Tarot - Empress


Hello... I'm trying to make my own Tarot deck. I've tried before, but gave up. Here's to trying again, starting with the Major Arcana.

I'm sketching out the Empress card, and here's what I got so far. A blond woman in a flowing dress, levitating a cup between her hands. This is the Holy Grail/Sangreal. It is overflowing with blood which is pouring into a cauldron (the womb of the Goddess, regeneration, rebirth, cornucopia of life) below. There will be fruits, vegetables and flowers on the ground around the cauldron for abundance. There will also be a white swan at the woman's feet and doves and/or butterflies flying around. The background will be either a lush forest, a birch forest, or apple and cherry trees in bloom.

I was wondering about people's opinions about whether this preserves the meaning of the card, and also whether the blood element seems weird or a turn-off to most people. My Temperance card would have this same woman pouring blood between two jars instead of water. Blood is a very potent symbol for life, passion, and intensity for me, so I would see that imagery as a more vivid expression of moderation, balancing emotions, and inner harmony than water.


The concept looks interesting so far, and I'll be watching to see what you'll do with it.

If you can get the imagery right, blood works for me, although many readers may find it too strong an image (that's what diversity is for, right?).

Oddly enough, while I don't have a problem with the blood image for the Empress, I'm not at all sure it fits with Temperance, at least as it has been generally interpreted. But still, go for it. When you have it done, if it works for you, by all means use it.




Great concept. I agree with the blood symbology. There's even the Euchrist where we drink it...

I would go for a dark background to form a natural frame around her. Keep at it, you've made a real good start here.

fly well


She looks too young for an Empress (if you take the Maiden/Mother/Crone way of thinking), I think she should have a few more years on her, or at least a body type not geared to the runway model career. Wider waist, bigger hips, crows feet at the corners of the eyes. Older women don't have the flat stomachs that teens have, and you can see more in their eyes than the younger generation has lived through.

As Empress she's been there, done that, is the sum of all the Queens in the deck. She's had at least 1 kid. She's got experience. Make her too young, and you loose that connection or have a feeling of 'wanna be' because on this card age does matter.


what were you thinking!!???

WOW!! what were you thinking when you got rid of the first try outs for your deck! if they were as beautiful as this one!!....welll wellll!

I understand your drawing and love the theme and idea. I am learning and working on drawing manga/anime type figures myself hehehe. SO, i don't have much issue with the slenderness of the empress b/c i know the type of style you are working with. (i hope i'm right on that one)
on the other hand, in pagan 'tradition' is good to show all the aspects of our lives -maiden mother crone, etc- but hey! it's up to you

I do want to see more of your tatot because because because....well it's exquisite !!

blessed be!
in munay



Thank you all for your input so far! I did try to make her a bit less slender but, as yaraluna said, my style does have strong anime/manga influences. I must also admit that I am working with my personal stories for symbols in this Tarot, and the character I am using for this card, Alla, is supposed to be the most beautiful woman in the world and never had children. However, she represents Empress, Temperance, and overall unified Goddess qualities in the story. I also agree that a dark background would make a great natural frame for the drawing, and would make her (who would be primarily light colors: blond hair, white dress) shine more and have the ethereal effect that I want. However, I can't help but be tempted to draw a blooming apple and a blooming cherry tree in the background, because those two trees have strong symbolism to me tied to this character and also to a background theme of the Holy Grail and Avalon.

The last time I tried drawing Tarot cards I did so on actual-size little pieces of paper, so they didn't look very nice. This time I'm going to draw at least the Major Arcana on 8 1/2" x 11" pieces of paper, color them on coputer, and then shrink them to fit the tarot cards to preserve detail. I still don't know if I'd have the patience to pull off all 78 cards, but I'm willing to give it another try, starting with the less threatening number of 22 Major Arcana. :)


go for it...


If you see the apple and cherry tree background, trust your feelings...

In fact, if she verges on slightly transparent, you might be able to unite her and the background. Great potential.

If you've got photoshop, you could do an entire background as a layer, then layer her on top-- vary her transparency 'til it works...

fly well

Sleeping Magus

Wonderful vision

That is a wonderful card. She represents femininity but also majesty. Dont pay attention to those who say she looks too young or like a runway model. Follow YOUR vision and then they will be YOUR tarot.


Its a beautiful drawing, I do agree that she looks too young to be an empress. When I look at he card I don't think empress, but I'm not going to be the one using them. I think you should follow your heart and create an appropriate deck that you can undestand.