III The Empress
Sue Silva
The Red Tent

Some of the positive traditional meanings of the Empress card include security, protection, femininity, patient unconditional love, and Mother Earth Gaia, giver of life and earthly gifts, Goddess of abundance, the womb & Queenship of Heaven.

It was quite a challenge to find a Classic that had a feminine aspect as the main character. I chose The Red Tent by Anita Diamant to illustrate. It is a memoir of Dinah, narrated by her in the first person voice. She recounts her life from birth to death, as well as the lives of her mothers. Her story takes place during the Old Testament times, from 1800 BC to 1500 BC in the Middle East areas of Iraq, Israel & Egypt.

She marries a Prince, against her father's wishes and runs off to Egypt where she helps empower women to stand up for themselves. She teaches them the powers of the moon and the moontime, dreams, healing, renewal, motherhood and childbirth.

The red tent is the sacred gathering place where midwives, artists & mothers came together to experience childbirth and the moontime in a safe space. It is where they learned to prepare for a lifetime of sacrifice & selfless giving as mothers.

In my depiction of the book, I have painted Dinah as a compassionate Empress, lovingly watching over her beloved lands. She wears a royal purple headpiece adorned with silver stars and a lapis necklace. The tent suggests the birth/rebirth process of letting go and renewal. The butterfly, transformation. The dolphin, spiritual connection with Earth and space. The triple pyramids from the era in the story (also connected to Isis, Goddess of heaven). The five pointed wildflower, the pentacle of nature which grew in the region at that time. The wheat in her hair, abundance. The turtle, the symbol of Gaia in numerous traditions. The waterfall and merging of the water and blood and earth to prepare the soil for the planting of the crops.

III - The Empress

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