo.com.