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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

In his book The Pictorial Key to Tarot, Arthur Edward Waite says that The Empress is:

“A stately figure, seated, having rich vestments and royal aspect, as of a daughter of heaven and earth. Her diadem is of twelve stars, gathered in a cluster. The symbol of Venus is on the shield which rests near her. A field of corn is ripening in front of her, and beyond there is a fall of water. The scepter which she bears is surmounted by the globe of this world. She 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.”

UW Smaller7
Universal Waite Tarot
©U.S. Games Systems

Both the High Priestess and Empress wear crowns. Paul Foster Case asserts that is no fundamental difference between the two, “but the High Priestess symbolizes the virgin state of the cosmic subconsciousness, as it is in itself, whereas the Empress typifies the productive, generating activities of the same subconsciousness, after it has been impregnated by seed-ideas originating at the self-conscious level represented by The Magician.” (The Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages).

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