As a theme I decided to go for the Major Arcana because I've always wanted to create my own tarot deck.
I mainly used the traditional Rider-Waite tarot deck as a reference with its visual symbolism and meaning.
3. The Empress
The traditional Empress sits on a throne amidst the wheat crops or in a lucious garden, symbolizing fertility and her reign over everything that grows. Nearby there is often a river or waterfall to represent the source of life and to emphasize her role as Mother Earth.
Coral reefs are some of the most diverse and valuable ecosystems on Earth so for this mermaid tarot it's only natural to visually translate this card into the underwater world and have her reign and protect the Earth from the precious reef.
Another incarnation is the Pregnant Empress, representing creation of life, romance, art or business. It's planting the seed of an idea and patiently waiting for it to be fully born; the need to be receptive to change. Instead of making her a pregnant mermaid, I added a cute seahorse couple with a pregnant male to allude to this symbolism.
She holds a scepter in her hand, a symbol of power that connects her with Earth; she is a primal and creative force that connects the heavens and earth. I added a little sphere of swirling water at the top of her scepter to represent the source of life.
She wears a necklace with 9 pearls (the planets) and around her head are 12 stars, representing the zodiac and her control over the whole year.
I added the nautilus shell as a cornucopia, the horn of plenty that is a symbol of abundance and nourishment, filled to the brim with life, to emphasize the meaning of The Empress.
In another description I read that when she sits in a garden there can be some butterflies present, indicating change, movement and cycle. So I did some research and there is actually a group of marine fish called butterflyfish that hang out at the coral reefs! They have become part of the border in this tarot card.
The keyword is: Matrimony.
It comes from a very traditional (i.e. old-fashioned) vision of the role of the woman: the primordial woman is charming and capricious.
Relationship, marriage and family come first. She balances personal ambition with her intuition. With her thoughtfulness and forward-looking abilities she can make long-term commitments. Problems can always be solved.
Keywords that are associated with this card: caring authority, security and safety, nurturing, affection, fertility, motherhood, unconditional love, abundance, creativity and creation, joyful events, sensuality, empathy, generosity, patience, the embodiment of life.
Reversed: blocked creative energy, emotions blocked by analytical thoughts, irresponsibility, destruction, separation, emotional problems, promiscuity, infertility, disharmony, negligence, too materialistic.
"Orakelen" - Rob van der Wilk
Mind Body Spirit - DeAgostini
* A5 paper (200 g/m2)
* graphite pencils H2 & HB
* Winsor & Newton gold drawing ink
And honestly, so am I.
The next one is the Emperor and if there's one artistic subject I always love to avoid, it's the male figure. I'm just not interested in drawing anything masculine and the result is that I really suck big time when I actually try to draw a man.
But I'm determined to challenge myself. To be continued...