First Quarter Moon “Discovering The Empress”

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”     

Pablo Picasso

For this weeks in-focus look at The Oracle of Change, I have drawn The Empress, numbered 3 in The Major Arcana. In this deck, The Empress relates directly to the internal creative process; in tune with the decks “midlife and onwards” resonance, this card represents the importance of expressing the creative self in ways other than in the bearing of children. The Empress in this deck is not a depicted by a pregnant or even remotely maternal looking woman, but by a female figure that emanates sunlight, freedom and light, something which in many tarot decks, is confined to more ‘masculine’ cards. The Empress as depicted in The Oracle of Change, makes room for the less traditional feminine energies of self determination and the liberty to be creative in the absence of child bearing. She represents the feminine potential and the essence of the creative urge. The number 3 relates directly to creativity, where two energies meet, a third is created and something is produced.

Images of The Empress from The Oracle of Change

In the same way, myself and Aia, have created a work of art between us, something which would have not evolved in its present incarnation without the valuable input of us both. A unique combination of Art and Story, it is a creative alliance between a writer and an artist, between two friends, and also between two mothers, but most of all, between two women who have come to understand in a most profound way, the inevitability, the importance, and the power of change. The resulting work has been lovingly crafted from the inspiration of two people who wish to share their gifts with the world.

Aia Leu is a fine art painter who works in oil and watercolour. A self-taught third generation artist, she learned the foundations of art from her parents and also studied figure sketching as a teenager in Vevey, Switzerland, with the artist Philippe Sandoz. Her paternal grandmother,  the famous Swiss artist  Eva Aeppli, is known for her modern art sculptures of figures and her work is owned by museums such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Aia’s work draws directly from her multicultural and bohemian upbringing, which saw her raised ‘on the road’, as her parents followed their dream of a life of ‘art and freedom’. Particularly influenced by both the childhood years she spent in India, and the richness of the Irish landscape where she has raised her family, The Oracle of Change beautifully expresses the diversity of her inspiration. Aia moved to Kenmare in Ireland in 1989, where she lives in the mountains; she has been exhibiting her paintings and publishing her own work and the work of her family since 1999.

It was several years ago now, that Aia and I decided to combine our talents to create this Unique Oracle Deck. We had been looking at some old Tarot cards that she had got from her late grandmother, the artist Eva Aeppli, and after I had researched them, I discovered that they were a very rare deck of Majors only that had been painted by the artist Samuel Mercer, who had been married to Aia’s grandmother. The “Omaha Old Market Tarot” was designed primarily to be used by customers in the “Old Market” area of Omaha, Nebraska. This discovery got us talking about Aia’s rich artistic heritage and also the astrological inspiration that her grandmother had drawn on for some of her major sculptural works. 
It was from these discussions around Aia’s kitchen table, that the idea developed, for her to paint a deck of cards to match the 78 stories that I had written in my explorations of the Thoth deck. 

From those small beginnings, the project has finally blossomed, and will soon be born!.  

Top Left: Aia Leu at her ‘Spirits’ exhibition, 2014. Middle Left: Aia Leu with other family members, painting ‘live’ at the ‘Boom’ festival. Bottom Left: Berber Tattooing, an acclaimed study of the tattooing practices of the Berber tribes people, beautifully illustrated by Aia Leu. Main Picture: The Leu Family, taken in Bombay 1981. Tattooists Felix and Loretta Leu, with their children Filip, Ama, Aia & Ajja.

In my own intuitive exploration of The Empress, I found myself walking near my childhood home, coming face to face with a piece of sculpture that I had created in my teenage years. Coming from a family that seems to have also had more than its fair share of artists, writers and publishers, it has taken me rather a long time to ‘catch up’. The wisdom that I drew from my exploration of The Empress, is that it is never too late to allow room for creative expression, and that it is important not to judge your efforts against others work. I found it extraordinary that Aia created something that so resembled the figurine that I made so many years ago, without ever having seen it; the magic of words!.

The artists studio, along with the Thoth Empress, and The Empress from The Oracle of Change.

Thoth Journey-The Oracle of Change

Gift Boxed Limited First Edition

Full Colour Illustrated Book with Gilt Edged 78 Card Oracle Deck

A new age is dawning, with a need for a new wisdom, one that comes from the heart. This book is dedicated to all those who find themselves, for whatever reason, in darkness; given with love, this work, is a product of our times.


Joanna Grant. D.F.Astrol.S

My name is Joanna Grant, I am an Astrologer, Tarot Reader and Writer, who lives on the beautiful Beara Peninsula in the South West of Ireland. I can often be found at home, deep in arcane research, or practicing some new form of divination whilst burning the dinner! My children probably wish that I was “normal” but may well remember my eccentricities fondly when they come to face the challenges of their own paths. My long knowledge of Astrology leads and informs my practice, in offering guidance, empowerment and healing, helping others to lead a more authentic and magical life. You can read more about me here.

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