Thursday, April 8, 2021

Tarot Tales: G is for the Green Goddess ( The Empress)

Welcome to the 2021 A to Z Blogging Challenge! My theme this year is Tarot Tales. I am making a selection of folktales, legends, and other traditional stories that correspond to tarot cards. Storytelling and tarot go well together. Do other stories come to mind? Let me know in the comments!

The card: The Empress

Meanings: The Empress is a card about fertility and femininity. It is about nature, nurture, beauty, abundance, creativity, birth, and motherhood. It also has connection to comfort, pleasure, sensuality, health, love, and romance. It is an all-around lovely card.

Selection process: Obviously, this story had to be about a woman. Preferably one who is also royalty or divinity. World lore is full of mother and fertility goddesses, so there was a lot to choose from. The easy route would have been to pick one of the big names, such as Demeter, but I wanted to dig a little deeper, and shine a light on less well-known stories.

The story: The princess who made the forests green and the meadows bloom

Origin: Hungary 

A young prince decides that he will only marry the Princess Who Makes the Forests Green and the Meadows Bloom (Erdőzöldítő és Mezővirágoztató Királykisasszony). His parents try to hold him back, since no one actually knows if such a princess exists, but he sets out on a quest anyway. On his way he arrives to a dying kingdom where nothing grows. He finds out that the king had unwittingly promised his child to the Devil, but the refused to give the baby up, and in revenge the Devil turned the whole kingdom into a desert. The only way to break the curse is for the PWMFGMB to find her true husband, and travel across the land.
The prince meets an old beggar, who tells him that the princess can only marry a man who was a late child, and who wanted to marry her even before he knew she existed. When he finds out that the prince fulfills both, he grants him a magic wand that summons anything one draws with it. Using the magic wand the prince travels to the PWMFGMB's lush, thriving kingdom, and attends the royal ball two nights in a row. The princess falls in love with him, they get married, and on their way home they cross the desert kingdom. Wherever the princess passes, everything turns green, flowers bloom, vegetation grows, and nature comes to life.

Sources & notes: Hungarian text online here.

Runner-ups: A similar fertility blessing appears in the Indian tale of A story in search of an audience, where a newborn girl is blessed with magic nature powers. I also considered including the Lady Tree of the Narts, an actual world tree goddess from the Caucasus who holds magical knowledge (and has a baby with a hero).

Do you like green things? Are you a gardener? What are your favorite plats?


  1. I love looking at gardens, but I'm too lazy to commit to the upkeep of a large garden. A lot of people are impressed and surprised when they learn I've had a spider plant (named Kalanit) for almost 21 years now.

  2. What a great story. We should all wish for such abundance and life-giving qualities. The powers of the man who was a late child is an interesting one. Have you found this in other folktales as well?
    And I love AK Ramanujan's collection of Indian Folktales. I used to read the stories of Tenali Rama--the funny ones-- to him at night. If you have the book, one of my favorites is "What Happens When You Really Listen."

  3. What a lovely story. I can think of a couple of places I like her to pass.

  4. I love this tale! I'm a passionate gardener, with a looooot of indoor plants (my house is like a jungle). Flowers, green plants, I love everything!

  5. Green the obvious choice for G
    Here from AtoZ

  6. A love this story and how it speaks to needing to hope for things before you can see them. I have never thought of the Empress card this way before.

    Anne from

  7. That's a nice tale for spring, as gardens are greening up now.

  8. I also did green today, and a nature spirit, the Glaistig.

    The Empress is very familiar to me. I write a lot about witches so a lot of these same themes come up over and over again.
    Tim Brannan, The Other Side: 2021: The A to Z of Monsters

  9. A wonderful story. I don't have a garden - I live in an apartment - but I have a couple of flower pots on my balcony. Do they count?

  10. Love this tale - gives a beautiful image in the mind. I love gladiolus because my grandmother had loads of them in her garden in Tasmania, and I love sweet peas, they smell gorgeous.

  11. This is a lovely card with so many wonderful meanings. Weekends In Maine