COTD – The Empress/Greenwoman (Wheel of Change & Greenwood)


The Wheel of Change Empress shows a heavily pregnant woman sitting on a piece of land in the middle of a river which splits around the island and reunites once passed.  The woman wears a red dress and sits with her legs open, as though giving birth.  Her breasts are exposed above her dress.  She is adorned with a multitude of necklaces, gold earrings and a crown of red roses.  She holds half an apple in each hand.  Her right hand is holding the apple half in the air showing us the pentacle shape at its core.  Between her feet sits a basket full of multi-colored eggs.  Small white star-shaped flowers grow on the ground beneath her.  Over her right should we see green hills and a tree bearing pink flowers.  Over her left shoulder we see yellow hills and fields and a green tree bearing red fruit.  Directly over the Empress’ head we see an arch of stars with the Moon directly above her.  The Moon seems to be bathed in blue and yellow beams emanating from the green & yellow hill directly behind the Empress.  The Greenwoman from the Greenwood Tarot reminds me of a feminine version of the traditional Greenman motif.  Leaves seem to be growing from her face and flowers bloom nearby.  Her body is either made of a golden spiral or it is a breastplate she wears that covers her body.  A golden cauldron decorated with a Sheela-na-Gig rests beneath the spiral.  A dragon stands near the cauldron and a greenman figure made of twigs accompanies it.

Both cards offer a sense of abundance, fertility and wildness.  There is something untamed and unruly about creation and these two females.  They are willing to expose themselves and become vulnerable in order to create.  That is a level of bravery I haven’t not achieved just yet.  In fact I’m not sure if I’m even close.  There is a fearlessness and defiance in these figures along with a sense of calm and sureness.  They know the risks inherent in what they do but they also accept that risk is necessary in order to bring forth life or create something new.  If you are not willing to risk failure or risk your ego being bruised or risk having to start all over again then how can you create?  This has been what has held me back.  I am afraid to fail.  The irony is that my greatest lessons have come from failure and mistakes but that doesn’t mean I’ll willingly court either.

I’ve known for a long time that one of the secondary reasons I have not wanted children is an underlying current of fear – fear that I would hurt them, fear that I wouldn’t be good enough, fear that I would wreak havoc in their lives.  I have nothing but admiration for women who chose to bear and raise children as well as for those who realize they are not called to do that in this lifetime.  I am not and never have been conflicted about my choice.  That is just not how I chose to manifest this energy in my life.  I’ve seen some refer to child-free women (and to a lesser degree men) as selfish, self-centered and narcissistic among other things.  Sometimes those with children make it a noble and holy calling and see those who did not chose that path as less spiritual.  I’ve worked with enough children and parents to realize that there are benefits to having children in your life.  However those benefits never outweighed the costs in my mind.

Enough about my choice, the central message I’m getting from these lovely, productive ladies is that if I wish to create abundance and prosperity in my life; if I wish to embody creativity and fertility, then I need to take risks.  I need to be willing to expose myself and face potential criticisms.  I need to open up and let others see what is in my heart.  That is a scary prospect.  I’d almost rather actually have children than open myself up like that.    However I suppose it’s true what they say – you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.  Even Julia Child made mistakes (and on air too) but instead of letting them defeat her she just kept right on going; moving forward and not letting them hold her back.  I need to allow myself the freedom to fail so that I can learn and move forward too.  Otherwise I’ll be so stuck in place that a tree will sprout from me and even I don’t want to become that fixed.

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