The Journey of the Soul

Arcanum III
The Empress

Jean Noblet
Paris c.1650

Jean Dodal
Lyon c. 1701

Nicolas Conver
Marseille c. 1760

Towards his fifth year, the child abandons his grandmother’s lap and starts hanging onto the skirts of his mother. He is now sufficiently autonomous to not impinge too much on her activities. From now on he follows her everywhere, noting what she says, what she does and how she does it.

Within the traditional family, it is the mother who holds the purse-strings and manages the household economy. She bears responsibility for assuring provisions and for the planning of meals. But she has yet other tasks which she must assume with method and good humor. It is she who sets the tone. Guardian of the hearth, it is up to her to generate a sense of family. All this she conveys to the young child.

The Empress represents all those who cause money, the subtle blood of our society, to circulate : shopkeepers, financiers, bankers, etc… Water is her element (the French expression for cash is “l’argent liquide”). Being a liquid, money must flow freely, but not without purpose. The art is to not hold it back, and not waste it. Well employed, money is none other than the raw material of action. One can do nothing without it.

From his mother, the young child receives the instruction of the Empress : how to manage practicalities, keep money circulating.