The Empress

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Depictions of The Empress from various Tarot decks

The Empress is the third card in the Major Arcana in most traditional Tarot decks.


In virtually all Tarot decks pre-dating the Rider-Waite Tarot, The Empress is depicted as a woman upon on a throne wearing a crown with twelve stars, holding a scepter in one hand. The scepter is representative of her power over life, her crown has twelve stars representing her dominance over the year, and her throne is in the midst of a field of grain, representative of her dominion over growing things. The Empress is representative of the productivity of the subconscious, seeded by ideas. She is meant to be the embodiment of the growth of the natural world, fertility, and what one knows or believes from the heart.

Alternate names

In the Hieronymus Bosch Tarot by Travis McHenry, this card is called The Virgin Mother, and uses Hieronymus Bosch's painting of the same name showing the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus inside a walled castle.

Divinatory meaning

In divination, this card usually indicates fertility, initiative, and fruitfulness.

In reversed position, it means: Truth, light, the unravelling of involved matters.

Tarot Topics
Major Arcana The FoolThe MagicianThe High PriestessThe EmpressThe EmperorThe HierophantThe LoversThe ChariotStrengthThe HermitWheel of FortuneJusticeThe Hanged ManDeathTemperanceThe DevilThe TowerThe StarThe MoonThe SunJudgementThe World
Minor Arcana Pentacles AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Wands AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Cups AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Swords AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Decks Visconti-Sforza TarotTarot of MarseillesRider-Waite TarotThoth TarotOccult TarotAngel TarotVlad Dracula TarotHieronymus Bosch Tarot