The Empress and the Ivy

The Empress

The other day, my friend Carole and I pulled into a parking space near one of our favorite restaurants, Joy Meadow. When we got out of the car, Carole pointed to a hardy bamboo bush infested with ivy and said, “Look at that! The bamboo and the ivy are at war!”

I think of Carole, who always notices the plant and animal life around her, as The Empress—though I know she will reject that label. She sees in The Empress ivy growing out of control, a closet or a garage that needs cleaning out. Carole’s Empress makes herself sick on chocolate—she is a symbol of excess.

My Empress buys peanuts for the squirrels and the blue jays. She finds a cement bench near a waterfall and brings cushions and pillows to make the visit more comfortable. My Empress knows how to take care of herself when she needs a little pampering and therefore has energy to nurture others as well. She is a symbol of vibrancy.

In reality, The Empress is all of these things. She represents our ability to nurture and appreciate nature as well as our tendancy to overindulge, to be effusive, or to let things get out of hand. Like all of us, she is multifaceted.

* * *

Exercises for Reflection:

  • Consider the excess in your life. What needs to be pruned? Cleared out? Hauled away? What would you be better off without? Find a card in your deck that symbolizes the excess, or the clutter in your life, or that which is growing out of control. Find another card that shows how you would feel if you were more on top of it.
  • Find a card in your deck that represents how you nurture yourself.
  • Find a card in your deck that shows the way you feel when you nurture others.

* * *

Illustrations from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Copyright 1971 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Further reproduction prohibited. The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck is a registered trademark of U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

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