Today I could not think of a topic so I asked the Norse Tarot “What should I share with others day?” I drew The Empress aka Freya. This tickles me because I am very drawn to the goddess Freya (I consider her one of my matron goddesses) but I’ve always been rather disconnected from The Empress. I also don’t know if I would have selected Freya to represent The Empress’ energy. Frigga seems more appropriate for this archetype while I see Freya as more connected to the High Priestess. However I can also see arguments for this association too.
So what have I learned about The Empress energy? It is severely underappreciated and neglected, especially by women. One of the aspects of The Empress that has always kept me at arm’s length is caregiving. I have avoided being a caregiver for as long as I could. I have never felt the desire to have children (and have never understood the urge to do so). On some deep level, I have always known becoming a caregiver would require me to be more selfless and giving than I have ever felt capable and comfortable with being. I have always been somewhat self-centered and narcissistic. I had things to prove and goals to achieve. I was going to be more than just someone’s mother and wife. I also learned the hard way that children could chain you to an abusive husband and destructive marriage. I was not going to repeat the mistakes of the women I’d seen around me.
I still think that was the right choice for me and that has been reinforced by my recent experiences. I know that I was not meant to have children. I can be quite protective of children but still feel no desire to have any of my own. However becoming the primary caregiver for my in-laws has shown me that I do have the capacity to be a caregiver. I’m not perfect – screaming and frustration seem to be par for the course., but I can do it. I have the ability to put the needs of others ahead of my own. I may not like it but I can do it. Maybe at her core that is one of The Empress’ strengths. She can put aside her own needs in order to care for others.
I don’t see this as a permanent condition or one that needs to be replicated ad nauseam (at least not in its healthiest expression) but when the need arises, The Empress can step up. At the same time The Empress knows when to say “enough is enough” and put herself back in the center again. Just as Freya knew how to get what she wanted, so is The Empress. Freya realizes that love and death are part of the same cycle. She may be famous for taking lovers as she chose but she was also the leader of the Valkyrie. Half of all the chosen slain came to rest in Freya’s hall. She might seem like the golden goddess of sex and love but she has a fully developed and well-honed dark side. That was always my problem with The Empress – I could see her darker, selfish side. She seemed like the perfect mother to me. In my life experiences the perfect mother was an illusion that hid an emotionally needy, soul-sucking, weak personality. Of course even this wasn’t necessarily true it was simply my interpretation of behaviors without knowing the causes.
I have come to appreciate The Empress’ energy, strength and gifts. She can be selfless and giving but she can also be self-focused and hardline. She may coddle and nurture but if she feels its becoming a long-term habit she will kick you in the behind. I see her as having a low tolerance for bullshit. At the same time she is caring and gentle when necessary. For too long we have all bought into masculine definitions of power and strength. Even women came to believe that true success could only be achieved via masculine outlets. Now I think we are developing a more fully developed view of success. For some women it may indeed occur on a more masculine field of play while others may prefer pursuing creative outlets in more traditionally feminine fields.
I realize I will never be fully happy or comfortable as a caregiver and nurturer, that’s simply not in my personality. However I have grown to deeply appreciate her gifts and strengths. I have embraced this aspect of my personality and learned that Feminine energy and power are not weaker, they are simply different but just as important as masculine ones.