The Empress

The Empress: The Rowan on Rannoch Moor

"Do you weant to talk to the man in charge
- or the woman who knows what's going on?"

In modern times in a patriarchal world, the Empress is the power behind the throne: Eva Peron, and less positively, Emelda Marcos, Elena Cauchescau. The Emperor has the muscle but the Empress holds the reins.

However, she is a powerful, dynamic and positive figure in her own right: the earth mother, often called "the morning star", associating her with the goddess Venus. She represents harmony and synthesis. Also, while the High Priestess is associated with virginity, the Empress represents childbirth, maternal productivity, caring and abundance. As well as her obvious association with love she also represents fruitfulness and the harvest. Obviously she is associated with Venus and so the symbol appears at top left on the card The Hebrew Gimel, third letter of the Hebrew alefbet, similar in name to the Greek Gamma and meaning three, is at top right.

She is material and domestic comfort. The word "comfort" is from the Latin "com fort" meaning with strength. In a materialistic world we tend to think that comfort comes from outside and especially with what you can buy with your credit card, which then gets maxed out and you don't feel comfortable at all. Real comfort comes from inner strength.

She is a maternal card and therefore relates to motherhood, nurturing and especially reassurance and protection. That is why I chose the rowan tree (also known as the mountain ash or quickbeam) to represent her. In Norse mythology the first woman sprang from the rowan.

The Druidic priests held their ceremonies in oak groves, as the oak was considered to be the "male" tree. Biologically, of course, there are male and female oak trees otherwise there wouldn't be any little acorns from which great oaks could grow. However, the tree was considered to represent the male principle. Similarly the priestesses used groves of rowan or willow, the "female" trees.

The rowan is a small tree and so it was considered "feminine". The rowan was also the tree of protection so it seemed natural to associate the rowan with the Empress. in Ireland the goddess Brighid is often represented by the rowan, while in Britain Brigantia was invoked under the sign of the rowan. Both Brighid and Brigantia were said to possess arrows made of rowan, which could catch fire when necessary.

I've put the willow, the other tree favoured by Druidic priestesses, in the hands of the High Priestess.

To read our article on the Rowan, CLICK HERE

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