go on, look at my breasts
at the stars upon my head
at the rod in my hand
at my children.
you can look.
it's not for you -
it's for them.
I admit, I have trouble with the Empress. The images below say it all; she's that earth-mother archetype, the living world in the body of a woman. I don't relate to this idea; this ordinarily wouldn't be a barrier to grokking it, but, I feel this archetype has been pushed on me against my will and that makes me loathe it.
Women are not the world. Women are not for children, and the care of children does not belong to women any more than it belongs to men. Women are not naturally giving or nurturing. We are not universally earthy, passive, bountiful, big-titted. Someone once made me care for his child, not my child, because I had a vagina and he didn't - no matter that I was still a child myself. It will not happen again. But I cannot read the Empress without knowing that that happened.
There is one thing I really like about the Empress. It is that she is not nice. She is Earth, amoral; she does not give because it is right to give but because it is what she does; she'll give you things you don't need or want, things no kind being would bestow upon you. She gives you flesh, birthmarks, milk, venom.
She is your body; the things your body does and is in spite of your best intentions. She is there, and cannot be unmade.
Her opposite is the Moon. If you can experience her stability, her allness and everythingness, at the same time as the Moon's madness, nothing, nowhere, then you've found the middle. It occurs to me as I write this that one thing they have in common is the bestial.
Her elder relation is the Hanged Man, who dives within the earth, but does not fall.
Images of the Empress
Demeter, the Empress of the Mythic Tarot. This one's all corn goddess, without the stars-and-sky that most Empresses wear atop their heads. The artist has said she intended this Demeter to appear pregnant.
Creativity - the Osho Zen Empress. This one endears itself to me by having flowers, rainbows and a moon in it.
Amano's Empress - opulent and monstrous.
The Roots Of Asia Empress. Fact; it wasn't til I'd had this deck for months, if not years, that I noticed the titties on this one. I was too caught by the image of the world-woman with the tigers in her arms.