Deck Location: Major Arcana
Attributes: Unconditional love, healing, nurturing, the Divine Feminine
Writer’s block recently gave way to deep, powerful, waves of grief. I couldn’t write about The Empress. The words just wouldn’t come. I realized this evening that it’s because of what the Empress embodies: The Mother. She is the loving source from which we are all born and whom we return to in this life, and the next.
My Mother slashed me, slayed me, chewed me up and spit me out again. She is the Dragon with which I fear and the Angel with whom I can’t live without. A product of multi-generational trauma, my mother was going to do things differently. It worked for a while, but I was a bandaid cast carelessly on a gaping abyss of agony. Her alcoholism and addiction caught up with her and she took me and my brother along for the ride.
My childhood was peppered with infidelity, violence, abuse, and most painfully, neglect. I was left at church during a snowstorm once. I walked home five miles in the bitter cold and whiteout conditions as I was too ashamed to tell the nuns what had happened. I came home to find my mother passed out on the living room floor…half naked. I was twelve.
When my mom was sober and serene, time with her was like buttered toast on a bright sunny day. I couldn’t completely ease into the moment as I knew the storm was just around the corner, but in that space endless laughter filled the room. Mom’s brilliant humor and perfect delivery always had us in stitches. I wish that once, just once, she was able to catch a glimpse of herself from the outside so she could see what we all see. She could light up a room not only with her beauty but her wit. Unfortunately self-hatred runs the ship of her soul and creates a path of endless self-destruction. She lives where the lights are dim and the faucet leaks. Noises are kept at a bare minimum as the headaches from the hangovers are excruciating. Bills stack up and are shoved in drawers. Wine bottles are carelessly thrown in closets and under sinks.
Sober for nine years, I’ve worked hard on my recovery from alcoholism. As I moved into adulthood I was fated to repeat the same mistakes of generations past, but alas I took a new path. A part of me was not only breaking up with my bff alcohol, but my mom. I never our paths may never cross again. When I started my recovery journey I was told I needed to choose a Higher Power to help guide me and protect me. He definitely didn’t show up for me in church that day, but she soon showed herself to me. I found her on the beautiful 78 cards that were laid before me when I discovered tarot. I attribute the tarot, in many ways, to saving my life.
The Empress is my mother, just as she is the babe who bore your fruit. She lives within us all. She teaches us how to love one another unconditionally. The Empress is nurturing, patient and kind. She helps with homework, hugs you when you’ve had a bad day and never yells at you for messing up. She loves you with every fiber of the universe. I find her love overwhelming at times…my lil traumatized system has a hard time letting it in.
If the Empress has shown up for you in a reading, know your angels are near. They often show up as a fuzzy kitten, a butterfly in your path, a hummingbird or more astonishingly as an eagle. Mine like to come to me as Blue Jays and Robins. I often see the beetle, the scarab, cross my path. The ultimate protector, it’s the reason I chose it as my emblem. Know you are safe, you are loved and most importantly, you are home.
Some questions to ask yourself when The Empress graces you with her presence:
- What is one of your favorite visual memories as a child? How could you bring that into your life today?
- When was the last time you gave yourself a hug? I’ll wait. Go try it!
- How could you show up in a motherly, nurturing way for a loved one today? Perhaps you need to offer that compassion to yourself?
- What does motherhood signify for you? Has some shadow work been uncovered?
- How can you embody power, grace, compassion and love all at the same time? They tell us it can’t be done. That’s a lie.
If you or someone you know struggles with the remnants of a dysfunctional family, I highly recommend Adult Children of Alcoholics. And a really, really, really good therapist. Love you!