Last week's introduction to the Mother of the Tarot, the Empress, reminded us for the maternal energy of Mama Earth and the maternal intensity within ourselves to nurture our dreams, our creativity, and our inner child. The Emperor, number IV of the major arcana, follows the Empress.
Regal, staid, authoritative, he acts as the Father of the Tarot. Paternal energy abounds when Emperor shows up in your reading. The Emperor arrives when you feel empowered, established, knowledgeable, strong, and independent. He is also the archetype of the Leader. Father and leader. Marcia Masino called him the "Christ-figure" of the Major Arcana, the one bringing light. As she explains, "He is the indwelling spiritual ego, the Master causing right instruction and goodwill to be done within the temple." This light within the Emperor resides within all of us. It is the drive to follow our Divine Will. The Emperor is the card which validates our choices. "You know what to do," he says. You are the authority on your Divine path. God lays it out in front of you. You walk it with authority.
He is also practical, mature, reasoned. A general and an engineer. So, this sense of understanding the Divine path is something that comes from the hard work of shedding ego, releasing the things no longer serving us, and moving forward with knowledge that we have brought the shovel to move mountains. When the Emperor comes, this is the work you have done. Your solid foundation is built of knowledge, truth, fearless self-appraisal, logic, reason, and a bit of compromise that looks nothing like compromise. It looks like honest assessment, as all compromise should be. The truth will bubble to the surface when all the options are boiled in a pot together, and the Emperor is the one to skim it off the top.
In the Fool's journey, we are nurtured by the Empress then brought to the Emperor, the father-figure, the seat of rules, authority, stability, and leadership. He is the card you draw when you need structure and organization, or finally have it. He is the foundation, the stability, the hard organization work of building your leadership qualities, or your business/career, or your household. When you need the rules, or are rebelling against them, or when you are finally coming into a place of power within yourself, the Emperor appears to validate that work.
The crux of the brilliance of Tarot is the many-layered interpretation which we apply to our emotional, physical, and spiritual life through Tarot's deep, rich symbolism. When we pull the Emperor, we decide who this card represents. Is it our leadership, or someone else's? How are we like the Emperor? How are we not? It has often been associated with the astrological sign of Aries, and can sometimes come to represent an Aries man or woman in your life. Or your own father, or someone who has come to take a paternal role in your life.
A good affirmation for the Emperor is:
I walk my Divine path with full authority and knowledge.
I'd love to hear your interpretation of the Emperor, or your feelings about this card, the Tarot or any topic you'd like me to cover in this blog. I also urge you to sign up for my newsletter, which links to my blog posts of the week and more information about Moon cycles, tarot, crystal healing and other groovy topics. You can sign up here.