The Empress III: Reversed
Martha Adams © All Rights Reserved
The Empress III: Rider is upside-down on her throne and the luxurious cushioned-sofa can no longer support or be of comfort to her. The colours of red and orange are now ill-defined and her feet are raised up and above her head, on a patch of grey dirt. Red is symbolic of the Root and 1st Chakra and the negative aspects of this colour and Chakra are not ‘feeling grounded’ or connected to the earth’s energies; not having a sense of purpose, survival and stability. Orange is the colour of the 2nd or Sacral Chakra and represents the emotional self and relationships with adverse properties being unhappiness, aloneness, self-doubt or troubled and difficult relationships with herself or with others.
The Empress: Rider’s triple-jeweled crown represents universal knowledge that is expressed in its representation of the 12 stars of the zodiac. Unfortunately it is on her head which hangs precariously hangs upside-down, at the lowest section of the picture. The position of her head and crown suggests her understanding of human nature is reduced and her celestial wisdom is at a low level leaving her without guidance, intuition, insight or the capacity to create the magic. Unable to grasp the influences which are affecting herself, her relationships and current situation gives a sense of helplessness. Her pearl necklace positioned around her throat, her 5th Chakra, implies the wearer is loyal, pure, generous, truthful, but in reversed, suggests she is without ‘voice’; unable to advocate for herself; take appropriate action to meet her own needs; or to know what to do or say to support others.
The Empress: Rider raises her impressive staff above her head to show nature is her domain. However when the image is reversed, the staff is inverted and loosely held, threatens to fall from her grasp indicating her influence and power over the physical realm is waning. Upright, her heart-shaped shield is a symbol of love and the glyph of Venus signifies the spiritual manifesting in the material and the relationship of female and male energies. When this symbol is reversed, love is turned on its head, the material dominates the spiritual and the masculine principle dominates the feminine. Her shield in reverse implies difficulties expressing and appreciating femininity, beauty, elegance, sensuality and capacity to nurture herself and others.
The profusion of nature has risen to the top of the card to create a topsy-turvy, unruly mass of overgrown vegetation; illustrating, perhaps, a sense of disorder and discord either she is creating herself or is happening around her; and brings to mind the saying ‘she can’t see the forest for the trees’. The waterfall, representing emotions, seems stagnant and solid. Yellow-gold of the sky and her hair is the colour of the 3rd Chakra; but ill-defined shows low self-esteem, an absence of ‘gut instincts’ and a diminished mental vibration. Perhaps she ignores, neglects or represses her intuitive intelligence.
The Empress: Marseilles is clearly seen seated upside-down in her impressive throne. The inverted, large, winged-shape chair mimics the shape of the powerful eagle but plunging downwards. Commonsense tells us that such a arrangement can no longer protect or support her regal and ample frame.
The Empress: Marseilles’ commanding sceptre of the sphere and cross are symbolic of her spiritual authority but it is inverted and has plunged to bottom corner of the card. The appearance of her staff is that of a pendulum which reminds us of the ‘ticking of time’; perhaps hinting also that her scepter along with her power, may also soon fall away.
A feature in the design of the Tarot of Marseilles is the specific arrangement of large shapes and of colour; upside-down colours become ill-defined. Red the colour of the Root Chakra now dominates the upper section of the card as the underskirt. This can indicate a sense of disconnection from one’s community as personal appetites and obsessions take precedence above everything else. Her under-lying motivation as the ill-defined red underskirt implies, may see her transformation of courage and valour into cowardly and uncaring thought and action; strength of purpose into plain stubbornness and argumentativeness. The Empress: Marseilles, no longer connected to Earth’s grounding energies, may be subject to powerful and unchecked desires which gives an overriding sense that this woman is dangerous, angry and aggressive.
The Empress: Marseilles substantial and refined tunic is located in the lower section of the image. Royal blue, the colour of wisdom, integrity and self-control, is now inverted. The negative implications of blue are ruthlessness, intolerance and melancholy; an overwhelming desire for status; or addictions including alcoholism, workaholism or spiritual prejudice. Our lovely The Empress: Marseilles is not in a good way.
We can see clearly that the eagle-crested shield is reversed, implying that The Empress: Marseilles’ once soaring and superior connection to spirit and her ability to receive divine messages and protection are now brought into question. The eagle’s wings are alarmingly outstretched, seemingly to break its fall as it looks to be plummeting downward, head-first. Her most powerful symbols are upturned and her face looking tired and worn, suggests both inner and outer struggles.
The Empress: Marseilles’ head is seen dangling undignified, at the lowest point in the image. The colour gold of her crown and neck-chain are ill-defined signifying greed and a lack of wisdom and integrity. Her stately red and gold crown points directly downward and, almost touching the bottom of the picture, indicates thoughts of anger, folly and confusion. Negative characteristics of her flowing white hair are isolation, lack of imagination, criticism and boredom.
The Empress: Marseille’s red and gold-crowned head appears small and insignificant, suggesting her intellectual powers are aggressive rather than compassionate; she may be driven by anger and insecurity, rather than love and generosity. The top of the head is the point of the 7th Chakra and symbolic of our connection to divine inspiration is now at its lowest point. She is likely to be out-of-touch with her higher guidance and thus unable to make sense of her situation or to support herself in a wise manner.
Reversed, The Empress: Marseilles’ face changes direction and is now looking to the left and away from her beloved Emperor IV. What draws her focus and attention to the opposite direction? One wonders who or what persons or schemes The Empress: Marseilles has now sets her sights upon; and might they lead to ‘no good’?
Health and happiness,
Martha Adams © All Rights Reserved
Reading tarot for others (and occasionally myself) is exciting, inspiring and very gratifying. Over the years (decades) I have had the very good fortune to witness the timely insights, information and guidance, the ‘reality check’, answers or solutions that can bring ease and hope to my client.