Rebirth Replaces the Empress
Key Phrase: The Female energies. The female’s passive role. The power of archetypes.
Symbolism: A female sitting on a soft throne in a Garden representing physical creation. She is all that is natural, wholesome, and fecund. There is authority here but as Masons will point out, it is passive influence only. Active authority and decision making power remains in the hands of the man.
Narrative: In the old energy, this archetype is primarily used to reinforce female gender stereotypes (i.e., passivity, association with nature, reproduction, love, etc.) which can be seen inscribed throughout the tarot corpus. As Papus 1 notes “The sceptre is held in the left hand to indicate the passive influence, which Nature, Venus-Urania, or the woman exercises in the generation of beings.” Waite notes that this is the “inferior Garden of Eden, the Earthly Paradise.” She is “the fruitful mother of thousands…universal fecundity” 2. She is “mother nature herself” 3 Bridget Biddy provides the following classic old energy description.
The Empress is a beautiful, full-figured woman with blonde hair and a peaceful aura about her. On her head, she wears a crown of twelve stars, showing her connection with the mystical realm and the cycles of the natural world (the twelve months of the year and the twelve planets). Her robe is patterned with pomegranates, symbolic of fertility, and sits upon a luxurious array of cushions and flowing red velvet. One cushion features the symbol of Venus, the planet of love, creativity, fertility, beauty and grace – the essence of the Empress.
A beautiful, lush forest and winding stream surround the Empress, signifying her connection with Mother Earth and life itself. She draws her sense of peace from the trees and the water and is rejuvenated by the energy of nature. In the foreground, golden wheat springs from the soil, reflecting abundance from a recent harvest.4
Rachel Pollack suggests she represents “motherhood, love, gentleness. At the same time she signifies sexuality, emotion and the female as mistress. Both motherhood and sex derive from feelings that are non-intellectual and basic to life. Passions rather than ideas. The High Priestess represented the mental side of the female archetype; her deep intuitive understanding. The Empress is pure emotion.” 5
Ralph Metzner echoes the sexist sentiment. “Where Isis is the Cosmic Mother, associated with the moon and with divine secrets, this is De meter, the Earth Mother, symbolizing the nourishing fruitfulness and thousand delights of earth. She is all-loving, radiant, universal female ness. In the Aquarian deck she becomes the Feeler, who stands with anus stretched out to embrace, her golden hair encircling naked breasts. She is called ‘prime mover,’ and it is indeed emotions that stimulate us to movement and activity. The Sign of Cancer, a watery, emotional, maternal sign, is over her head linking her back again to the moon goddess, sea mother.”6
The empress archetype is also used to reinforce hierarchy and authority, through the pervasive use of symbols of hierarchy and privilege.
Key Phrase: Creation. The rebirth of Self. Prosperity and abundance for all.
Symbolism: Earth giving birth: fecundity; a nurturing space. All of creation embraced and supported. Water, symbolizing Consciousness; the fountain of creation, life, and growth. Life grows freely when water/Consciousness is present. The planet upon which we live symbolizes the support of our creation. Without Gaia, there is no life. Gaia works with the energy from the Sun to create a biosphere capable of supporting life. Manifestation and creation spring forth.
Narrative: This archetype represents creation, birth, rebirth, and the nurturing and supportive environments that provide appropriate spaces for growth. This is ongoing physical birth and physical creation which is the consequence of the balanced union of Force and Formation. This is also the birth of a new body and the incarnation of a new soul. This is also spiritual, emotional, or psychological rebirth required because of the damage and disconnection caused by Toxic Socialization. Our psychological rebirth arises from alignment, initiation, emancipation, passage, and connection.
At the highest and most aligned levels, this archetype represents physical creation, the ongoing evolution of The Body, your physical unit, this planet, and all life on it. This the the manifestation of the emanation of Consciousness, filtered through archetypes in the individual, collective, and Divine mind/Fabric of Consciousness. This is Kether’s initial and ongoing realization in Malkuth, and the divine design, preparation, and support that brings us all home. At the highest and most aligned levels, birth is not an event, it is a process of evolutionary becoming.
