Pronouns: She, her

+ Upright: The creator; parenthood; artistic creation; building of home and place; utter creative madness and fervor 

– Reverse: Rotting from the inside; death of the first house; crippling mental illness; fanaticism; scattered thoughts 

Writer, director, and actress, Alice Lowe is depicted here as Ruth, an unhinged serial killer who is on a murderous rampage while simultaneously bringing a new life into this world in the 2016 slasher horror film Prevenge. I chose her as the subject for the Empress card because a movie about a knife wielding pregnant woman on a singular path of destruction has never been a better example of everything this card is about. The fear of parenthood, the pressure of serving as the first home for a new human being, and the creativity required by Lowe to bring this character to life—all are the essence of the Empress.

In the film, Lowe plays Ruth, a woman taking instructions from a voice she believes is her unborn fetus—telling her she must take revenge on a group of people for their transgressions against both her and her unborn child. As Ruth hunts each of her victims down, (cataloging her escapades in the creepiest of baby books), she is patronized, ignored, and pushed aside by people who see only her baby bump. She is rendered nearly invisible and is able to infiltrate, easily lowering her victim’s guard. Alice Lowe wrote the screenplay and when trying to get it made was pushed to direct it herself. She even cast her newborn in the film as her character’s own daughter. 

The Empress is a card about creation and giving birth to people or ideas. When negatively aspected it’s time to talk about the toll this effort takes on us. Regardless of whether your body has a uterus, the act of “birthing” something new into this world can fracture us physically and mentally. 

This card in a reading could refer to the excitement or the pressure of responsibility at work or at home. The Empress is a sign of leadership and maturity for which we are not always prepared. Sometimes it’s about rising to the challenge and figuring things out as they come along. 

Emily Yoshida’s article on Vulture.

August 30, 2022 — Genevieve Barbee-Turner