A special Empress quality that I alluded to previously is the ability to nurture creative dreams, so I’m hopeful that this year as an entity will help nurture all of our dreams.
The Empress is a tarot card that brings up a number of archetypal goddess associations, and the Empress ability to nurture dreams can be related to Jean Shinoda Bolen’s discussion of “Vision Carriers” in relation to Aphrodite as Alchemical Goddess in her book, “Goddesses in EveryWoman,” pp. 229-32. (Tarot illustrators have traditionally incorporated Venus/Aphrodite iconography into the Empress card.) In stressing the necessity of believing in your dreams and working to actualize them, Bolen points out that, “Often it is essential that another significant person believe that dream is possible: that person is a vision carrier, whose faith is often crucial.”
Bolen goes on to discuss how special women have often acted as vision carriers in offering encouragement to notable men, but regrets that it has been less common for men to nurture the Dream for women in their lives. Be that as it may, when we become aware of how important it is to offer encouragement, we can all become Vision Carriers for more people, and the Empress year prompts us to think about how we can offer encouragement on a larger scale. To help understand how this has played out in your life, think about all of the people you’ve encountered who have encouraged you in one way or another.
One can also think of ways that Society has helped nurture some individual dreams. For example, as a youngster in the city of Detroit, my school system sent me to Saturday classes for talented kiddies at the Detroit Art Institute. Each weekend, we carried our boards and easels into a different wing of that museum, to study and translate our inspiration from the art of different cultures and masters; this was very enriching and enabled me to feel special. I believe that when both individual persons as well as social institutions help young people to feel special, they are less likely to become alienated and anti-social.
By the way, a current film that conveys the Empress quality of Vision carrying is the recent Disney animation, “The Princess and the Frog.” If you haven’t seen it yet, I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler if I mention that the prince in the story undergoes major transformations after being turned into a frog. Prince Naveen had always been lazy and selfish, but as a result of his adventures in the swamp with Tiana, he resolves to work hard to make her dreams come true. I have heard that this movie has not done well at the box office, but for magical people, it’s a “must see.” Also, I love the priestess, Mama Odie, and her bottle tree—and the Shadow Man is right up there with the other great Disney villains.
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