Winter Solstice, The Empress, and Demeter: Tonight, the eve of Winter Solstice, we approach the longest night of the year and tomorrow we step fully into winter. From outward appearances the coming season is cold and the ground below our feet seems lifeless. Yet, beneath crusts of snow and ice, the earth warms subtly with the increasing sunlight. Through the miracle of this coming of light, seeds imperceptibly swell in the dark, moist, and fecund soil…in secret, out of sight, except in our dreams and imaginations.
Tomorrow marks just one movement in the cycle of seasons, which is mythopoetically illustrated through the myth of Demeter—from her beautiful Persephone playing in a summer field abruptly abducted by Hades, the Lord of the Underworld; to Demeter wandering the earth wrathful, grief-stricken, and heart-broken; and finally to Persephone’s joyful Spring return to her mother and the upper world. (A fuller telling of this myth)
The Empress in the Tarot deck is typically interpreted as the Mother Archetype, so is often identified with Demeter. But, to me this Morgan-Greer card shows an illustration of Demeter AFTER her wrath and grief have been satiated by Persephone’s return—her heart is full and strong, and her difficult experience has enabled her profound empathy for others. We see wheat and a pomegranate on the ground near her, and a crescent moon under her left foot—symbols of fertility, fruitfulness, as well as an intuition deepened through incomprehensible trials. She carries a lotus flower standing for regeneration. In her arm is tucked an eagle-emblazoned shield, which is Zeus’s victory emblem—in my mind this can be seen as metaphor for emotional triumph over death and a return to life.
Consider meditating on The Empress, Demeter, and the mysteries of the Winter Solstice and season today and throughout the winter months. How do you interpret the image of The Empress? How do you relate your life events (internal and external) to the myth of Demeter? And, what are you feeling about our imminent move into winter?
Feel free to contact Mythological Tarot with any questions or to set up an appointment for a personal or email card reading, Tarot party, or group a Tarot reading. Tarot parties can be booked at 6th Sensation–tell them Mythological Tarot sent you!
Winter Solstice, The Empress, and Demeter