The Empress is the fourth card in the Rider-Waite Tarot deck. She symbolises passion, love, motherhood, life and abundance. Her passion flows into all she does, like the waterfall in the background. She has a crown with 12 stars, representing the 12 signs of the zodiac, crowning her as the Queen of Heaven. Her shield bears the symbol of women, which is the sign for Venus/Aphrodite, the Goddess of love, beauty and desire. The Empress is also seen as the Great Goddess, force of Nature, Mother Earth. The wheat growing around her symbolises fertility, the pomegranates on her long flowing dress stand for life, death and rebirth. She's leaning against rich red cushions and sitting on a red velved cloak, which symbolise passion, while her white dress and shield represent purity. Notice the red shoe peeping out from under her dress. This card has a yellow sky, the colour of the sun, a sign for creativity, optimism and intellect. She carries a golden sceptre with the golden globe on the world upon it. Round the base of her crown is a wreath of leaves, and behind her is a lush green lanscape with trees.
I chose this card because I felt the Empress resonated with my other Goddess mosaics - she's an interpretaion of what my Goddesses stand for. My mosaic follows the original artwork of Pamela Colman Smith in the recoloured version by Mary Hanson-Roberts from what is known as the "Universal Waite Tarot Deck". Since the mosaic isn't my own design I did not add a signiature tile, it is only signed on the back. It was a very novel experience, following someone else's design and trying to render it as closely as possible in mosaic, but I love artwork of this deck, and I enjoyed every minute.
I used a lot of broken plates on this one, as well as mosaic glass, beads, mirror and ball chain. All the shading on her long flowing dress is done with mirror, which makes her dress shimmer as you move. The hardest part was trying to get her face right: she has a very peacefull yet powerful expression in the original. The trees are pieced togther from some beautiful picture plates, and one personal addition I ventured to the card are four little butterflies in the wheat field.
The Empress measures 40 x 60 cm. Grouted in dark gray with some painted grout lines.