Venus. Mother Goddess Archetype. The green woman. Hathor. Demeter. Fertility. Fruitfulness. Force of Nature. Love. Sensual Pleasure.
NONE of the above seems to apply to my life right now. (Ok, I do have a friend nicknamed "Hathor"... ) Hoping to make self-fulfilling prophecies work in my favor, I vetoed various bummer cards that felt more timely and sought something more upbeat.
I turned to one of my first inspirations, a sculpture that I felt embodied my Tarot Empress. Found in the Hirshhorn sculpture garden in January 1996, when the entire mall was under 3 feet of snow: Standing Woman by Gaston Lachaise.
After more than a decade, my opinion about the card changed. I'd originally envisioned the Empress as red, potent, more of a scarlet woman. I've grown to want more of an earth mother, reclined, relaxed. Not nearly as stern as this statue.
I considered "demoting" her to, say the Queen of Wands, where I'd happily go with my original plan of making her red. Or, using one of Lachaise's seated figures instead. Ultimately though, she was the Empress I first envisioned.
Oddly enough, while I had recognized her as, you know, full-figured, I didn't realize just how bodacious her tatas really are. Until I had to deal with them in photoshop. My clever plan to use (Bright Red!) pomegranates for modesty completely backfired. However, it gave me the opportunity to get crazy with the Warp tool, while being topical (referencing the Myth of Persephone). The wheat was also positioned with an eye to modesty, not hermaphroditism. I didn't notice that until someone else pointed it out to me.
The background is compromised of heavily filtered images of beer (Hathor) and starry nights. The crown is derived from the Statue of Liberty (Motherland). The heart and Venus symbol (here stylized as more of an Ankh) are traditional to the card image.