Green Witch Tarot: The Horned God / The Emperor

Disclaimer for new readers: Welcome! I am in the process of illustrating a full tarot deck for Llewellyn Worldwide, the artwork has been shared here with permission from the editor. There is no release date yet for the deck, but it should be sometime in 2015. It will be a full 78 card deck with no borders. The author behind the project is Ann Moura, who is widely known for her Green Witch books.


Illustration of the horned god in the forest surrounded by animals

The Horned God © Kiri Østergaard Leonard, 2014.

The Horned God is one of my favourite cards so far, not because of my own illustration here but because of the character.

The Horned God in Paganism has fascinated me since I as a child found Erica Jong’s book on Witches, illustrated by Joseph A. Smith in my mother’s bookshelf. The book has this stunning illustration of the Horned God, the truly captivates everything the God stands for. The Horned God is a very powerful symbol of authority, power, fertility and raw energy.

The Horned God by Joseph A Smith

The Horned God by Joseph A Smith

The Symbolism
Rider Waite Tarot The Emperor

The Emperor from The Rider Waite Tarot Deck

The Green Witch Tarot card The Horned God is in classic Tarot known as The Emperor. The card symbolizes stability, power and authority but it also symbolizes ego centrism and rigidity. In psychological terms the Emperor is the super-ego.

The card isn’t necessarily a positive card to draw, it suggests that there is something for the reader to overcome:

“Generally, when the Emperor appears in a spread, he is something to be overcome. Some rigidity of thinking, some inflexibility of approach, some external force keeping us from our destiny. A comforting myth the Querent has outgrown. Sometimes, he represents the exterior forces we must accommodate.” – Wikipedia

In The Green Witch Tarot the author of the deck, Ann Moura, describes that the ravens flying around behind the God further symbolizes messages, guardianship, growth and guidance.

The Illustration process

I really enjoyed painting this illustration, I went through a few different color combinations for it. I really liked the lush green without any red tones but the Bergamot flower was essentially to the symbolism of the card so I had to change accommodate that. You can see the steps the illustration went through here:

Illustration of the horned god in the forest surrounded by animals

The illustration process.

Links:
Llewellyn Publishing
Ann Moura
Witches by Erica Jong on Amazon

Kiri Østergaard Leonard
kiri@kirileonard.com

Award winning Illustrator, Artist and Creator Kiri Østergaard Leonard happily shares her experiences making a living as an artist and pursuing a creative life. She grew up in a tiny village in Denmark, left her country behind to pursue art in the bustle of New York City and now resides in the delightful weirdness of Austin, Texas surrounded by sunshine and felines.

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