Fundamentally this Key represents Creative Imagination. All of its symbolism refers basically to reproduction, multiplication and growth. In direct contrast to the virginal High Priestess the Empress is a pregnant matron. She is Venus, goddess of Love, Beauty, Growth and Fruitfulness. She is the GREAT MOTHER principle in nature. She represents the activity of the subconscious mind.
The stream and waterfall symbolize the stream of consciousness. It flows from the robe of the High Priestess, as do all of the streams pictured in the TAROT. The water falling into the pool is again a representation of the positive and negative potencies of the Life-Force. These potencies are also symbolized by the sceptre of the Empress.
The heart and dove, pearls, wheat and trees are all Venusian symbols. The necklace of seven pearls symbolizes the astrological planets and the twelve stars about her head represent the twelve signs of the zodiac.