Futhark Village

Tarot for Rune Lovers – The Empress

The Empress
Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

The Empress

The Empress lines up very well with the meaning of the Rune ᛒ (Berkano). It is the card of motherhood, nurturing, pregnancy, and women’s mysteries. It is also the card of women’s authority, which is archetypically (though frequently not in reality) very different from men’s authority. In many mythologies, a queen will let the king think that he rules, but will use trickery and manipulation to achieve her ends.

The Fool’s Journey

Odin’s Empress is Frigg, sometimes translated as Frigga. She is the mother of at least three of his children, as well as his rival in fostering Agnar and Geirrod. The place where Frigg is the most motherly is in stories about Baldur. She goes around the universe to protect her son from every possible danger. In the end, it is all for naught, and Baldur dies. Odin hugs his son and whispers something in his ear before he is sent to Hel until the coming of Ragnarok. 

The Empress also points to something Loki brings up in the Lokasenna: Odin is a master of both masculine magic (Galdr) and feminine magic (Seithr). Despite the misinterpretation of the Sagas and Eddas to say that a man who is in touch with his feminine side is nithing, it is quite clear to me that many Saga writers were criticizing the culture which focused so heavily on masculinity. Njal is an excellent example of one of the best Saga authors lionizing a man who is an excellent balance of masculine and feminine. If it is good enough for Odin, it should be good enough for modern Asatru practitioners. 

The Empress
Sensual Tarot, Everyday Tarot, Darkwood Tarot

Many Tarot decks show The Empress as pregnant. The greatest power a human being has is the power to create life in this way, and half of the human race (including me) is denied this power. The Empress demonstrates the power of her magick in these cards, though the Sensual Tarot, on the left, also points out the hardships associated with it. 

The Empress
Aquarian Tarot, Tarot of the Cat People, Lord of the Rings Tarot

Some decks prefer to focus on the power of The Empress. They show queens with scepters and shields marked with the sign of Venus. She is frequently enthroned, and usually looking bored. This is a fiction, of course. It is her duty to look like she is bored, and has little to do with the running of things, so that she can more effectively run things from behind the larger throne of The Emperor.