At mundane levels, this archetype represents birth or rebirth of an idea into reality. This is the fecund product of the union of Force and Formation.
This archetype also represents right environments and authentic societal/social networks (institutions, parents, family, friends, professional networks, etc.) that enable and support new and ongoing evolution, birth, rebirth, and creation.
In the new energy, this archetype points to emanation of creation. This archetype also points to the importance of environment, specifically safe, healthy, and nurturing spaces filled with nurturing prosperity and abundance that is the generative output and birthright of all living things. In the new energy, this archetype also points to Gaia who provides the life support system upon which we all depend.
Sadly, our eyes are blinded by indoctrination and we run roughshod over our sacred home, harming ourselves and all life in the process. Our blind, greedy offences upon Gaia are the height of human arrogance, the pinnacle of human greed, and the ultimate in human confusion. Be aware, ongoing destruction of Gaia is a cause of debacle and a potential source of our undoing. Without a fully functioning planetary system, there is no life. Thus, in the new energies, we under- stand and acknowledge the intelligence, power, and glory of Gaia and her critical support role. Without Gaia, we have nothing. Without Gaia, we can be nothing. We need to change our attitudes and behaviours and instead of destroying and under mining, we must learn to participate and assist in creation.
Connecting with the New Energy
The old energy archetype enforces gender stereotypes which, like all old energy archetypes, often lead to sickness, violence, oppression, diminishment, and death. The new energy archetype rejects gender stereotypes and instead focuses our attention on a great cosmological truth, hidden by our slave masters, which is that force + formation births creation. This is not force or formation applied out of balance. This is not force and formation separated by primitive and erroneous ideas of gender. This is not women “in the home” and men with all the power. This is force and formation used by all to create create loving and nurturing environments where creation can flourish and where the body and mind can come alive.
As you work to make the shift, consider the archetypal image. Gaia is presented as the loving and nurturing platform for our birth and rebirth. Gaia provides a beautiful environment upon which we can grow to our full potential. This is the example you should follow. This is the hero you should model. Male or female, father or mother, high or low, you must learn to do the same. Immediately begin to create loving and supportive environments where the people around you can heal, blossom, grow, and live life to their true and fullest potential. Start in the home by ending violence of all forms. Create loving and nurturing spaces. Allow full human potential to freely blossom. The rest will take care of itself.
It is critically important that we reject old energy ideas and begin to shift our environments immediately. Do not hang on to bitterness and hatred because of toxicities that arise from your past. Do not blame the mother or the father, or anybody for that matter, for imposition of The System. We do to our children what our parents did to us. Our parents did to us what was done to them when they were children. The violence and toxicity go back generations and there is no doorstep on which we may rationally lay blame. The only way forward is to forgive and let go so that new environments and a new world can be created.
Note however, forgiving and moving on does not mean enabling (or re-enabling) toxicity or exposing ourselves to abuse. It does not mean allowing the old energies to penetrate and degrade. It means releasing anger and hatred, and then making the changes that you need in your environments so that you and those in your care can heal, awaken, activate, and connect.
Understand, earth, our environments, our homes, our workplaces, etc., are not supposed to be places of violence, domination, exploitation and abuse. They are supposed to be places of love, laughter, Consciousness, and nurturing light. Our spaces are not supposed to be paradise for the privileged few and hellish prisons for the exploited masses, they are supposed to be places for all the myriad children of Earth to birth Consciousness, explore, develop, and create. To realize full human potential we have to create environments where we can realize our full emotional, psychological, and genetic potential. We can only do that when we all work on the World together, as equals. Therefore…
Reject old energy archetypes that undermine (or assign to a single gender) the love, protection, and the supports required for human development and connection.
Men, watch out for anything that discourages the display of love and compassion, or that blocks you from playing a loving and nurturing role. Beware when people tell you that “big boys do not cry,” or that you should “toughen up.” Men have the same love and deep light that women do, and allowing this expression is a step towards creating a world where you can become a nurturing and supportive caregiver. Male or female,we need to embrace compassion and empathy, and we need to create environments that uplift life, not destroy it.
