The Empress, the third trump in most traditional tarot decks, is a mother and a nurturer, a beautiful woman offering gifts and reflecting the essential values of femininity incarnated by the ancient Roman goddess Venus (the Greek Aphrodite): beauty, fertility and love.
In the Rider-Waite tarot deck, the Empress is a young, blonde woman, sitting on a throne, wearing a crown with twelve stars gathered in a cluster and holding a sceptre surmounted by a globe in her right hand. The throne is in the midst of a field of grain and beyond there is a fall of water. On the shield which rests near her, there is the symbol of goddess Venus.
When speaking about the divinatory meaning of the Empress, A. E. Waite offers, in his book „The Pictorial Key to the Tarot “, several possible meanings: „fruitfulness, action, initiative, length of days; the unknown, clandestine; also difficulty, doubt, ignorance“. The main spiritual significance of the Empress is „the inferior Garden of Eden, the Earthly Paradise, all that is symbolized by the visible house of man. She is not Regina coeli, but she is still refugium peccatorum, the fruitful mother of thousands. […] She is above all things universal fecundity and the outer sense of the Word “.
In literature, painting and cinema, there are many scenes and characters that more or less accurately illustrate the meaning of this Major Arcana. One of the most beautiful is Galadriel from the trilogy Lord of the Rings. J. R. R. Tolkien describes her as „the mightiest and fairest of all the Elves that remained in Middle-earth“ and „greatest of elven women“. She is the co-ruler of Lothlórien with her husband, Lord Celeborn, and is referred to variously as the Lady of Lórien, the Lady of the Galadhrim, the Lady of Light, or the Lady of the Golden Wood.
In Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit prequel trilogy, Galadriel is played by Cate Blanchett. In the movies, Galadriel displays an ability to communicate with others telepathically and to assume a radiant and terrifying appearance that resembles a drowned version of herself. She meets Frodo and the fellowship of the rings and offers specific magical elven gifts to each member of the fellowship: the Phial of Galadriel for Frodo, some Elven rope for Sam, silver belts for Merry and Pippin, A Galadhrim bow strung with elf hair and arrows for Legolas…
Video: Gifts of Galadriel