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Pachamama The Empress


Pachamama represented in the cosmos. Image from the Public Domain.


Pachamama is the goddess of the corn, of fertility and of abundance. She is the Peruvian earth goddess worshipped even today. Her name means the "Mother of All" or the mother of the earth. This makes her a personification of The Empress. She was personified as a corn field as she was responsible for all the vegetation that grows on Earth and for the air that sustains us. Her name "Pacha" is also all-inclusive encompassing all that is sacred and divine and also time and space. The name "Mama" is self-explanatory meaning mother. The snake is also symbolic of the goddess since she was often depicted as a snake. Snakes shed their skin periodically and therefore are a potent symbol of rebirth as they constantly leave behind that which they have outgrown and take on a new skin. Pachamama was said to be both the goddess of agriculture and of earthquakes. As a goddess of earthquakes, she was depicted as a snake, which caused tremors when it moved.  She is said to be the mother of the great Peruvian god Pachacamac. After his creation, he and Pachamama jointly created a set of twins a boy and a girl whom the goddess loved deeply. After the birth of the twins the god Pachacamac had fulfilled his usefulness and thus he disappeared from the top of a mountain.  The goddess was strong, and she brought up and provided for her children all by herself without any assistance. She however also searched for her husband till they came across light in the forest and stumbled upon the home of Wakon (who in Peruvian mythology is considered to be Pachacamac's brother of sorts). Wakon was not honorable and when he made his intentions known to the goddess, she resisted his advances which made angered him so much that he killed her, chopped her up, cooked her and even ate her. Her love for the children however still survived which is in accordance with her name Mama and the archetype of the mother. The children searched for their mother and Wakon informed them that she was away, but she would be back soon.  From beyond life, Pachamama watched over her children and advised them in the guise of animals and birds that they befriended near their home. A little bird informed them that their mother had died and also instructed them to slow down their malevolent uncle by tying a boulder to his hair. The bird also told them that they needed to flee their evil Uncle. While the children were chased by their immoral uncle, Pachamama protected them by hiding them inside herself, since they hid in a fox's den, and saved them by having the animals keep the secret of their hiding place. Eventually the cunning fox who hid the children in his den led Wakon to his death. He went on to talk to Wakon and asked him to call out to the children from the highest peak in their mother’s voice so that the children may come to him themselves. Wakon was very happy with the suggestion and did as the fox asked without realizing that he had a heavy boulder tied to his hair. As he went up to the peak to yell out to the children, he lost his balance and fell of the mountain and his death caused colossal earthquakes in the region. The children were free.  Pachamama's concern for her children is the hallmark of the Empress. Her love and concern for creation extends beyond her children. The Empress is a mature woman with a broad range of experiences.  Dignified: Perhaps the appearance of Pachamama in your life is an indication that you need to examine your attitude towards or relationship with your mama. We tend to examine the parenting styles that our parents employed, when we are either on our way to becoming parents or have had children. The appearance of Pachamama may also suggest that the querent is pregnant or completely enveloped in the mother aspect of her femininity. Often the appearance of Pachamama can also mean not a pregnancy but a creative gestation of ideas, or the beginning of a creative project, pretty much in the manner that Pachamama saved her children. The world of the Empress is ruled with love and nurturing. Thus, the Empress also asks you to focus on how you take care of yourself, with her appearance encouraging the querent’s to be more sensual and pamper themselves. 

Reversed or weakly Aspected: Reversed, the empress is disconnected from the nurturing that she provides perhaps as a result of being in need of being taken care of herself. This could be as a result of being abused as Pachamama was, either emotionally or even physically. It can also mean that she is disconnected from her own self, and also for the time being living in a withdrawn state rather than nurturing others, which is her defining essence. While the upright Empress represents a healthy sexuality, reversed she may even be expressing the energies symbolised by Wakon which is selfish, self-centered and cut off from all morality focusing completely on one’s own selfish lusts and desires.  It could also mean that she is now turned in more like the Priestess holding secrets within herself rather than being her natural social self.

Words Cited:

Juan Santa Cruz Pachacuti, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


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