Women and men, watch out for gender stereotypes and ideas that suggest that “men are like this” and “women are like that.” Gender is a spectrum and you need to be who you are.
Reject ideas that encourage violence in the name of love and protection (i.e. “spare the rod and spoil the child” ideas). Science is clear on the issue; violence and neglect do nothing but harm. When you are violent with people (especially children), when you assault them in any way, be it physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual, you damage them, cause negative changes in their body’s systems, and undermine their ability to connect. Therefore, reject all ideas and archetypes that justify and excuse violence and abuse. It is never OK to harm another, no matter what they have done.
Do not lay yourself out as a doormat, but learn to be empathic and supportive. Erase hostile and negative places. Create calm and nurturing spaces where people can heal, grow, empower, and connect.
To move forward into the new energies, put aside concerns for domination and oppression and embrace unity, equality, creativity, and free expression of Consciousness. To move forward into the new energies, put aside violence and abuse and embrace compassionate, loving concern and support for all planetary life. To move forward into the new energies, embrace unconditional love and support for all living beings.
Be sure to understand this: healing and connection are only to be found in environments of loving, caring, and acceptance.
Child, this card represents the mother.
This card represents the home.
This is the purview of the female.
This is the child in her womb.
To females the message is clear,
Be passive, be agreeable, express cheer.
Do not claim more than ’tis your right to bear,
Just accept, even though it’s not fair.
Chela, this card represents the female
This card represents the throne.
This is the power of Formation.
This is the child in the womb.
To females the message is clear,
Be passive, be agreeable, express cheer.
To the rulers the message ’tis not fair.
Using archetypes gives you power to spare.
Now listen, dear one, and desist,
From this putrid excuse for a shift.
It’s not men at the front of the line.
It’s not men who shall lead all in time.
And the female does not simply hiss,
Or keep us from achieving our bliss.
She is powerful in her own right,
And she shines just as bloody well bright.
So desist from this stinking foul game,
Where you spit, hit, defile, and defame.
And remember, each day’s a rebirth,
To this planet, your body, this earth.
Here as flower please open to this.
Embrace love, release hate, don’t dismiss,
Create a kind world, Shangri -la,
With increasingly glorious awe.
Mantic Poem Summary
The Book of Slavery poetry reflects the gender stereotypes old energy commentators attach to this archetype as well as the stipulation that these stereotypical representations are somehow natural, God given, and divine.
The Book of Power poetry points to a basic “magical” truth normally kept obscured from the masses, which is that archetypes are incredibly powerful mechanisms for controlling physical reality.6 As Wirth notes, “This sovereign, dazzling with light represents ‘Creative Intelligence’, the mother of form, pictures, and ideas.”7 As Jung notes, archetypes underlie and “create myths, religion, and philosophies that influence and characterize whole nations and epochs of history.”8
The Book of Keys suggests that in heal and connect we need to reject exclusionary, dominating, gender-oppressive energies that thwart human needs and development in the name of greed, hatred, or plain misconception. Instead, male or female, we need to embrace compassion and empathy, and we need to create environments that nurture and uplift life, not destroy it. This is the message, sent in a direct fashion, by the poetry in the Book of Keys.
To move forward, start creating a kind and nurturing world in the place that counts the most, and probably the only place you can do it at first with your family or (if not possible) a close group of friends willing to work towards a non-toxic future. Do not lay yourself out as a doormat, but learn to be empathic and supportive. Erase hostile and negative places. Create calm and nurturing spaces where people can heal, grow, empower, and connect.
The Book of Keys section for this entry contains an admonishment to respect the mother, respect the female, respect Gaia, and respect all life, no matter what. If you want to stop the hurtle towards debacle, it is important you shift in this direction. We all need to learn to respect Gaia as the nurturing birthplace of all, and we all need to follow this archetypal lead. The first step towards that is learning to properly honour and respect the loving, compassionate, formative, nurturing, caring, creative “female” force in all of us.