Empire built on freedom’s bones
The despot hears cheers
Blue Rose Tarot
Created by Paula Gibby
Produced by Soul Guidance, 2001
The Book says: He is the Emperor. Like the Empress, he has many gifts to offer a journeying Fool. He brings logic, order and structure to our physical world. He provides protection with the force of his will and the strength of his arm. He defends us from those who would threaten us and maintains the boundaries of what is ours. Because of him, we dwell safe and secure.
The strength and magic of the Great Father lies in that dual capacity to provide not only the force of his protection, but also the enormous strength of his love. Strength and tenderness combine in him and it is important to remember that, while he is a great Warrior, he is also a great Father.
TarotBroad’s Buzz: I think Yul Brynner as the Emperor was very appropriate. Every fiber in his body shouts his confidence, self-esteem and absolutely conviction that he is wise and knows what is best for his people and his family. His arrogance is both obvious and somehow touching. You get the feeling that he is a benevolent tyrant. I have to be honest – I’ve never seen The King and I (I just can’t sit through MGM style musicals). But even in my two favorite Yul Brynner roles (Ramses in The Ten Commandments and Chris in The Magnificent Seven) he embodies the positive and negative aspects of The Emperor.
He believes that his decisions are for the best and will benefit his people. Sometimes his arrogance makes him unable to see how self-serving they may also be. His pride ensures that you have to be very cautious in how you approach him. But he is not unreasonable or unable to listen to reason. He may be stubborn and set in his ways, perhaps even trapped by his position and the weight of its responsbilities. But he is not mean-spirited or unnecessarily harsh. He is a protector and a leader, and will do what is necessary to carry out his duties to the best of his abilities.
Created by Arnell Ando
Published by Ink Well Publishing
The Book says: A person who is learning to master self-control. One who uses natural leadership abilities to guide others. Animus or masculine influence. Father figure. Stable, realistic, logical. Ambition and worldly gain. One who is willing to listen to the counsel of others but confidently follows their own convictions. This card can also stand for an authority figure seeking to establish dominance and control, or some confrontation with an authority figure, such as one’s father or employer or someone who upholds tradition, laws, systems and structure.
TarotBroad’s Buzz: This Emperor exudes a gentle strength and confidence. He seems confident and comfortable with his surroundings – both at one with them and in command of them. The phallic tree symbolizes masculine power and strength, while the abundant growth represents his contribution to fertility and creativity.
The Emperor also strikes me as being somewhat sad. As though he has gained the wisdom of the tree and found that his knowledge is a burden as well as a gift. He may understand and know more now, but that learning has taken away his innocence. And he seems to mourn that loss. But he will provide the stable foundation necessary to build an empire. He will use his wisdom and his intelligence to create a better world for his family and his people. He will do what is necessary to ensure they do not want for food and shelter. But at night, when he is alone with his Empress, he mourns for his lost innocence and secretly wishes he could turn back time.
Mansions of the Moon Tarot
by ZADOK (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Traditional Meaning: Power & authority, laws, discipline, active male principle
TarotBroad’s Buzz: Akhenaten is an interesting choice for the Emperor. Pharoahs were viewed as all-mighty God-Kings, holding the power of life and death over their people. But Akhenaten was a little different. He weakened the power of the priests of Amen-Ra, and focused his worship on Aten – the solar disc with claw-tipped rays emanating from it. Akhenaten also broke with tradition by having himself and his family portrayed in a more realistic (almost caricaturish) style, rather than the standard straight, perfect forms usually seen in Egyptian art. Akhenaten is shown as being somewhat effeminate and curved in appearance, with a rounded abdomen and sloping forehead. This is quite a contrast to his wife Nefertiti’s perfectly formed features. He also moved his capital and temple to el Amarna, despite the prostests of the priests.
By most accounts Akhenaten’s rule was seen as joyous (at least as reflected in the art at that time) and, if not the best ruler of Egypt he certainly doesn’t seem to be the worst. He is often portrayed with his wife and children and there is some speculation that his wife disappeared from the records because she became his co-ruler and eventual successor, Smenkara. She was also quite active in promoting the worship of Aten. He is also something of an iconoclast – breaking with the polytheistic traditions of his ancestors to focus on the sole worship of Aten. Akhenaton is also the father/father-in-law of Tutankhamen, the boy-king and probably the most famous Pharoah known in modern times.
