My first design for The Empress did not pan out. For a while I was all "Oh, dear, Oh, dear, what to do with her now?" Even when I decided on the central figure it could have gone any number of ways. The lady is billed as a Freak Show performer, which suits her perfectly to my needs but kind of beggars the question: did they really expect an audience to believe that all that fur was growing on her? Well... they were simpler times, yes?
But growing is the right word for this card. She is concealing her pregnancy under all that extra hair, and she is holding court in an elegant, somewhat spidery greenhouse. A framed arrangement of flowers hangs on the trunk of a large tree. I like the thought that it's actually growing out of the tree: a symbol of design emerging from nature. Traditional symbols are found on her crown and scepter. I literally renamed her just as I was about to post the image! "The Leading lady" was just going to be the title of this post -- but I liked it so much I decided to keep it. I think she's ready for her close-up now!
Next up: THE HANGED MAN.