Many people associate either IV The Emperor or 4 of Wands with the Vernal Equinox, because of those cards’ associations with the astrological sign Aries. But to me no card epitomizes the advent of Spring more than the Empress, in particular III The Empress as depicted by Lady Frieda Harris in the Crowley Thoth Tarot. (Image of the card at Tarot.com.)
Even if one believes in no gods or afterlife, one must be struck by the fecundity and continuation of this season, and this card’s image. Life renews itself over and over again, in countless resurrections, countless triumphs over death.
We move from a time of death and decay into renewed fertilization, birth and growth. We see maturity up ahead in the verdant sizzle of Summer and the cooling transformations of Autumn. But for now, we dwell in the freshness of the young, the warming equalization of day and night, the thaw of frozen bare wood into new life, bursting with buds, flowers and leaves. Plants and animals reproduce in abundance all around us. Ladybugs and other insects fly. In my front yard, fuzzy caterpillars make their slow march to some unknown destination to cocoon themselves. Snow melts to reveal the landscape. Fountains of water erode or break rock into new formations. Clouds loom gray one minute and retreat, silver-edged, in the next.
Gaia or Mother Earth is, if nothing else, fertile. After Winter’s dark night, life bubbles forth. At this time of year the world hums with activity, renewal and rebirth.
“Hast thou seen, with flash incessant,
Bubbles gliding under ice,
Bodied forth and evanescent
No one knows by what device?
Such are thoughts!—A windswept meadow
Mimicking a troubled sea,
Such is life; and death a shadow
From the rock eternity!”