Upright: Creativity and creation (parenthood and artistic creation of all kinds); home/place building
Reverse: Madness, a creative block, homelessness/lack of community
I chose Alice Lowe’s Ruth as the subject for the Empress card because once Lowe’s film, Prevenge started, I knew instantly I wanted to make something about it.
Slasher films are a personal favorite of mine and there it was on Shudder.com—a movie about a knife-wielding pregnant woman on a singular path of destruction. While I shall never know the true fear of bringing a child into this world, the film itself illustrates this anxiety in a way that only the horror genre can.
Ruth takes instructions from who she believes is her own fetus—telling her she must take revenge on a group of people for their transgressions against both mother and child. As Ruth hunts each of her victims down, (cataloging her escapades in the creepiest baby book), she is patronized, ignored, and pushed aside by people who only see her baby bump. I don’t want to say much more because you should really find and watch this film.
The Empress is a card about creation (aka motherhood/creative expression). This card tends to be a beautiful, blissful white woman in a garden surrounded by flowers and such, and I simply wasn’t feeling that. Not after seeing this film and learning that Alice Lowe wrote, directed, and starred in Prevenge while pregnant in her 40s. She took creation to a meta-level, going so far as to cast her ten-day-old daughter as her character’s newborn infant in the film (the baby has a film credit!) This is badass. It is inspiring to see an artist combine her life and work in this way. Prevenge is ultimately a dark and twisted look on the fear of being in charge. Whether that’s having your first child or creating your first film: that is the embodiment of this card. Making things is intense and scary work.
Further reading: Emily Yoshida’s article on Vulture.