I’m in Michigan presently taking advantage of my aunt’s excellent tea cup collection. I love tea. I love tarot. Bringing them together gives me another reason to take photos of my decks in pretty places with pretty things. 😉 And now I’m back to the process of getting marrieds tomorrow.
There is a bug going around and I don’t recommend you invite it in for tea. Tell it there is no tea, no soda crackers, no coffee, and absolutely no girl scout cookies to be had so it better move on to the next house. Now, if it tries to tempt you to let it in with offerings of tea, soda crackers, coffee, and thin mints be strong and point it up the road. It’s taken my household about four weeks to get this bug out of our systems and we still sound like a bunch of chain smokers who occasionally gargle broken glass for the ambient noise. Now, with that said, back to the card of the day posts!
This will be my first card of the day that is not from one of my own decks. Today’s card is the Empress and it was drawn from the very first deck I ever bought myself, the Haindl Tarot. If you’re unfamiliar with this deck let me start by saying it’s incredibly beautiful. It was created by Hermann Haindl and was first published at the start of the 90s. The symbolism is very non traditional and features imagery that spans Native American, Quabbalah, I Ching, and Runes themes. It was absolutely not a beginner tarot reader deck. I simply fell in love with the artwork.
For a long time I used this deck for my daily creative writing. Writing, for me, is a skill that needs to be maintained to keep it from getting rusty. So I usually set aside a half hour for a quick bit of creative writing. I would shuffle this deck and pick a random card and use the artwork and symbolism as the topic of that writing. I especially loved the Empress card because of how haunting and mysterious it was. It didn’t matter if I picked it on multiple occasions, there was always something new there for me to write about.
The Haindl Empress shows a woman standing atop a moon-like crescent shape that floats on water. One arm is encircled by a snake and in the other she holds a pine-comb topped scepter. Above her is a floating eye and behind her an open doorway. The symbols above is the symbol daleth, the 4th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and comes from the word door. Floating directly above the woman’s head is a shape like the hagal rune. From the book Pictures from the Heart: A Tarot Dictionary (by Sandra A. Thomson) it explains “In the Renaissance card, the figure is Eve. The ‘mother of runes,’ Hagall, enclosed in a hexagram, is one of the runes that appears on the Haindl Empress card. As the ‘framework of the world’ rune, it represents cosmic harmony.” This Empress card has a lot going on.
Try as I might this card still inspires me to write. So my intentional reading ended with me spending an hour writing about a goddess whose name has been forgotten to history, forever standing just outside a door to reality, peering in but never returning to it. That in itself is rather therapeutic. I haven’t done much these past few weeks creatively except find new and interesting ways to complain about how crappy I felt. A good somber story about a mysterious woman makes my heart happy.
Speaking of the Empress, this is an etching my gent did for me many years ago. I was beginning to get more involved in learning the tarot and I happened to tell him that the cards most representing us (as far as elements and zodiac signs went) were the Emperor and Empress cards. Somewhere in that conversation I also mentioned (randomly, oh those old conversations were so random) my frustration with my very large ears that had just enough of a point, but not a point in which I could claim to be an elf. During that conversation he began working on this piece. At the random ear point he ended up giving his Empress proper pointy ears. 😉
I absolutely love this etching. It sits next to my side of the bed these days. Over the years I’ve tried to gently prod him into creating a full major arcana in this style. He thought about it for awhile, but alas his work schedule these days doesn’t give him a lot of time to tinker with etchings that can be rather time consuming. I’m still hoping though. The couple that makes tarot decks together stays together. That’s a saying, right? Artwork is copyright Myke Amend and reposted here with his permission of course.
The one thing I didn’t mention in my Emperor card of the day post was how I always view that card as representing my gent. He is the sun to my moon. I remember reading once that Aries is related to the Emperor card as Taurus is related to the Empress card. This is he and I respectively, though I have since learned it kind of depends on who you ask about sun signs and their related tarot cards. The point being, when I do these cards in my decks I think of he and I. So much so that he’s actually the model for my Sepia Stains Emperor card. So I find it interesting to get the Empress card the day after the other.
If the Emperor is the father of the tarot the Empress is its mother. She represents fertility, beauty and expression through creativity. She represents how I look upon the world. I see the beauty in nature, the beauty in creation, and just how incredible our world is when we take a good look at it. I think after having gone through all that fuss of the first major holiday in my home, the days after felt like a moment to take a breath and smile; to look around me and see how beautiful my world is and how that beauty tries to present itself in all that I do. I hope it does at least.
That said, the Empress card here is from my Attic Halloween Tarot. The appearance of this Empress may seem to contradict a few of those thoughts and I’m not sure if my explanation behind it will help that any. The card is also titled The Immortal Masquerade and pictures a once beautiful woman who has lived many years and puts her beauty back on in the form of a mask before she goes back into the world. She’s surrounded by beautiful things, but also reminders that beauty is fleeting. Her eyes are bright though and she has learned a thing or two over her many years. What you see might be cracking but what lay beneath is eternal. When I made the card I played Berlin’s Masquerade over and over. Lyrically it’s a bit of a strange melancholy song, but the melody is upbeat and it just makes me happy, just as the Empress card makes me happy. The strange lass looking over the card is my Lizzy Borden Living Dead Doll (why yes, I am the keeper of strange things) and she was helping me with some product photography and just had to throw herself into the mix.