I love the Empress card, the third Card in the Major Arcana and ruled by the Roman goddess of love, Venus. She symbolizes the the power of motherhood, the earth, and practical wisdom.
Having a past vocation as a Youth Care Worker for over twenty years I feel I have been mothered many and I understand what my own mother sacrificed and what she so freely imparted to me was invaluable for living a life grounded in love , and practical wisdom. She embodied an inner beauty and generosity that a of a mother freely and unconditionally gives.
The Empress is beautiful and bountiful. The stars in her crown represent all the signs in the Zodiac, indicating she is the mother of all. Here we find fertility, creativity and imagination. There is pregnancy of the body, the mind or the spirit. There is great ability to create a warm and productive environment. The harvest is good and abundant. Luxury and material gain, productivity and protectiveness are present and reflects the experience of mothering. Not only in the physical body but the experience of the Great Mother and her wisdom of nature. She understands that all things move in cycles and come to fruition at the appropriate time. Without her we cannot appreciate our bodies and the is a disconnect. We risk living in our heads intellectually, without being grounded in the real world.
The Empress makes be immediately think of Mother Mary. I was always very drawn to her, and still am. When I was a troubled adolescent my family lived in Guelph, Ontario. There was a beautiful Catholic Church a top the highest hill overlooking the city. I would often find solace there, in front of the icon of Mary in times of trouble.
I still have a picture of her from my teenaged years, like the one below. Notice the twelve stars around her head, and the Moon under her feet. She is clothed in radiant sunlight. The Sun, the Moon and the Stars all surround her in glory.