Green Witch Tarot: The Sidhe / Temperance

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.

sidhe fly through window of witch brew potion tarot temperance

The Sidhe © Kiri Østergaard Leonard, 2014.

The symbolism
Rider Waite Tarot: Temperance

Rider Waite Tarot: Temperance

The Sidhe marks the 11th Green Witch Tarot card illustration I have completed for Llewellyn Worldwide. Traditionally the card is named Temperance and in the well known Rider Waite tarot the the card is a standard symbol for the virtue temperance, which is represented by the dilution of wine with water. The main character of the card if often represented as a female or androgynous person who stands with one foot on water and one on land. The card also symbolizes harmony, recovery and healing, along with joining forces.

As the author of the deck, Ann Moura, describes it; in the Green Witch Tarot the focus is the Sidhe – the horde of fairies who brings enlightenment to the witch. The cow in the window is a symbol for a connection to the Goddess and a nurturing being. The lavendar on the table is for fairy aid, magic and clarity.


The illustration process.

This card took me longer than many of the others because of the amount of details in it. I was immediately concerned with being able to portray the Sidhe horde in a way that did it justice. I have high expectations to artwork involving fairies because of the stunning fairy art by Brian Froud and Alan Lee. I had an idea I wanted to use Alan Lee’s work as inspiration for my horde but because of size restraints I couldn’t quite work it out the way I originally intended.

As you can see on the step by step process here the card underwent a lot of changes as it progressed. The initial witch looked too Asian, the deck is meant to be solely Caucasian because it is rooted in Celtic folklore. I repainted the face but it still didn’t look quite right until a friend helped me out with accurate photo reference at which point her features changed completely.

Another issue was to keep the cropping in mind, what you see here in the full uncropped art, but once printed some of the sides will be taken off and on the bottom parts will be covered by text. Therefore I had to re-scale the piece several times to insure the cropped version would look optimal.

sidhe horde witch cauldron potion

Illustration process of The Sidhe © Kiri Østergaard Leonard, 2014

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this look at my illustration progress. If you are a tarot enthusiast and excited about this deck, please share with your friends and remember, comments are always welcome!

To view all cards posted on the blog so far, please click here: Green Witch Tarot

Kiri Østergaard Leonard

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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