The Empress is the fourth Major Arcana card (followed by The Emperor), representing creative fecundity and the synthesis that can occur when two oppositional forces come together to create a third new reality. This tarot card represents creative harmony, relational pleasures, abundance, and ease.

The Empress Tarot Card Upright and Reversed Keywords
The Empress tarot card upright and reversed keywords.

If The High Priestess represents the feminine spirit that dwells within the watery domain of the subconscious, then The Empress represents the feminine energy immanent in matter. Her element is Earth, and the symbol of her planet, Venus, is etched onto her throne, which emphasizes her astrological connection to the planet of love, beauty, and relationships. 

The Empress Keywords

Upright keywords

Reversed keywords

creativity, fertility, abundance, ease 

creative blocks, stagnation, ungrounded energy

Description of The Empress Tarot Card

The Empress, card #3 or Key 3 in a tarot deck, combines the consciously directed yang energy of The Magician (Key 1) with the self-reflective yin energy of The High Priestess (Key 2) to produce the possibility of a creative synthesis in the world. In numerology, the number three is associated with creation, as well as with the three dimensions of material reality, emphasizing that The Empress is at home in the natural world.

In the classic Rider-Waite tarot deck, The Empress reclines on a lush velvet throne, ensconced in the beauty of the natural world. Her connection to her powers of generation and abundance is apparent in the flowing stream, the fertile crops, and the mature trees that surround her. Her relationship with love, beauty, and pleasure is made evident through the Venus sign, which is etched onto her throne.

Her pomegranate printed dress echoes the themes of fecundity and rebirth, and her crown of twelve stars, one for each zodiac sign, connects her to the celestial realms. This links her to her ancient Mesopotamian counterpart, Inanna, who was known as the Queen of Heaven. Her orb-topped scepter suggests that she directs the flow of her feminine energy with power and purpose.

The Empress Upright Meaning

In the upright position, The Empress suggests that you’re connected to your powers of creation and that you’re in a state of flow with what you want to produce or give life to. You nurture your relationships with the time and attention necessary to create growth, connection, and deep bonds of love.

She can point to an explosion of creative energy and the desire to give birth to it in the form of a being, project, or artwork. As a steward of the natural world, The Empress embodies the natural beauty of a blossoming flower, the ease of a flowing river, and the attractive power of a pollinator plant.

Because of her connection to fertility, she’s often associated with the archetype of the Mother, a figure who can create and sustain new life, either literally or metaphorically. She’s connected to the process of birth, the principle of emergence, and the abundance of mother nature. She represents something new that is coming into being in your life, whether it’s a creative project, a new relationship, or an emerging sense of personal power.

Upright Love and Career Keywords

Upright love keywords

Upright career keywords

sensuality, charm, powers of attraction, pleasure

abundance, prosperity, creation, growth

Love and Relationships (Upright Meaning)

In the context of love and relationships, in the upright position, The Empress suggests you are in full possession of your powers of attraction, sensuality, and magnetism. You are animating the archetype of love and beauty in your relationships and can attract your desires through your natural charm. She asks what you are giving birth to or creating anew within the context of your relationship and suggests that this is a source of joy and deep connection. 

Career and Finance (Upright Meaning)

In a career tarot reading, the upright Empress suggests that you are in a season of creation and growth.  What you focus your attention on can produce abundant results and generate sustaining prosperity. She can serve as a reminder to tap into what feels easeful, natural, and life-giving because this is where your creative power lies. 

The Empress Reversed Meaning

In the reversed position, The Empress suggests that you’ve become disconnected from your natural creativity, either because you’ve hit some roadblocks, you no longer feel inspired by what you’re creating, or you’re pushing too hard against the current. There could be a feeling of ungrounded energy and disconnection from the natural world or your own internal rhythms and cycles.

The reversed Empress counsels that in order to come back into alignment with your creative flow, it’s important to ground your energy and replenish your emotional reserves by focusing on nurturing yourself. If you’re trying to force a project to come to fruition, she wants to remind you that everything in nature grows in its own season and according to its own internal timing and that your life is no different.

There could be a lack of harmony within your relationship or a feeling of disconnection from your partner. She asks if you’re neglecting yourself or an aspect of your relationship and wants to remind you that relationships (whether with yourself or another) need quality time, care, and attention. The Empress encourages you to rebuild intimacy by focusing on acts of care that bring pleasure, ease, safety, and connection.

She can also point to a period of working through complicated feelings related to the archetype of the Mother in your own life. You could be reflecting on the ways that you were nurtured as a child and how that impacts the ways you currently nurture yourself and others.

Reversed Love and Career Keywords

Reversed love keywords

Reversed career keywords

emotional disconnection, blocks to intimacy, disharmony, neglect

fear of scarcity, neglecting creative spirit, disconnection from creative flow

Love and Relationships (Reversed Meaning)

In a love tarot reading, the reversed Empress indicates that you’re having trouble connecting to the parts of yourself that feel magnetic, powerful, and sensual. If you feel like you’re pushing hard or trying to force a connection with another, she suggests you’ll experience greater flow when you take a cue from the pollinator plant, which is to bask in your own sense of worth and allow others to come to you.

Career and Finance (Reversed Meaning)

In the reverse, The Empress asks if you’ve been neglecting your own life force. Are you feeding your creative spirit with the requisite time, attention, and self-care that it needs to grow? Are you expecting a harvest of a summer crop in the middle of winter? If you’re struggling with fears of scarcity, The Empress reminds you that you have what you need to create abundance within you and that reconnecting to what feels life-giving will restore harmony and balance within your career.