the magician & the empress

cards one and three in the major arcana are the early action cards, encouraging us to envision what we desire, harness our personal magic, and begin creating with abandon, enjoying the raw potential and potent dreams that we carry. everything in these cards urges us to embrace our natural gifts, to recognize just how many kinds of magic we have access to, and to embrace a spirit of abundance and joy. and since both of them have been coming up for me a lot in personal readings, it seems like the right time to do a deeper dive on these cards, what they have in common, and the journey they speak to.


the magician is usually represented with symbols of the four suits of the tarot, reminding us that we are made of these elements. we all carry heart, body, mind, and spirit, and while we don’t always all identify strongly with every suit, we all still have access to those gifts and skills, and are probably more adept at wielding them than we think. the magician pushes us to ask ourselves what we dream of, what we desire. what does our heart cry out for? what does our body crave? what does our mind keep returning to? and what speaks to our spirit on the deepest, more personal level? this card gives permission to explore, to feel confident in our abilities, to be willing to experiment in ways we perhaps wouldn’t have tried before the fool’s leap.

in the fool, we say yes to the universe - and in the magician, the universe says yes back to us.
-bakara wintner

while i tend to focus on the magician’s aspects of inspiration rather than action, this card absolutely tell us to get to work. it’s not all dreaming and envisioning what’s possible, but also being willing to take chances, to start combining things together, to seeing what happens when we stop putting limits on ourselves and instead invite the magic we carry to blend with the resources in our hands. above all, this is a card of manifestation, taking those first steps to bring our dreams into reality.


the high priestess lingers after the magician, in that endless in-between, reminding us to listen to our deepest inner wisdom, not shy away from our shadows, and trust our intuition above all else — and then we’re in a full space of abundance, joy, and inspiration with the empress. powerful, divine, sensual, complete within, the empress asks us to accept ourselves, to celebrate our magic, to let it inspire us further to creation and power. she’s not afraid to let her emotions guide her, to put everything out into the world, and refuses to be held back by fear. where the magician utilizes resources, the empress is self-sustaining, infinitely generous, able to nurture and flow endlessly. she is creation without limits, without expectation, without shame. there’s an awakening in this card, the recognition of how deep personal magic flows, a celebration of the self and all it contains.

the empress encourages reverence for physicality, and a profound gratitude for all that life has to offer.
-carrie mallon

what i love about the empress card is that she’s so whole and complete within herself, finding nothing lacking. she may not actually be perfect, but the empress doesn’t hide her flaws or imperfections, instead embracing them for the unique perspective they provide, the insights and loyalties they inspire. the empress loves so fiercely, both herself and others, and pours all of that generosity and richness and abundance into everything she builds. where the magician is all cool calculation and awareness, the empress is fire and heat, welcoming others into her arms and pouring her passion into the world she creates.

both cards inspire manifestation. both cards urge us to create. both cards remind us of the magic we carry, the inspiration we hold, the potential we can shift into more. the magician starts us on this path to action, pushing us to keep embracing the risk and possibility within the fool, urging us to look at what we have and get to work. and the empress keeps tugging us forward on our journey, welcoming us into her embrace, helping us recognize the beauty and power and magic that have always been within us. in neither card do we see a need for perfection or polish — the emphasis here is instead on the act of creation itself, the willingness to take chances, the strength to put our dreams into the world and see what they look like.

the magician and the empress appear right at the beginning of the fool’s journey through the major arcana, and it’s impossible not to feel inspired when we draw them. we have a chance to be honest, to be generous, to share our visions of potential and possibility with the world we inhabit. this is a time to build something completely new, to pour ourselves into it, to relish every detail and spark of inspiration and then look at that first draft, that first effort, and decide where to go next.


these cards don’t know fear. they give us a chance to play, to dream, to learn, and then they tell us that we are worthy. our magic is worthy. our vision is worthy. our ability to manifest is worthy. all we have to do is be willing to take that chance, to carry those dreams forward and see what they can become.

and after seeing these cards appear for weeks in readings, i’m eager to get started.


what lessons have you learned from the magician and the empress? how do they make you feel when you draw them? what cards from the minor arcana remind you of these two archetypes?

reverence & gratitude

it's been a truly incredible few days. my letters were received with love and kindness, and now i can proudly say that i am out to my entire immediate family. it's been years in the making, and i feel such a profound sense of relief, release, and rest. i was able to celebrate my first pride weekend with the knowledge that i'm living honestly and truly. the-empresstoday's card is nurturing, holistic, and compassionate: the empress. and she's a beautiful reflection of the energy i feel today.

i love this card. the ultimate earth mother, she is creative, gentle, strong, warm, sensual, comforting, and free. she's completely unapologetic for being herself and taking up space - there's such an easy confidence about her. the empress knows her value and her worth, is sure of her place in the world. she gives of herself, openly and honestly, and thrives when she can comfort and nurture others around her. unlike the high priestess, that lives in mystery and shadows and stillness, the empress is utterly grounded, deeply connected to nature and the world around her. she is filled with love and generosity of spirit, with no rules or expectations or judgements. she is a warm embrace, a long walk through a beautiful forest, a cozy spot by a roaring fire.

the empress embodies the strengths and spirits of all four mothers in the deck: the fierce determination of the mother of wands, the insightful tranquility of the mother of cups, the experienced and wise perception of the mother of swords, and the patient compassion of the mother of pentacles. she pushes us to use all of our senses and abilities, to open ourselves to possibility, and to step fully into opportunities. but because she also represents sensuality, fertility, and cultivation, the empress can remind us to be aware of what we're nurturing, and who (or what) is nurturing us.

after pushing myself hard to be open and honest with those i love, the empress speaks to me of peace, rest, and contentment. today is a day for love, calm reflection, and kindness, of nurturing myself.

breathe deep

i've been pulling a lot of positive cards lately - ones that encourage me to look forward to what's ahead, to seek hope and adventure, to start something new and embrace my own power through it. and it's been lovely to feel so much strength and energy flowing through these cards - but it's been a bit overwhelming too. today's card, the seven of cups, seems to reflect and understand that perfectly. IMG_0338 i've written about this card before, and while it's not always the most welcome sight in a daily reading, it can also be a bit of a relief to have feelings acknowledged. this card flips everything on its head, and we don't know which way is up, what time or place or day it is, or even how to move forward. it takes things we thought we were sure of and makes us question them. it can be an indication to stop, look around, take a breath, reassess. things are not what they seem, confusion is afoot, something is amiss.

i've been procrastinating, unsure, feeling simultaneously afraid to start and oh-so-tired of being stagnant. depression, especially when it lingers, is like slogging through mud, like wandering through fog, and it makes everything feel slow and heavy and exhausting. and as i attempt to stand up and stumble out of this darkness, to find my way back to who i know i can be, it's hard to know how to get back into real life again.

the-empressin an effort to seek guidance, i pulled a second card for clarification, and got some serious female power: the empress. she's beautiful and bold, a colorful beacon in the darkness. this strong tree is constantly evolving with the seasons, and her brilliant shades of pink and purple speak of spring, of the growth and life that come after a long period of cold darkness. she is warm, gentle, compassionate, and strong.

both of these cards are set at night, but reveal very different truths. while the seven reflects the confusion that darkness can bring, the confusing emotions and conflicting directions, the empress is solid and grounded, confident in her light and her strength. the darkness only serves to illuminate her, causing that which is insignificant to fade into the background.

and while it's okay to be unsure sometimes, to feel hesitant or weak or confused about the next step, the empress reminds me that there can be power in the darkness. finding that inner light is not always easy, but that doesn't mean that it has faded away.