I admit, the main reason why I decided to add Brave to the Deck after all was this card. Because, who could be a better figure to represent The Empress than Queen Elinor? In her you have the connection between the power and the motherly aspect of the card. I made a few adjustments, though, partly due to the pictures I could choose from, partly because I wasn’t satisfied with having just a picture of Elinor sitting on her throne. So in the end I picked a picture which featured a throne-like stool in which Elinor sits and her crown to symbolize her high status, but which is a little bit less stiff than the pictures in which she sits in her actual throne.
Usually, there is a strong emphasis on nature and grown in The Empress card. Though the productive aspect is still there in the waved basked and the hand-made blanket, my take on the card focusses more on the notion of motherhood and history.
One aspect I was originally not quite happy about is that the card is supposed to be connected to water, but this one is illuminated by the shine of the fire. Water stands for feelings in the Tarot language, while fire is usually connected with the action someone takes. But then I felt that the feeling aspect is already shown in the way Elinor holds Merida. Combined with the warm shine of the fire it gives the picture a sense of protective motherhood, meaning action taken out of feelings, which makes the card a little bit more dynamic by suggesting more agency for The Empress.
Another detail I like is that Elinor and Merida are both literally covered in the history of their ancestors, symbolizing the family line and the stories which shaped their view on the world. But if you read the card in reverse this history is a burden. It shows someone being so dedicated to the expectations placed on her (or him, but since we are talking about Elinor, let’s stick with “her”) that she effectively trapped herself. It’s an indicator to think about your own desires for once and to reconsider if there might be responsibilities one can let go of.
I think after this it is easy to figure out who I picked for The Emperor. But feel free to guess. Until next week.