Here we see an elephant facing to the left holding a gold scepter with ruby ends and the symbol for female at it’s top. Behind the elephant is an upside down triangle, which is the symbol for water and the feminine. At her base she has a pomegranate, harvested wheat, and what looks like wilting basil. Wilting basil would also tie in with the timing of the other plants on this card. Finally, the elephant has a pine forest on her head, again unsurprising as some myths posit that the elephant is a cosmic creature who carries the world on their back.
The number three is a powerful number across cultures. The symbol of three is the triangle. We exist in the third dimension as such, three is an important number in magick workings. Things are often done in threes in order to see them manifest in this dimension.
Three is associated with working together, over coming duality to multiply and cooperate to create a whole greater than the sum. Energies are coming together in this card to create, express, manifest and move forward, largely through the power of nature, love and healing and indicated by the presence of the antlers.
Three represents harmony, foundation and stability – as basis for things to grow and manifest. The power of three is the basic structure of the world when understood from many magickal standpoints: heaven/sky, earth and water and thus is a very protective number. However, the threefold law can’t be overlooked. So making sure you are aware of this relationship is vital.
One of the Empress’ main messages is about caring for new directions, goals, ideas, creative projects and even quite literally, babies. Often if someone comes asking about fertility or children in the future, the Empress indicates a positive outlook. She is a highly fertile card. But in relation to the fertile energy sitting under the number three it is important that extra care be taken at this time, not only of yourself but of anything new in your life and at times, the people around you. This is not the time to be trying to work through things on your own. Ask for help if you need help, and offer help where you can.
Elephants are rich in symbolism. The most successful herds of elephants are led by the oldest female elephant, the matriarch. Given that she is holding the scepter one can infer that she is the matriarch of the herd. The myths and symbols linked with elephants is so vast it is hard to know where to begin. They bring luck, protection, happiness, good fortune, long life and can help with pushing through obstacles. They are an energy and animal that can be relied upon for their strength, stability, persistence, tenacity and ability to guide through even the roughest terrain. That is perhaps why humans have come to associate them with power, dignity, royalty and look upon them with great respect and devotion. By nature, elephants are very patient animals unless you get between them and their calf – their mothering instinct is incredibly strong. Elephants are also community minded and sensitive, their intelligence and memory can not be overstated. Evidence for this is their rituals and mourning around death. They are keenly emotionally aware of everything happening in their herd. They have also been linked to connection with spirit because of their predisposition towards ritual. As such, the elephant makes the perfect Empress. She is rich, generous, mystical, steadfast, calm, persistent and caring. She will help you on your journey and show you how to care for those around and maintain a healthy connection to spirit.
Rubies are stones of nobility but are also linked to vitality, prosperity, generosity, stability, wealth, courage, passion, protection and energy healing – namely Kundalini. It is said to protect the home and family as well as provide psychic protection and ward off unhappiness.
Rubies are both a spiritually grounding stone and are wonderful for manifesting work. When coupled with their ability to protect and bring prosperity they are the perfect stone for the Empress to carry.
Rubies are a recordkeeper stone, they hold a lot of wisdom much like the memory of the elephant. Rubies can help you access deep and ancient knowledge, lucid and astral travel. This helps remind us of the spiritual side of the Empress which asks us to keep in harmony with our guides, soul purpose, and nature to see the best results as we foster this new seed of growth and move along on our journey.
As the Empress card is linked with fertility it makes sense that some symbolism of love and passion would be evident and the ruby is just that. Ruby is often associated with sexual healing and passion. Some people even use it as an aphrodisiac. When working with chakras, ruby is often used for the root and heart. The ruby works with blood to even out emotions. It also stimulates the chi and helps the life force and can help overcome exhaustion and aid you on your journey.
The presence of cut wheat, drying basil and ripe pomegranate point to the time of the harvest. All three have linked to prosperity, fertility and wealth. The Empress card is the archetypal Earth Mother card. Whether you want to look on her as Gaia or Demeter or any number of goddesses that mother, love and provide, the essential message here is that you are loved and that all you need is here. You just need to trust and work with the elements and people around you and you will achieve your goals and be safe. It is a time to nurture. It is also a time to replenish. As this card has symbolism of the harvest, it is good to note that while you are in a time of plenty now harder times will be ahead, so it is a good time to prepare for that by rejuvenating your body, solidifying your connections with the people around you whilst also making a point of storing some goods away for a rainy day.
Pomegranate is also linked with truth, the knowledge of the underworld as gained from time spent with the High Priestess. This hints at choices and compromises ahead, but most importantly a time to maintain connection to the other world and listen to your inner wisdom. That is, while you are working on the material plane to nurture your goals with the help of the Empress, don’t forget to keep your connection to spirit healthy. If you are called upon to make a sacrifice for the greater good, or even for your own goals, and it is safe for you to do so, proceed with grace and you will gain wisdom you would never have dreamed of. The pomegranate symbolizes the cycle of life and death. Everything has its natural time. We’re born, we live, we die. But our soul never dies, it just transforms. What you do with love in your heart at this point in time, will be paid back to you threefold.
Finally, a note on basil. Basil is a highly protective and prosperous herb and is used in a lot of spellwork. But your intention must be clear when working with Basil. Its powers are equal light and dark, it is linked with hate and love within magick, lore and symbolism. This makes it a potent healer but also an ingredient that requires pure intent. If there is one thing the Empress can help you with it is pure intent.
The pines are also a plant of duality – light and dark. They are often referred to as the Goddess tree. Pines provide so, so much to humans in terms of resources and they are evergreens. As well as providing material for our homes and even food in times of need, pines are very powerful healers and antiseptics. It is perhaps not surprising then that we see pine used to cleanse and uplift energies and people. The fact that the pines sit atop the elephant’s head reminds us to keep a clear connection to spirit and our traditions. Pine is also linked with some of the most powerful protection spells. It can be used to attract money and is linked with fertility. As some of the oldest plants on the planet they are also linked with patience, wisdom, silence, calm, strength and lastly – eternal life. Farmers used to look to the pines for hope during long winters, their lasting greenery a sign that life prevailed through the cold. However, the flip side of pine is that it casts long shadows and very little lives beneath compared to other forests. Once again, this reminds us to keep our intent pure – pines have a long memory.
This card with its forest, water, fresh and dried plants and matriarch provides us with all we need to thrive.
But in order to really make use of all the energies and resources being made available, it is vital that you get in touch with your feminine side. Beauty is an important tool for healing and for life. It is a time to receive your bounty from the universe and use it to love yourself and those around you. It is okay to love and spoil yourself, in fact it is necessary sometimes. Sometimes the best way to spoil yourself is to spend time in nature. What will it take for you to give yourself permission to love? How can you love and support those around you? How are you mothering at the moment? What goals are you nurturing in to fruition? What brings you bliss?
Upright: fertility, nurturing, patience, generosity, feminine energy, abundance, love.
Reversed: overbearing, smothering, dependence on others, sterility, creative block, feeling lost, not reaching out for help.