The Empress as The Consumer
As a representative of secular authority, the Empress in the Tarot stands for the material world as well as its riches and pleasures. Psychologically, she represents the mother archetype, in both its positive (nourishment and security) and negative form (devouring possessiveness).
The most obvious symbolic connection between the Empress and the Consumer are the apples overflowing on the apple tree and the pattern of pomegranates on the dress of the Empress, both similar symbols of fertility, nourishment, and growth.
The scepter is representative of the power of the Empress over life - and in a similar way the white paint on the apple tree is meant to guard it from disease and insects, so it’s also a protection of life.
Her crown has twelve stars representing her dominance over the year, and this could be said of the squirrel too because he hides food in prevision of the long winter months.
There’s also a connection between the apple symbolism and Venus sign on the cushion near the Empress, as both relate to love. The apple also represent knowledge, and the Empress is said to be “a representative of the productivity of the subconscious, seeded by ideas.”
Reversed, the Empress can point to a creative block or difficulty being over-nurturing, which is expressed in the Consumer as well. This stage of the individuation process may have to do with healing the Mother Complex.