The Tarot Empress in the Whimsical and Fairytale Decks

In the Whimsical Tarot, the Empress is the Old Women in the Shoe. The card shows her sitting on the steps of her house, a baby in her lap. There are children playing beside her and looking out the windows. Flowers are blooming and everyone looks happy and content.

Af first glance, this seems like a good choice for the Empress, who I see as a warm and loving women in rich and abundant surroundings. However, consider the entire nursery rhyme:

There was on old woman
Who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children,
She didn’t know what to do.

She gave them some broth
Without any bread,
Then whipped them all soundly
And sent them off to bed.

The part of about having a lot of children fits my image of the Empress as fruitful abundance. But the rest? She obviously doesn’t have much food, or she could give them more than broth—that’s not very abundant. And whipping them all (for apparently no reason) certainly isn’t very loving. So she doesn’t make such a good Empress after all.

The Fairytale Tarot uses Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother as the Empress. In the book for this deck, Karen Mahony points out “she is totally unlike the rather capricious and unpredictable fairies of many stories, but instead is a wholly good, kind, maternal and protective spirit who guards over Cinderella.” I never thought of her that way before, but now that I think about it, she does have a lot of Empress qualities.

Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother appears as High Priestess In the Whimsical Tarot. In my post on this card I said that she sounds more like the Magician to me, because she gets things done. Now that I’ve thought about it a bit, she probably isn’t quite right for the Magician because he has an element of the Trickster in him, and Cinderella’s godmother certainly does not. But it’s still a better fit for her than the High Priestess. (She’s also assigned to the High Priestess in the Inner Child deck.)

Now consider this bit about the Empress on Aeclectic Tarot:: “The Empress is a creator, be it creation of life, of romance, of art or business. While the Magician is the primal spark, the idea made real, and the High Priestess is the one who gives the idea a form, the Empress is the womb where it gestates and grows till it is ready to be born.”

This is a slightly new aspect of these three cards for me and I’ll have to let the idea gestate a while in order to integrate it into my previous thoughts. The Magician as spark and the Empress as actual creator makes sense, although up to now I’ve been thinking of the Magician as a creator as well. But I’m not sure about the High Priestess as the one who gives form to the idea—like I said, I’ll l have to think about it for a while.

However, this idea does fit the numbers of the cards: Magician is 1, High Priestess is 2, Empress is 3. In Choice Centered Tarot, Gail Fairfield says that three takes the energy of the one and the direction of the two and puts them together to get results. Which is another way of saying what the Aeclectic Tarot item said.

The Fairytale Tarot: For a Happy Ever After

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Comments (2) left to “The Tarot Empress in the Whimsical and Fairytale Decks”

  1. mama kelly wrote:

    i never thought about how incongruous it is to use the Old Women in the Shoe as the Empress

    i recently bought this tarot deck for my daughter as a menarche present and it never occured to me

  2. Donna Dolezal Zelzer wrote:

    It didn’t occur to me at first, either. It’s only when I started thinking about it in detail in order to write this post that I noticed the incongruity.

    Donna

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