27 August 2009


This card is perfect for recent events.

Tarot is a lens to help us see the deeper layers of things, to see below the surface. "X-ray glasses" don't let you see the future. Tarot doesn't let you see the future either - but it does let you see deeper, understand better, and see the potentials unfolding around you. Great wisdom and insight might seem like it can predict the future, but it really isn't doing that. Reading probabilities well isn't the same as speaking with certainty about the about-to-be.

Let's look at the surface of the Emperor card. What is your first mental image and feeling when you see or hear the word "emperor"? Julius Ceasar? Napoleon? Palpatine?

Let me ask you this: what is the difference between a king and an emperor?

The dictionary describes both as "male sovereign" or "supreme ruler"... the literal definition is almost identical. The difference lies in the connotations they hold. A king inherits rule. When we think of an emperor, at first blush we think of someone who seizes rule by violent means, often a demagogue and egomaniac.

So if this card comes to you as a caution, it would be a caution against using these tactics, against embracing these traits.

If that is the negative side of the card, what could possibly be the positive? That is where we look at the layers beneath the first blush.

If the definitions are the same, and the difference between a king and an emperor lie in the connotations...the emperor is a king plus something, an uber-leader of some sort.

Our first thought, taught by history, is that plus is often violent, wrong. If a negative exists, then so does its positive opposite. Just like electrons and protons, positive and negative subatomic particles, matter and anti-matter. For each Darth Vader there is a Luke Skywalker. Which begs the question of what are the positive aspects of an emperor? What is the advice aspects of this card that we would want to emulate?

The first thing that springs to mind, for me, is the phrase "noblesse oblige" and the biblical quote made famous by John F. Kennedy that "to whom much is given, much is required"

This part connects nicely with the 6 of coins post from Aug 25. The "much" that is given or "much" that an emperor possesses does not necessarily reflect wealth or material possessions, it can be riches of insight, intellect, compassion, physical strength...any ability or resource we are granted.

The positive aspect of the emperor then becomes the great leader who gives as he/she is given.

This dovetails not only with the 6 of coins lesson of generosity of spirit, but also touches on someone who is an example of the "rule of threes"...what you give to the universe is returned threefold. Those who give, get, and those who get, give and there grows a unity with the universe, or what science might call a "positive feedback loop".

Be that as it may...the energy around this card today resonates with both aspects of the card, which in return resonates with various aspects of American politics of the moment.

I won't get into the details of that...I leave that to your favorite political bloggers...

But this card does ask you to think...which of our leaders today are self-serving demagogues, taking power by any manipulation necessary, aspiring to petty emperor-ism, and which are using their abilities to serve the greater good?

It is no secret that my mind is drawn to Bush, Cheney and the Republicans in the former, and President Obama, and respectfully, Edward Kennedy in the latter. I leave the details up to you to decide, but I ask...which emperor do you follow. You are the emperor of your own life...which type of Emperor are you, and which type will you be??

That is the lesson of this card. May Integrity and Compassion rule.

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