Friday, 18 March 2011

Daily Draw Gratitudes The Empress

Our final card from the New Mythic Tarot, illustrated by Giovanni Caselli, is the Empress.

Here we see Demeter, goddess of motherhood.  She stands in a field of corn, representing the bounty of the harvest offered by mother nature, with three poppies in the foreground.  She is pregnant, and behind her a waterfall pours down vine-covered hills into a river.

In the myth, Demeter's daughter, Persephone, is stolen away by Hades, Lord of the Underworld.  Demeter is distraught and will not let the earth flourish again until her daughter is returned to her.  Although she eventually gets her way, because Persephone had eaten some pomegranate seeds while in Hades' kingdom she must also return there once a year to be Queen of the Underworld.

This myth is associated with times of plenty alternating with hard times, though whether this should be associated with the snows of winter or with the droughts of summer is a somewhat contested question.  In either case, Demeter reminds us of the abundance of mothers, as well as their protective instincts.  The Empress also traditionally represents creativity, not just of babies, but any project, something that we body forth into the world.

For some reason, probably because of the subject matter, I notice the shadow side of the Majors of this deck.  Although Demeter is associated with abundance, motherhood and creativity, it's also true that she withheld that abundance from the world while her daughter was held captive.  Though showing motherly devotion and determination, the idea of starving all of humanity for the sake of your own child shows a certain shadow aspect - this is the mother who perhaps cares too much, who doesn't see the big picture, who puts her selfish love ahead of a more spiritual view of interconnectedness. 

My gratitudes:

I am grateful for my mother and all the love and support she has offered me over the years.

I am thankful for the opportunity to be a mother in my turn.

I am grateful for the abundance and creativity in my life.

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