III: The Empress

Congratulations! You’re pregnant. No, I’m kidding. Well – okay – I’m not kidding, but it may or may not be an actual baby. This is one of those times where you’ll have to look at the context of the card, or possibly just at the odds of you having a baby inside you right now. The Empress is the card of pregnancy, of being on the verge of creation, but it’s not necessarily literal. (Take a deep breath. Sorry I scared you.)

I looked for that gif for eighty years. If you haven’t seen Jupiter Ascending you should, but also, sorry. Appreciate me anyway.

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The Empress is a big hug. That’s how it feels to me. It’s this incredibly nurturing, safe, protective presence; it is literally Demeter. It is capable of so much destruction, but it only exercises that awesome, terrifying power in times of extremity. It is first and foremost a mother, and I mean that not in a gendered sense but in the sense simply of a caretaker, a protector, someone that would rear up on hind legs and bash in the head of anyone who dared challenge the safety of their loved ones. The things you create – whether they are people, or paintings, or songs, or words – all of these things are yours, part of you given to the world, and you are their fiercest defender. The Empress is therefore a card of beginning, but not quite like an Ace (although Aces in your readings will give you clues as to what the Empress is here about!). It is a card that symbolizes creation, in its myriad forms. Creativity, nurturing; planting something and watching it grow. The Empress is about potential, both realized and waiting to be realized.

No one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Unwritten“, Natasha Bedingfield

When the Empress demands creation, it is generally in the form of art – beauty is the hallmark of the Empress. But the thing here is that everything created is art, when it is done with an eye toward nourishing some part of you. When what you create fulfills you, pleases your soul, it is art, no matter what it is, and the Empress rejoices in it.

The Empress also demands a return to nature, a re-appreciation of the natural world and your place in it. Remember, Demeter: think grain, think flowering, think the turning of the world into seasons where everything is lush and green and living. The appearance of the Empress is a sign that you need to spend more time in nature, that you need to appreciate the natural world. I know it’s hard – trust me, I spend my days indoors, and not by choice – but it is necessary. The Empress is a card of balance, and when she appears it means that your life lacks balance. But in the same breath, she tells you how to fix it – create. Go outside. Inhabit the world, and give to it however you can.

I know this seems a little woobly-hands date-a-girl-who-travels lifestyle-blogging nonsense, but I promise, that’s not what I mean. I know you’re busy, and I know it’s hard to have hobbies, especially as a working person, especially when those hobbies are “create a beautiful thing out of your brain”. Like, where is the spark for that! We were talking about that last night, the witchsongs and I, and I said “a lot of times what I am doing is just slamming hands on keyboard, like,” which is self-deprecating but honestly not untrue. A lot of times I sit down to write and I’m like, I can’t possibly, I have nothing left to say. But I make myself type things, and even if those things are terrible they sort of open the door a little bit for better things to slip through. So what I’m saying here isn’t just, go paint a masterpiece today while sitting in a verdant field for eight hours and you will have attained peace. Like, get out.

What I’m saying here is that there is a lack in your life, an imbalance, and it’s coming from the place in your heart that nurtures things, that feels protective and fierce and warm. The place in your heart that loves the things you create and fights for them. It’s out of practice, is what I’m saying, and any practice is better than none. I know time is short – when you’re walking from your car to work, try and look at what’s around you. Appreciate the sad, small tree in its little sad tree-ring on the sidewalk. Smile at a pigeon, I guess. Let the world know that you see it, and that you see yourself in it. It can be such a small thing, I promise, but it will make such a difference – that is literally the point of the Empress. It shows up to say, “You could feel better than this, and this is how,” and it’s not putting any kind of pressure on you, it’s not an ultimatum, it’s just – it’s very cognizant of your worth, the Empress. It’s very aware of how much you have to give, even when you yourself aren’t. And giving can seem scary, losing parts of yourself, creating little things to go out into the world and be received in some way you can’t predict, but that’s part of it too, the part that flexes the mama-bear muscles of your heart and says no, that is mine, it came from me and I have worth and it does too. It’s hard, to create things, and it’s even harder to be proud of those things once they’ve slipped out of you. But it is so good for you, and I promise you it is worth it. The Empress is asking you to allow the universe to be present in your life, in you, to do good things for you. To ground you, and raise you up, and remind you that you are alive in the day.

and I will go downtown
Stand in the shadows of the buildings

and button up my coat
Trying to stay strong, spirit willing
and I will come back home
Maybe call some friends
Maybe paint some pictures
It all depends
Get Lonely“, the Mountain Goats

The Empress reversed is a warning, a signal that you are overextending yourself. There is a difference between nurturing something, someone, keeping it safe through the night, and micromanaging it to the point that you crush its flame out entirely. You can’t spell smother without mother, ha, ha ha ha, but there’s a small ridiculous grain of truth there. The Empress is about faith, and the reversed Empress means you’re doubting yourself, doubting the things you have made, doubting your place in the universe. It can mean you’re pushing down your own emotions to deal with someone else’s, or that you are experiencing some kind of creative block, or that you are overlooking your own beauty, your own radiant nature. You feel rootless, you know. The Empress reversed is reminding you that you are everything you need, deep down in the little acorn of your heart, tiny fibers ready to branch out and through you. Return to yourself, draw yourself inward. Stoke the flame inside you until it is ready to really burn. Feed it small scraps of paper, encouragement. Nurture yourself, the parts of you that you don’t think are worth anything, because they are. They are. Listen to your soul, and remember: balance, balance.

Breathe it out and breathe it in
Trust the light that shines within
Let it burn ’til you learn to love yourself
Breathe it out and breathe it in
Trust the light that shines within
Let it burn ’til you learn to love yourself
Learn to Love Yourself“, Olivia Newton-John

About Aly

aly was born in nashville but left before she could meet and befriend and ultimately wed taylor swift. now she lives in colorado, where she spends her time crying about bucky barnes, yelling about pop music and vampires, and writing young adult fiction.

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