On Remembering The Empress

On Remembering The Empress

Bunny Morgan-Brown

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Several years ago, when I met my first submissive partner, I was overwhelmed with joy and excitement.

I was finally in a healthy relationship where my terms were honored, my wants and needs (largely) respected...and yet, because I had experienced so much significant, life-threatening, and dehumanizing trauma around desire, love, respect, life-affirmation, it was violently painful to have my body awaken – almost in a non-linear manner – to remember what it could not acknowledge at the time of its affliction, because it had access to safety, and fuel to heal. That relationship ended in a way that I now cringe at (compassion & forgiveness abound for both of us, at least for me), but now I understand what I was experiencing and what was happening to me, especially now that I am more seasoned as a dominatrix. Structured, well-boundaried vulnerability and safety is required for healing, as much as it is required for people to experience pro-social, functional individuation that establishes a healthy ego and . Both require confrontation with the limitations of embodiment and the reality that at some point, our sun will set.

Since relocating to Philadelphia last winter, I have been experiencing a shift in my place in the Universe + life that can only be described as a combination between the most aggressive Thai massage you've ever seen, and a prolonged period of intense, purging mourning. My partner – my sunbeam – and I got together after being formally matchmade, and had our one-year anniversary this past December. It feels like nothing and forever all at once. RB has diligently nursed and supported me through some of the most agonizing pain and suffering I have ever held in my body with a lot of bravery, tenderness, excellent communication, and good boundaries. A year or more ago, I would've written something that gave away all of my agency + hard-earned credit for the avalanche of healing that has subsequently followed this turn of events, but the reality is that I prepared: I did the work. I wanted to be in relationship with others in a much more connected, intimate, life-affirming way, so I did the work to receive it well and to be able to show up for others. I, eventually, met my partner. And when I did...well, the Great Purge began.

I have been on fully debilitated bedrest for almost 15 months. Devastating and hard don't really quite cut it. It's taken me until now to realise that the experience I had with that former submissive partner, has been what has been happening for me in this relationship: that the sudden onset of safety (augmented by astrological factors, because we're that kinda queer, lmao) signalled to my body it was time to fully decompress and dump off and out all of the toxic waste it absorbed when I had no room to truly rest and release. If I am not mistaken, this is basically just the freeform & organic version of Somatic Experiencing.

I know it's a cliché, trite sentiment now, this idea of 'remembering' yourself that's been butchered to all hell by individualist ideology and whatnot. But in my experience and based on teaching from my Ancestors, all is memory, because time isn't linear – it's cyclical and spherical. Don't ask me about the math and physics on that, though, 'tis not my portion in this lifetime. As the layers of pain are experienced and slough off, the more of myself I come to be curious about and retrieve from the protection of denial that's been dwelling in my sinews and bones this whole time.

I am, in fact, (re)membering: I am coming back to myself, so I can come back to life and the world around me.

Remembering How To Give Freely

With the benefit of space and the intimacy of love – Baruch HaShem, my partner is wildly capable and generous – I have had the time to get my distance from many of the obligations and responsibilities I had placed on myself, from relationships to work. It turns out, you make wildly different choices when you don't feel like you have to do X or Y merely to see another day.

I am of a mixed bag around the modern concept of archetypes, but the Empress is the absolute embodiment of who and how I want to be in the world: the Primordial Divine Feminine, unbound in Their manifestation, unconstrained by patriarchy. To quote Cassandra Snow & Siri Vincent Plouff from their book, Lessons From The Empress: A Tarot Workbook for Self-Care and Creative Growth:

"...The Empress is seated on a throne in a lush and verdant landscape, wearing a luxuriant robe and holding a shield with the symbol for Venus on it. The Empress is at ease with themself, well taken care of and satisfied—not only satisfied with the surrounding abundance but also satisfied because The Empress has created things: this robe, this shield, this garden, even this throne. Everything around The Empress began as an idea—a seed—and they got busy planting, creating, and nurturing every last seed into being

...The Empress endures, consistently rendered in a way that captures the ideal Venusian Creatrix...

The Empress has learned to collaborate with the land and create a nurturing space of abundance and peace. The Empress is free to be completely themself in this creation that they birthed into existence—made both from them and for them...The Empress teaches us that acts of creation are the ultimate practice of self-care."

Acts of creation, to me, by default includes the practice of magic and utilization of spiritual tools. Irrespective of your beliefs, we know that ritual acts as a vehicle for self-regulation, mental priming, creativity & creative problem-solving skills, and social cohesion in a life-affirming and pro-social way. That is why I have said that the best way to understand my work as a professional spiritualist is to consider it through the lens of art, and how people value the experience of creativity when it is deeply meaningful, potent, and transformative for them. Our society devalues artists, but it absolutely runs on artistry and creativity, and humanity is the fruit of this work, be it in prayer or in pottery.

I have been a professional spiritualist since my entire adult life, more or less, and a studious practitioner since my tweens. The realms of the Divine are not only my hobby, they are my artform, my special interest, my intellectual fascination, and the metaphorical palette I reach for most often when lending color to the landscape of living. Magic brings me a source of true, deep joy and fulfillment, whether I am working to know the ways of the stars, or I am enchanting to punt a predator off a cliff. While I have struggled against the tides of kyriarchal politic and judgment, I have never known more peace in my life than when I began to embrace my Empress essence, starting with my Juno Jar + Juno Magic work.

My Juno Jar services always worked for me because I was in a space of giving freely, both by asking for support that at the time felt like enough to resource my gigantic capacity for generosity well without harming me, but that also allowed me to be generous with others. Until, of course, it didn't. I started to get really resentful and exhausted by the work as I grew, and rather than take care of myself, I tried to stretch myself further and further...until I snapped, and the tension ruptured me out of my work life all together. I have seriously considered (and stated at points) that I was tired of spiritual work, that the gig was up, but in my heart I knew that wasn't what I actually wanted. I just couldn't expand my possibilities wide enough to entertain that I could reasonably do things a different way.

After spending four days engaged in very intense spiritual work with the Tarot, laying an energetic foundation for building anew, both Death and the Empress emerged as significant cards for me. It is both Death and the Empress who have taught me how to celebrate and be present, resilient, and flourishing in this life, despite the manmade, kyriarchal odds. But as someone who exists in a peaceful relationship with Death the way that most folks breathe, the Empress – even as I feel her in my sinews – has been a lot harder to bring forth into the world, even though she circulates through my body the way joy permeates the sound of a baby's laugh. That rather than merely being a conduit of power, introspection, and transformation, exclusively receiving it, being comforted by the discomfort it entails...I am finally safe and well-equipped enough, post-Saturn, to wield power and to remember the Empress and all of her facets.

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