“While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God’s creation.” Maya Angelou
At this time of year, one cannot deny the outrageous beauty of the natural world. Ostara, in heralding the first day of Spring, is the promise of Imbolc realized. Named after the Germanic Goddess of the Dawn, Ostara brings the season of fertility and renewal. In the tarot, the qualities of Ostara are found in the Empress.
Enthroned in a wheat field, next to a waterfall, with the suggestion of pregnancy, our Empress is luxurious and plentiful. The pomegranates on her robe symbolize conjugal love, and the sheaf of corn, fertility. In her hand she holds a sceptre, raised higher than that of the Emperor. Nature is incomparable in her generosity, but not lawless. It would be a grave mistake to underestimate the authority of that which gives life.
The twelve stars in her crown represent the twelve signs of the zodiac, the twelve months of the year and the twelve hours of day and night. She is the universe complete, from the great majesty of the cosmos down to the minutiae of the every day. The heart shaped shield at her feet bears the astrological glyph of Venus, ruler of Taurus, the sign of beauty, love and union. She is the relationship aspect of all things; growth and season in motion.
In Greek mythology, the ideal of Mother Nature, Demeter, is the benevolent protector of the young and defenceless, and patron of the bounty of earth. When her daughter Persephone was abducted and dragged to the underworld by Hades, she became distraught with a grief so profound that she forsook all her duties as Earth Goddess. Flowers no longer bloomed, and harvests failed. All creatures were thrown into darkness. Seeing the severity of Demeter’s sorrow, the great diplomat Hermes brokered a bargain between her and Hades. Persephone would be restored to her for half the year and descend the other half to the underworld. Mother nature in mourning is barren, and when she rejoices all the world profits of her fruit.
The Empress is the earthly mother to The Fool, but more than that she is divine cycle. Cycles beget contrast, and contrast inspires gratitude. Birth and death, union and separation, grief and rejoicing; the experience of each made acute by comparison. The Empress is climactic abundance, leaping forth from the ghost lands of unrealised potential. She heralds love, marriage, motherhood, and creation; life manifest, in its most glorious crescendo, and yet unspoiled by awaiting winters of discontent.