The Empress


The path connecting Binah (Understanding) and Chokmah (Wisdom) is associated with the Empress Tarot card. The image on the card is of a woman crowned with 12 stars. This card is often associated with Mother Nature due to all of the growth and life visible on the card, and also with love and womanhood. The female symbol – which is also the symbol of Venus (the goddess of love) – is clearly visible on the heart, and is displayed on a pattern behind the pillow. God is love (1 John 4:7-8) and His power is clearly manifested in nature (Romans 1:19-20). The woman is in the wilderness, and her foundation is on the rock (Luke 6:48).

There is a river in the background that brings to mind the River of Life, and the one tree that differs from the rest may represent the Tree of Life. All the symbolism together can be interpreted as a Heavenly version of the Garden of Eden. Since this card is on the path connecting Wisdom and Understand, the woman can easily be associated with the Woman Wisdom in the Book of Proverbs, and the crown of twelve stars, the pomegranates, and all of the other examples of life suggest fertility and motherhood.

Revelation 12:1-9 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

A great deal of the symbolism on the Empress Tarot card is connected to the woman with a crown of twelve stars in the Book of Revelations – although the card is not based solely on that symbolism. The woman in Revelations wears a crown of twelve stars, but the woman on the Empress Tarot card is not clothed with the sun; nor does she have the moon at her feet. However, the woman on the High Priestess Tarot card does have the moon at her feet. Behind the High Priestess [on the Tarot card] is the veil to the Holiest of Holies, and that veil has the same pomegranate pattern that the Empress has on her gown. Pomegranates were on the robes of the priests in the Old Testament (Exodus Chapters 28, 39) and on the Temple (1 Kings 7:20-21). These two cards are related, and the Empress card is the next card in the Major Arcana of a Tarot deck. Depending on which way you are traveling on the Qabalah, the cards provide an evolution of the other.

Climbing the Qabalah from Malkuth, you first encounter the High Priestess Card representing the Bride and the Church; the Empress Card will be crossed as you go behind the veil and enter Heaven – in that case the Empress Card would represent the Heavenly Garden of Eden. Traveling down the Qabalah from Kether, the Empress Card is the first path crossing your path (though the High Priestess Card is still the path that runs vertically) and in that case the Empress can represent the mother with a crown of twelve stars who gives birth to the messiah and therefore the church.

The woman in the Book of Revelations is a metaphoric representation of the birth of Christ on earth, and portrays a behind the scenes war taking place in the Heavenly realms. The woman in Revelations gives birth to a child, who will rule the world (Revelations 2:27) with an iron scepter (such as the one the Empress is holding). After giving birth, the woman was protected by God and moved to a wilderness (such as depicted on the card).

Revelations 12:13- When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.

After the devil was thrown down to the earth he attempted to pursue the woman, but she was protected by God. The devil used a river to try to attack the woman, but God diverted the water into the ground; where it could not harm the woman (as depicted on the Empress Tarot card by the river and waterfall). When the Devil realized that he could not harm the woman, he went after the remnant of her offspring, which is the church (Christians).

Luke 1:26-33 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

The Virgin Mary is the earthly representation of the woman in the Book of Revelations. When Jesus was born there wasn’t actually a red dragon waiting to devour Him at the moment of His birth, but King Herod was seeking to kill the child as soon as it was born (Matthew 2:13). To escape from King Herod, God had an angel warn Joseph and Mary and they fled into Egypt until it was safe (similar to how the woman in Revelations flees to the wilderness).

The Paths connecting Tiphareth and Kether, Binah and Chokmah, and Geburah and Chesed are all symbolized by powerful women. Mothers, Brides, and Single Women each have specific roles and represent different phases of life. Mothers raise their children and instruct them in wisdom. Proverbs Chapter 31 provides examples of both quality mothers and ideal wives, but the motherhood aspect of women is particularly relevant to the atonement on sins and the forgiveness of mankind.

Genesis 3:15-16 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Enmity has existed between the offspring of women and the offspring of the serpent ever since the Garden of Eden. Because of Eve’s sin, women were cursed with painful childbirths. The curse was a result of Eve’s interaction with the serpent. It is fitting that it is though a woman giving birth (Luke 1:26-33, Revelations 12:1-9) that the serpent would finally be defeated. If Jesus is considered the ‘Last Adam’ because He made atonement for the first Adam’s sin (1 Corinthians Chapter 15), then Mary is the ‘Last Eve’ because through giving birth to Jesus the serpent will finally be defeated (Revelations Chapter 20).

Women possess great strength and influence over men, and are associated with wisdom and understanding (the two concepts this path of the Qabalah links together) in the Book of Proverbs.

Proverbs 8:1-9 Doth not wisdom cry? And understanding put forth her voice? She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing forward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.

Proverbs 8:12-17 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge and discretion. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogance, and the evil way, and the forward mouth, do I hate. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

The Bible teaches that women are to live in subjection to man (1 Timothy 2:11); as part of the curse of Original Sin (Genesis 3:16, 1 Timothy 2:14), but that does not negate the fact that women are capable of great wisdom and can assert profound influence over men (1 Esdras 4:13-27).

Deuteronomy 4:5-7 See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him?

Following God’s commandments demonstrates both wisdom and understanding. Abiding in God’s commandments brings glory to God.

Job 28:27-28 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it; he confirmed it and tested it. And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.”

Psalm 111:9-10 He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever—holy and awesome is his name. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.

Proverbs 9:9-11 Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.

Fearing (honoring) God is wisdom, and shunning evil and following God’s commandments is understanding.

Proverbs 3:20-22 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew. My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.

Proverbs 4:4-6 Then he taught me, and he said to me, “Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.

Good parents instruct their children in wisdom and assist them in understanding the world so they can live will prudence and discernment. Wisdom is personified in the above verses as a woman who will love, protect, and watch over you. The Empress Tarot card contains these concepts because it is the path between wisdom and understanding, and the heart, life, and seclusion signify love, life, and security. Though women are personified in the Book of Proverbs and in the Qabalah, it is important to remember that these traits ultimately come from God.

Ephesians 1:7-9 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,

Colossians 1:9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives