The Third Card of the Tarot:
The Empress



The Empress, card iii   



In this card, the horizontal line of the BENCH THE EMPRESS sits on, together with the shield, roughly outlines the form of the letter Daleth. You see it presents as far as it can do so and carries out other ideas; at the same time it represents the corner of the square. The ORANGE PILLOW behind her is also a square. Its sides are curved to represent vibratory motion, and it is decorated with little squares. Remember the instrument of building is the square, the carpenter's square or right angle with which he adjusts every piece of material to see that it is true. If one piece is not set straight, the subsequent pieces which depend on it become crooked also. This square which is indispensable to good building is your image. The perfection of your house, your body, depends on whether your image is good or not.

On the HEART-SHAPED SHIELD is the astrological symbol of Venus, the circle above the cross. The circle is colored GREEN, which is the color of Venus. What does the circle stand for in the signs of the Planets and Zodiac? The circle stands for the superconscious. The cross stands for the self-conscious and the crescent stands for the subconscious.

The GOLDEN SCEPTER she bears in her uplifted hand is a modification of the same symbol. There are two arms in the lower portion of the Scepter. The handle of the Scepter, which is the arm of the cross, swings the arm of the cross vertically from horizontal. This is so that it is parallel to the other vertical arm.

Then she has a CROWN on her head as insignia of her power. This Crown has 12 stars and they symbolize the 12 signs of the Zodiac. The 12 signs of the Zodiac symbolize, among other things, the 12 major states of consciousness, and extension of those 12 states. The Crown always means control. The Crown means that Venus, who carries out the image, has control of the 12 states of consciousness. Their correct functioning depends upon what image the self-conscious makes, whether it is a good or bad function. Through the stars runs a RED RIBBON. RED stands for the Mars vibration and for action. Venus makes active the images of the self-conscious and thus controls the 12 major states of consciousness.

The SPECK OF RED at her throat marks the Venus Center. That is to say, whether you control your Venus for good or bad, she controls you. You are her slave though she is yours. Is that a hard thought? How does she control them? By controlling the images that you make, whatever you set in motion has to work out in her. You are a slave to whatever you set in motion! You can set in motion what you please. In short, you are the slave of your past. The future is yours if you change your images. You are a slave to the past because you have made a body which controls you. The future is yours because you can change your body.


In any case, she controls the 12 major states of consciousness no matter what you have made her; however, the original control is with you.

At the base of her throat is a little BLOCK OF RED. That means the Venus Center has now become active. These cards depict the highest state, the highest objective of the type of consciousness to which they refer. This card refers to the Venus Center when it has become completely active. As a rule, the Venus Center is the last center in the body to become completely active, so you see it means very complete control of the body. The Venus Center is the source of the Creative Word. You develop this power in your own body where a word becomes creative, just as the Word of the Logos becomes creative.

Her Hair is ORANGE-YELLOW like THE FOOL's. This means radiant Solar Energy and the mental emanations of radiant Solar Energy. Wherever you see the "hair" in the Bible it means the same thing. Generally it means the same thing in your dreams—your mental vibration.

Like THE FOOL she also wears a WREATH OF GREEN LEAVES. This Wreath of GREEN leaves is the nearest thing we have to sunlight. This Wreath of GREEN leaves has both a psychic and a physical meaning. Leaves are transformed sunlight, sunlight nearest to its original state. Some people say that the leaves of vegetables should be our chief diet. The psychic allusion is to the effect that if you look forward with confident expectancy to the fulfillment of your desire you are just so much nearer its fulfillment. The confident expectancy is what does it. A leaf is a promise of harvest, flowers, or fruit. Just as THE FOOL's eyes are on an image, your eyes are on desire.

Around the neck of the EMPRESS is a NECKLACE OF PEARLS, which is traditionally ascribed to Wisdom. We have the expression pearls of thought. Wisdom and Understanding, in their Spiritual significance, are pretty near the same thing; one is looking back to your Source, the other is looking forward to your Source. You describe a circle. You are her and you look back to your Source; that is the memory of THE HIGH PRIESTESS. When you look forward to the place where you are going, that is THE EMPRESS. Spiritually they are the same thing. It is a difference of application. We descended into matter and we shall ascend out of it. Memory and Imagination are needed for Reason.

THE EMPRESS of this card is the woman spoken of in Revelation in the passage, which affects people's imagination so much, and yet, nobody knows what it means. "There appeared a great wonder in Heaven, a woman clothed with the Sun and Moon under her feet; and upon her head a crown of 12 stars, and being with child, travailing in birth." Venus is always with child travailing in birth. She is bringing forth, and is in the act of bringing forth, the image which has been implanted in her by the self-conscious. Now the highest image you can implant in the subconscious and bring forth is what the occultist calls your Solar Body, or the Christ-Child. This card pictures the methods by which the Christ-consciousness is formed in the individual.

Her gown is GRAY, which is the traditional color of Wisdom. The lower tone of Gray is the color of stone. In these cards Gray has two meanings; one is the mineral, which represents the physical meaning, and the other is the union of the personality with the Higher Self. THE FOOL's legs are the color of stone and his body would be the color of stone if the robe did not cover it. In this card they are present and it is all discolored. Stone color runs through the entire Tarot, but this is the first card in which you see it preeminently. In the Tarot, it generally means "union of the personality with the Higher Self. It is like Black, which has two significances.

Like most words in the Secret Teaching, "Stone" has the nature of a pun. The permanent union of the personality with the Higher Self is made possible by the fusing of the "sand" of the Pineal Gland into a crystal, which is symbolic of the Philosopher's Stone. The punning on the word goes much further back. In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for Stone is ABN (Aben), and its secret meaning is the union of the Father with the Son and the union of the Soul with the personality. The numerical value of ABN is 8, and the figure 8 is the numerical symbol of the four aspects of the self-conscious with the four aspects of the subconscious.

The whole purpose of Tarot is to teach how this equilibrium can be attained. The Tarot teaches how to obtain this equilibrium and how we may secure the union of the personality with the Higher Self, so that the two may function as one here on the physical plane. The Lord's prayer says" "Thy will be done on Earth (Body) as it is in Heaven (Higher Self)."


Now in this card the images are depicted by the GREEN TREES above the Waterfall and by her attitude. THE EMPRESS symbolizes it by holding up her Scepter in command. She commands the trillions of cells in the body to do her bidding. Her bidding is to make images, symbolized by those GREEN Trees, and to become the golden harvest below the Waterfall at her feet. If the images are good, the harvest is wheat, or YELLOW. If the images are bad, the harvest is also YELLOW, but is tares and not wheat. In any case you see the harvest is the product of the mind as symbolized by the color YELLOW.

The color of the background of a Tarot card always indicates the chief or instigating force that is back of it, the state of consciousness or the result which the card depicts.

The background you see is YELLOW like the harvest. YELLOW is the color of the MAGICIAN and the self-conscious. He is the one who plants the images in the subconscious which she brings forth into harvest. As a man images, so he becomes through her agency. As a man images, so is his body. As his body is, so is he. Therefore, it is up to you whether your harvest be wheat or tares. The work of the subconscious in harvesting the image is just the same in one case or the other. She performs, with exactness, all the necessary labor of bringing it into being, performing the operation.

The DESIGN on the Robe of THE EMPRESS, so plentifully displayed, is in the shape of the same Venus symbol that you see in the circle over the cross. The circle is the sign of the Zodiac and always means the self-conscious. The cross also means the sacrifice of the lower to the higher. The Venus symbol means that man brings the superconscious into his self-conscious in just the same proportion he sacrifices his lower to his higher. He brings the superconscious into his self-conscious in the same proportion that he sacrifices his intellect to his Higher Self.

This is the condition that you would expect from what you see in history. That is what has happened all along in evolution. The lower nature is sacrificed to the higher one in order to bring in the higher thing. You must use the lower as a stepping-stone and then discard the lower. In order to live together in groups, humans had to agree to abandon certain rights and privileges that they had exercised as individuals, and by which they grew. Now that they are growing up together they must abandon these.

Cards 0, 1, 2, 3 are to be understood in the Cosmic sense as well as in the personal sense. They describe not only our body of manifestation but the way God (the Logos) made His body of manifestation, which is the solar system. They also describe how you can set about making a better body for yourself to manifest in, and how you have made the one you have at present.

Let us look at that for a moment on the Cosmic side. In the Cosmic sense you have had the One Will and the Universal Substance—the duality in which the One Energy has to divide itself into two in order to objectify itself. When it is divided into two, the Will works upon the Substance to proceed. The Will works upon the Substance to produce forces, then forms. The Will depicts images and projects images. These ideas come down into the Sea of Substance of the Cosmic Mind-Stuff and, out of the union of the image devised in the Sea of Substance, are produced first force and then forms.

This process is pictured in the middle ground of this card, the WATERFALL IN THE WATERFALL, where the above meets the below. You have seen that the Will is called the superior and the Substance the Inferior, though both are equal. The word Superior translates into "Above" and the word Inferior translates into "Below." The WATERFALL occurs three times in Tarot Trumps, and it is always a sex symbol—sex union of the masculine and feminine principles; the masculine principle being the Superior, the Idea, the Will; and the feminine the Inferior, the Substance. Remember that both are equal, and you must have the meeting of these two, the union of these two, in order to get a product, to find the expression in a product. The products indicate in the Cosmic by the manifested solar system: all made out of ideas of God coming into the Substance of Nature.

Gimel and Daleth are two aspects of the same thing. Gimel is the Cosmic subconscious; Daleth is the Cosmic subconscious made active in bringing forth the image.

The Pituitary in you does not carry out your suggestions or your Torah (Law), herself. She merely passes them on to the Venus Center at the root of the tongue. It is the Venus who carries them out or passes them on further where they belong. When a man has reached a certain evolution, his outer or long-spoiled subconscious, the personal subconscious, and the Cosmic subconscious are at loggerheads. They are opposed to each other. It is the same meaning in mythology, where Venus and Diana are enemies. That is the reason for the Crown that THE HIGH PRIESTESS wears with the crescents facing away from each other. It is your business to turn these crescents around and make a perfect sphere of them, as in a crown. In this card, THE EMPRESS, are opposing crescents with the sphere in the middle. The business of self-education is to make these crescents harmonious instead of opposing. You have the same idea in the crescent at the foot of THE HIGH PRIESTESS. Her garment is flowing through that crescent. So the color is tinged, which shows the changing personal subconscious. You include the personal subconscious with the Cosmic subconscious in order to bring it into the Pituitary Gland.