I find this image of an Egyptian Pharoah very interesting. Akhenaten symbolizes the power and authority of the Emperor, softened by his love for his wife and family. He was also open to new ideas and concepts, as shown by his willingness to limit his religious worship to Aten, despite the furor it caused. He could be seen as a wise ruler open to new ideas and thought and willing to listen to others but he also knew how to use his power and authority if the need arose. Overall Akhenaten could be viewed as a positive, powerful & beneficent Emperor.
Wheel of Change Tarot
created by Alexandra Gennetti
Published by Destiny Books, 1997
The Book Says: “The Emperor is a lawgiver, and the hierarchical structure of society gives him the power to dispense his law. He believes that this is the only structure of human society that will preserve order and will bring growth. His law is the law of the land, and he is a strict disciplinarian. He is the father in a family whose just rule must be obeyed; he believes that freedom given to individuals results in chaos, so under his rule people will be more secure if they do not think for themselves. He will think for everyone and we will be like children under him.”
My interpretation: The Emperor represents the structure and laws created by society. He is a father/king figure. He often reminds me of the legendary Arthur – who created a structured and lawful society only to find himself trapped by his own rules. This Emperor represents the Solar king but he also has a connection to the structures and cycles of nature. The oak leaves and acorns connect him with the myths of the Oak King and the Holly King who take turns winning control of nature at the Solstices. The silver and gold orbs show his connection to the conscious and the unconscious, his masculine and feminine sides. He seems imposing yet approachable.
This Emperor is a firm ruler but not an unfairly rigid one. He can be both the benevolent dictator and the harsh taskmaster. I see this card as representing that side of human nature that craves rules and regulations to follow. Not having to think for ourselves can often be very appealing to humans. If we don’t have to think then we also don’t have to take responsibility for our actions. The Emperor is both the positive side of laws, civilization and society and the negative side (“I was just following orders”)
Celtic Wisdom Tarot
Text by Caitlin Matthews, art by Olivia Raynor
Destiny Books, 1999 ISBN 0-89281-720-8
The Book says: The Keeper shows Teutatis (Ruler of the People), a title that is recognized across the Celtic world. The regional chieftains and rulers of every tribe all came under the fatherly eye of the Keeper. Due to the fractious nature of local tribal chieftains, a strong ruler or over king (Ard Righ) who could reconcile factions and galvanize tribes into a common purpose was invaluable.
Keywords: Leadership, administration, stability, the harmony of orderly peace, independence, autonomy, authority, fatherhood, intelligence, benevolence, self-assurance.
Reversed: Disorganization, instability, dependence, subservience, ineffectual, authoritarian, domineering, ruthless.
Soul-Wisdom: The Keeper of Harmony maintains the order of life. As the father of his people, he will not let them fall into chaos and dissension. What is the source of your own authority as a human being?
TarotBroad’s Buzz: To me this card symbolizes the positive and beneficial aspects of the Emperor as well as suggesting how restricting that position can be. Teutatis holds the two figures firmly in order to prevent them from battling from each other. He is trying to maintain the peace without overpowering them. The game board beneath Teutatis’ face represents the need for strategy and planning before taking action. Even war is often a matter of proper strategizing and outwitting your opponent. The golden torc symbolizes rulership in Celtic lands. And the bramble or vine, which can grow in any soil, represents a something which grows quickly and is not easily removed. So the Keeper shows us a wise, tenacious ruler who uses his judgment and strength to protect his people.
When I was looking at this card and reviewing the history of the Celtic tribal battles I was immediately struck by the fact that The Keeper would be an ideal president of the US. The Keeper ruled over the local tribal chieftains as the President rules over local governors. The Keeper must use wits, strategy, determination and strength of will to enforce his rule and protect his people, from others and from himself. This is also something useful to US Presidents. But at the same time a poor Keeper would be more dangerous to his people than the anarchy he supposedly holds back. Ditto for a US President. And to some extent The Keeper is trapped in his position, like a US President. Their personal feelings about an issue cannot interfere with their ability to make an executive decision and take a stand. He must always act in the best interest of his people or he is not worthy of his office.
A true leader, The Keeper understands that more can be gained through wits and strategy than through dominance and aggression. He is strong but not a bully and prefers to battle with his intellect rather than a spear. The Keeper’s strength is what allows his people to flourish and build a stable foundation. Upon that foundation great cities may rise and fall but without that stability they may never exist at all. The Keeper is the stern father-figure who holds us all accountable for our actions and metes out punishment as needed. He understands that consequences are an important part of maturing and if we never fail then we lose opportunities for growth and to experience life. Without his strength and reliability behind us, we might not feel confident enough to face failure and the vicissitudes of life. With his support and wisdom we feel capable of overcoming any obstacles in our path.