Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children.
Our last card, we were at number two: The High Priestess. The mysterious, secret side of the Divine Feminine. Now we are at number three, The Empress. The mother. With two, you just have a couple. With three, you have a family. In geometry, three points define a plane: the material world, space. Three is the birthing of true wisdom, it creates a very stable and pleasant shape.
There is something special about the mother archetype.
I once knew a girl who I was willing to give my heart to. But deception and drama were involved and I never saw her again. Google being google, about a year or two later, I found instagram pics of her and her new baby. Whatever remaining malice I had toward her fell away. It’s as if her path of love was now complete. I was just an unnecessary detour. (If you’re reading this, congratulations.)
The role of mother is truly sacred. Tibetan Buddhist Monks wouldn’t dare hurt a worm because it might have been their mother in another life. The Virgin Mary is blessed amongst ALL women and has been venerated (or worshipped, if you will) among Catholics. As much as I’d like to be an independent grown-up, it’s nice to visit the parents and have mom cook me something. And since we’re talking about my mother, she has sort of become a matriarchal figure, an Empress in her own right, to her family and clan back in the Philippines. In fact, she founded a library in her hometown, giving knowledge and fun to the local children.
This sort of abundance and giving is what mothers do. They give their bodies and about nine months so you can be born. They give their time and energy and money for you. They care. They worry. They love.
So does the more abstract mothers, Mother Earth and Mother Nature, they give. They give their resources because we’re part of her. And to be a bit of an environmentalist, maybe we should clean up after ourselves like Mom raised us to.
When I have an idea, I’m like a pregnant woman. I just have to deliver.
Giving birth is a creative act. A person is created. My sister just had a baby and this is perhaps the most delightful person I’ve ever met. (I’m sure my own yet-to-be children will be more delightful.) And you just want to be with them. You want them to turn out right. You want them to be President of the United States, or Valedictorian, or Head Quarterback. As George Lucas gave birth to Star Wars, he nurtured it with everything he valued. You can see his love for Joseph Campbell’s work, old Flash Gordon serials he grew up with and World War II dogfights. He gave birth to it with all of his awe and wonder of childhood. He gave that part of himself, that very special part of himself, an entire generation and generations to come, understood. He gave birth to a mythology, a child made up of imagination. He nurtured it. He re-wrote it. He got concept artists to draw and develop it in this sort of primordial womb of developmental creativity. And when it was time to push, it was time to push. A long and painful birth of filming in Tunisia and going over budget.
Leia, do you remember your mother? Your real mother?
— Luke Skywalker
So, here we have Queen Amidala, sitting on her throne. She isn’t wearing her more iconic fanciful headdress. But the last dress we see her as Queen. That is to say, the most developed and mature version of Padme’s role as the Queen. (Also, Bernice Gordon did it first and I wish she would continue with her Star Wars Tarot deck. I mean, just to go on a tangent here, all the other Star Wars Tarot fanart I’ve seen out there are either too pretty/distracting to use for a reading or are lacking in skill and symbolism. Gordon’s Tarot deck is beautiful and minimalist, but has just enough information to be useful. Anyway…)
She is pregnant with Luke and Leia. Now, we all know she doesn’t get pregnant until she retires her role as Queen, but this is more about iconography and symbolism than retelling the Star Wars Saga pictorially. She loves them so much, that she gave her life for her children. Among the Aztecs, fallen warriors are given a special place in heaven. Women who died in childbirth go there to.
In the background, we see the abundant, natural setting of Naboo. This version of nature is different from, say, The Forest Moon of Endor. Endor is wild, where Naboo is beautiful. Endor is dangerous, where Naboo is safe. Its this kind of Mother Earth where crops grow, as opposed to the type of Mother Nature where you have to forage and hunt. We see abundant amber waves of grain at our Empress’s feet, further strengthening this theme. And we see a waterfall in the background, related to emotion.
Leaning to the side of the throne is the emblem of Naboo. This deck, mainly being a Rider-Waite Clone, I felt like something needed to be in that spot. In the Rider-Waite Empress, we see a heart with the symbol of Venus. Venus, as you know signifies love an relationships. Naboo, being the place where Anakin and Padme fell in love, it seemed appropriate. Also, the shape of the emblem reminds me of the medical diagram of a Uterus.
On the Khabbalistic Tree of Life, The Empress is associated with the path between Chokmah, or Wisdom, and Binah, or Understanding. She’s sort of that path between being a sparkle in your father’s eye, to being a kick from inside mom’s belly. Thought on the path to Form. An Idea on the path to being a full fledged pitch to some rich studio executives.
I feel like the Empress is the first step in the practical, material world. That is to say, a Fools are fumbling and free, Magicians can be idealistic weirdos, and High Priestesses held up on a pedestal. The Empress, however is the one that gave birth to you, made sure you had clean underwear, and saved up for your college tuition. She also loves you unconditionally, unlike that fever-pitched Tinder kind of love. It is so magical and utterly mundane. Its something easily taken for granted: to be a mom and to have a mom. But as much as your mom might nag you about settling down or whatever psychological issues you have with her, she was the very first person you loved.
…Even if she died giving birth to you as your estranged cyborg father mourned for her in the most unintentionally humorous way.
May the Force be with you.
More resources on the Empress: