Monday, July 30, 2007


Just as all but one of my previous Taiga Tarot designs have been, this Empress is dream-inspired. I'd been thinking a lot over the past few days about several different cards I might design next, none of which were III. When I went to sleep last night, I asked that my dreams give me a clear indication of which one to work on next. The first dream image from last night that I recalled this morning was (very briefly put) of a pregnant woman who was gently tapping her belly in a loving way. I immediately thought of The Empress and then associated the individual taps of the dream woman's fingers to the eight visible stars in the crown of the Rider/Waite/Smith version of The Empress. Thus, my Taiga Tarot design for The Empress is:

Here's The Empress in the Rider/Waite/Smith deck for comparison:

As I sketched eight* stars on my version I recalled I used to wonder if there were more stars we could not see toward the back of Her crown. And that led to the line in the tanka about "seen and unseen." There is so much more available to us from Her bounty than we are ever aware of. There, in the unseen reaches of "creative imagination" (said to be a function of III in some traditional teachings). The Empress is basically a card of bounty, beauty, creativity and abundance, and She's often seen as the archetypal mother.

That last, mother, leads me to an old dreamku of mine:

The Empress cradles
Death in Her wide lap

You may note that the card I designed just prior to this one is Death. I did not do this consciously, but I am sure there was some unconscious memory involved in that choice. I won't go on about it all, but my life is very much as it was when I had the Tarot dream that produced the above dreamku. That is, a great deal of life threatening illness and a few deaths around me (my mother among them). An early attempt at a regular dream poem before writing this dreamku addressed the idea of The Empress as a door, based on Her Hebraic letter being Daleth which means door in noun form. At the end of that failed regular poem I spoke to my dying mother, saying: both your doorway and mine swing back//mine opening on this present life//while yours opens//on the Summergarden. ("Summergarden" being where souls go after death in an ancient Celtic tradition.) Ever since, although I only vaguely address this in the pregnant belly shape on the Taiga Tarot design above, I've seen The Empress, above all, as a door. At times, a door not unlike Death's portal. The difference being in directions.

* On checking the RWS III version I see there are actually 12 stars. See what happens when one relies on a sleepy aging memory? LOL! But the line about "seen and unseen" still applies in the tanka. It's just that the road I took to the thought is slightly askew.

BRIEF BACKGROUND ON THE TAIGA TAROT (Click here for additional background on the Taiga Tarot.):

Please note: This deck is not necessarily being designed for use in divination, but rather to share taiga based on each of 78 Tarot cards.

When I decided the name of the deck would be The Taiga Tarot, I liked not only the alliteration but the resemblance of the word “taiga” to “tiger.” One of my power animals is the Siberian Tiger (and by extension, all tigers), which first appeared as three tiger kittens in a dream. What I had completely forgotten at the time was that the area of Siberia in which the tiger ranges is called “The Taiga”!

A “taiga” (briefly put) is an illustrated tanka. A “tanka” is a mood poem written in five lines, that usually references natural images and human emotions. Also, there is often a contrast or conclusion or response in the last two lines to the first three. I recognize that the tanka/taiga I’m developing for The Taiga Tarot are non-traditional. As with the dream haiku I write, I am not only attempting to bridge two things – with this deck, Tarot and taiga – but also bringing my own experimental slant to it all.

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‘til next time, keep enjoying The Tarot,


[aka: Patricia Kelly]

****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)**** SEE ALSO: Roswila’s Tarot Gallery & Journal and Roswila’s Dream & Poetry Realm.****


Anonymous said...

It looks like you have room for 4 more stars there on the left.

Does the Empress require a balanced look to the stars, or can you sort of scatter the others as if they are pollen leaving the flower?


Roswila said...

Well, oino, I could add 4 stars (and did consider doing so) but I think it would crowd the design whether in a balanced or scattered way. I also thought about re-doing it in the same manner except with 12 somewhat smaller stars. However, the number eight is often said to be about manifestation. Which sort of fits with that pregnant belly shape, yes? :-) But mostly, I'm just content with how it is.

BTW, I like the image of "scatter the others as if they are pollen leaving the flower..."

Anonymous said...

I love this one! I hadn't been to your Taiga page for weeks, and I stop by today to see a new card :)

I can't explain why exactly, but this card design really appeals to me -- it speaks to the best of the Empress, imho!

Mary Pat

Roswila said...

Ah my intuitive friend, not surprised you'd stop by when there was a new design up. :-) Yesterday's Daily Dreamku was one on the same pregnant belly dream.

Glad you like Her. The Empress is one of those cards that has not so much followed me around the way The Moon did and The Star is starting to do. III sort of drops by every so often, and she sometimes portends a resourceful woman will enter my life. Hmmmm...

Eva Yaa Asantewaa said...

I like it. It looks like a liberation of the stars on the traditional Empress's crown.


Roswila said...

"...liberation of the stars..." what a wonderful line, Eva! Yes, an expansion of what they are from the earthly crown to ... who knows?