The Empress is the archetype "Mother". To her meaning all that belongs which is associated with "Mother. She means growth, vibrance, furtility, physicalness, nature, the forces and cycles of nature, creative and spontaneous constructiveness, the "lioness-mother" who defends what and who she loves with superhuman strength and with her live, the unconditional love of the mother which does not have to be earned, and many positive aspects more. The Empress can be a warm-hearted, strong-willed, empathic and protective ruler.
But she has negative aspects also. She can destroy as suddenly as she creates - nature does not only mean warm sunshine and soft rain but also destroying forces. Just as she sometimes loves unconditionally and without cause she sometimes does hate without cause. Her love cannot be gained by good deeds. The Empress can be possessive, suffocating, a sitting hen, a cruel tyrant with no sense for rationality.
It is important that she represents the "female" form of rulership - she is the female counterpart of the Emperor.