When you take Daleth in her personal significance she is the subconscious. Beth means "mind," and we have wrongfully educated her in the processes we call growing up—the growing up of the race. We outgrow the animal nature we were born with by thinking and by coming under the influence of parents, education, law, or society. We had to come under the influence of these four whether we were strong or whether we were weak characters. The words strong and weak are used without any reference to what we call "moral considerations." The strong character is one who, for good or for evil, fructifies his own subconscious. The weak character is one who, by acting in an entirely neutral manner, allows the fructification to be done by something outside of his own self-conscious—by his appetites which are subconscious, by his passions which are subconscious, and by the influence of people's thoughts without having first made those thoughts his own. That is the difference between a strong and a weak character.

The masculine principle in us (the Mind) is the personal, objective, and conscious mind (the Intellect). It is voluntary and active, as distinct from the subconscious mind in us that follows the lead of the conscious, which is passive and involuntary. When you project your active mind (your Will) into your passive one, the passive mind (subconscious) begins to act and becomes very active indeed, but acts only on the image you have given her to work out. She initiates no action of her own; she is very active, but only with your affairs. She immediately begins to act then upon the image you plant in her.

The majority of persons employ their active mind very little. They are content to live in their own appetites, according to the thoughts or ideas of their generation, or of some masterful people in their immediate environment, people who want to manage. The phenomena of telepathic suggestions, hypnotism, mental healing, Christian Science and the like are merely examples of a masculine principle of one person being projected into the feminine principle of another person. The strong man or woman does not live upon the impressions made on their minds by others. They energize their own subconscious with their own mental images, whether they are strong or whether they are for good or evil. When people are strong they not only energize their own subconscious, but project as much as they can of their self-conscious, their masculine principle, onto those who they come in contact with.

It is very important that you understand this principle, this principle of "gender." You cannot understand the principle of mental or spiritual creation until you understand the principle of gender. Nothing can happen until the masculine fructifies the feminine, until the self-conscious fructifies the subconscious. That self-conscious may be of another person or it may be your Higher Self or it may be of a Master.

What happens is indicated by the Waterfall. The mental stage is stamped from the self-conscious on what it falls into. The fruit which springs up in the picture is wheat. It could be wheat or it could be tares as the case may be. It may be spurious and bad wheat, and that applies to the tares as well. This is the true meaning of the rather ambiguous and unfortunate phrase "as a man thinketh, so is he." That leaves room for interpretation. It ought to be "as a man images, so he becomes." YOU ARE WHAT YOUR CHERISHED AND EMOTIONAL IMAGES ARE. The thoughts that you most cherish so make your body. The meaning of THE EMPRESS is "She who sets the house in order." The meaning of THE EMPEROR is "He who sets the Mind in order."

Your house is your body. Venus, or Daleth, remolds your subconscious according to what you desire, and your image is what you desire. The image is nothing in the world but the emotional picture or the thought of a desire. Therefore, you see it depends upon your image whether your house is set in order for good or for evil. In either case she sets it in order and she brings out the product that you desire. The trouble with most of us is that such desires proceed directly from the subconscious without the medium of the self-conscious at all; that is to say, we desire what pleases our body.

The letter Daleth means "door." The physiological center she stands for is at the base of the tongue, the second relay station between the self-conscious (as expressed in your thinking brain cells in the front lobe of your brain) and the subconscious, which is emphasized by your body. That physiological center is the Pharyngeal Plexus. The Pharyngeal Plexus has a special influence upon the thymus and the thyroid gland functions. It has a special influence on the entire chemistry of your body.

It is taught that this plexus receives the patterns or images which your Mercury, your self-conscious, sends first to the Pituitary and then down the Venus Center. She does not carry out your suggestions, your "Tora," herself; she sends them down to the Venus Center to carry them out. So the subconscious of your body is represented by the Venus Center and not by the Pituitary. You see, she really is the Door to the lower part of the house. The brain has to use that door to send down messages to the lower part of the house or the rest of the body, which the brain uses. She is also the door coming up from the lower part of the body into the skull, and that lower part of the body, when it wants to send messages, has to send them through her.

There are two reasons why she is called Door. She is a door going down to the body and a door coming up. Now we see that the Pituitary Body, the Center, receives communications from the external world by telepathy. The Venus Center and the Moon Center receive those from the external world, but the Venus Center does not send them out. In this respect she might be called the "Door which opens only one way." Both the Moon Center and the Venus Center receive the telepathic messages from the outside, but the Venus Center only receives; she cannot send out.

Here are the important things: she receives according to the...


... (many pages continued in the new revised edition of The Rabbi's Tarot which you can purchase on our Web site.)


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