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The Lover's Path: Fertility - Cleopatra and Caesar

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The Lover's Path: Fertility - Cleopatra and Caesar

The fourth Major in The Lover's Path Tarot, Fertility, the story of Cleopatra and Caesar, is equivalent to the traditional Empress. Inside a row of columns, the couple poses before the observer. A pregnant Cleopatra sits in a wooden chair, adorned with heavy jewelry about her neck and wrists. She wears large earings and an elaborate Egyptian coiffure, but no crown. Cleopatra wears a golden white maternity dress and her feet are bare. This is an earthy Empress, well grounded and practical, but with an expensive artistic taste and sense of style.

Behind her, somewhat overshadowed by his impressive wife, Julius Caesar stands with the trappings of a victorius general, the victory laurel in his hair, and light armour across his torso. Caesar appears not to be her equal, but represents her inner strength, the stability upon which the Empress grows. Round about her feet, a small riot of cats has broken out, representing female fertility, wisdom, intuition and style. Evocative of the traditional strength card, a lion waits tamely the background, showing how the Empress has mastered her instincts and uses them at her will.

A blue starry night superimposed on a map of their combined empire evokes the power of the Empress at work in the world. At the front of this scene, four cup shaped flowers remind me of champagne glasses, symbolic of the couple's romance and pledge to each other.

I would have at first connected Cleopatra with Marc Antony, and thought of the story of how she had received him once in her chamber. As he approached her he had to stride through roses which came up to the level of his knees. But a card with this image would be more expressive of the Lovers than the Empress. Kris Waldherr's choice of pairing Cleopatra with Caesar to image the Fertility card speaks clearly of the sovereignty of the feminine creative principle.
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