The cycle that was concluded with the November 13 full moon was devoted to The Empress, which represents the Hebrew letter Gimel and occupies the pathway from Keter to Binah on the Tree of Life.
In the context of the Tetragrammaton, The Empress also signifies the Vau of the divine name, Yod He Vau He, following The Magician and The High Priestess which signify the Yod and He respectively. This sequence will be completed with The Emperor, the subject of the coming month's meditation and the last for our group here.
For those of us who love Meditations on the Tarot, it's likely we are most familiar with The Empress in her role as the guardian of Sacred Magic.
The author of MotT distinguishes between three distinct fields of magic: Sacred Magic, which is embodied by the Christian Sacraments, Personal Magic (the grey zone); and Sorcery, or the dark arts. The Empress is the Arcanum of Sacred Magic, which Papus defined so memorably as:
The science of love
Sacred magic is accomplished by the union of divine and human will, through which is made possible the work of Redemption. “The mystery of the God-Man is the key of divine magic”, we are told, as an essential condition of the redemptive work on a par with the Creation of the World. The performance of miracles therefore depends upon this union of wills, which gives birth to a new power. Miracles and magic are part and parcel of the same phenomena, for the will of a magus is “essential for the realisation of a miracle”.
Gnosis derived from Mystical experience must precede the operation of Sacred Magic, just as The Empress follows sequentially from The Magician and The High Priestess. Thus, sacred or divine magic is no less than the putting into practice of mystical revelation. Just as the author extols the miracle of divine magic, so does he stridently warn against the dangers of personal magic and sorcery.
The eagle on the shield of the Empress - which inspires us with the aim of ‘liberation in order to ascend’ - indicates that we must throw the eagles of our desire to the winds. The authority and legitimacy of The Empress are signified by the crown she wears, which is conferred from above, whilst the sceptre is emblematic of magical power. The task of magic, as shown by the crown, is the sublimation of nature, just as the tiara of the High Priestess denotes that she has the task of carrying revelation through three planes, right down to ‘the book’, or tradition.
I'll leave you with a beautiful passage from the book:
"The aim of sacred magic is nothing other than to give freedom to see, to hear, to walk, to live, to follow an ideal and to be truly oneself – ie, to give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, the ability to walk to the lame, life to the dead, good news or ideals to the poor and free will to those who are possessed by evil spirits. It never encroaches upon freedom, the restoration of which is its unique aim.
It is more than pure and simple healing which is the object of sacred magic; it is the restoration of freedom, including here freeing from the imprisonment of doubt, fear, hate, apathy and despair".
In his book on tarot symbolism, Ouspensky wrote in his vision of The Empress:
How can you smile so joyfully on the opening flowers, when everything is destined to death, even that which has not yet been born?"
For answer the Empress looked on me still smiling and, under the influence of that smile, I suddenly felt a flower of some clear understanding open in my heart
GOMebes taught in his Tarot Major course:
We can see here the theological scheme of the Divine Trinity: God in God, or God the Father; God manifesting himself in Humanity, or God the Son and God manifesting Himself in Nature, or God the Holy Spirit.
Speaking of this triple manifestation of the One God, in which a third term neutralises the two extremes - because Humanity connects Nature with the Archetype - we will take advantage of the opportunity to mention God's three ways of seeking souls. There are souls who seek God the Father for metaphysical paths; there are souls who seek God the Son within their heart and human groups are formed in the name of this search; finally, there are souls who seek God for the contemplation of Nature and acceptance of its immutable laws, those who seek the Holy Spirit. You will learn more about this in the Secrets of Kabbalah.