The Tarot’s Emperor flags up the spirit of Aries, the Ram, first fiery sign of the Zodiac, and with it the image of the Patriarch, for good or ill.
If you ask ‘when?’ and I draw this card, the event in question is likely to occur late March-late April.
The Emperor is in many ways, the opposite number of The Hermit, who is ruled by Virgo and walks alone. The Hermit has learned many things, understands many things, and will shine a light for others. But the Hermit walks the quieter paths in life, and has to be sought out while The Emperor feels perhaps even more alone in the midst of noise and action.
A woman can be represented by The Emperor card. Male or female, you could be the Emperor yourself, for example, in your role as a business owner, or as a manager, or police officer or in many other roles.
In an abstract sense this is a card of ‘rendering unto Caesar.’ But Emperors themselves owe duty. Emperors can be brought down. The regalia of power is in token of service. There is no loyalty without reciprocity.
In a reading, it is likely to be turning the conversation to a senior male figure in your life; a father or grandfather, a husband, and often he is older than you, maybe an employer. Occupationally, The Emperor may be a police officer, a military man or woman, or a worker in the Civil Service or judiciary.
The appearance of this card has several times alerted me to the fact I am sitting with an off-duty police officer, whether male or female. Once it showed me a judge. A terrified mother visiting family in the UK but living in the US asked me to look and see what a judge in the US was going to say about a case against her son, charged with sexual assault.
I warned her in strong terms, not to rely upon any reading, that I could get it completely wrong. But she wanted to know the worst I could see, to help herself prepare to support her son and his family, whatever the outcome. It had taken a heavy toll and the son had become very depressed waiting for the hearing, had been suspended from his job because he was a teacher of minors, and had attempted suicide.
I drew The Emperor and Justice and felt she would like this judge, and be greatly relieved by the outcome and told her so, and at the very moment I did so, three greetings cards displayed on the top shelf of a tall bookcase at the far end of the room, flew out mid-air and fluttered to the floor. A draught, obviously, but I could not discount the possibility of psychokinesis, given her acutely worried state.
Psychokinesis is not a dead spirit, nor is it a psychic power in my observation, just as a poltergeist is neither of these things, but is a stray effect or function or dysfunction of the living body’s electrical field, and is spontaneous and involuntary, even if odd, weird or occasionally alarming.
It was many months before I learned the outcome from the lady’s relatives in the UK. The judge had thrown out the case, saying, and these were his actual words apparently, ‘what a crock of sh*t.’
Impersonally, the card signifies government and large corporations organisations, the Armed Forces, the Law, and global or government organisations. If you are job-hunting and this card comes up, you are likely to find work before long, no matter who the prospective employer may be, while if you have specifically applied to an organisation of this kind, your application looks likely to succeed.
The Emperor in real life gets many a bad rap. Many a drubbing. Often well deserved.
The Emperor in his negative aspect is a tyrant or a coward, a bully or a petty pedant. A human monster even.
The ambition of Emperors have over and over again been catastrophic for the peace and happiness of their fellow humans.
And Caesar’s spirit, raging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war,
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.
Julius Caesar Act 3, scene 1, 270-275
But today we think of him at his very best, in his highest, greatest guise.
He is a chevalier, a sheltering tree, Rule with compassion, defender of the small and weak. He is the ardent lover. He is the one who will fight and die if that is what it takes, to defend his home and his people. Children and animals are drawn to him, and he is ready to run and play with them, play like a child. He still knows how.
Birds nesting in his branches, will feel themselves secure. He represents the path of reason and fair play and is ready to uphold it by word and deed.
He is active in creating order, fixing, mending, making, inventing, reining in his strength at times, exercising it at others so that order prevails, and not everyone gets splattered with the filth of chaos.
Compassion in action, and not just fine words demands courage, nerve and know-how. For compassion of deed and not just words, you have to look to the strong man or woman.
In all the light and shade of his complexity, The Emperor represents ‘our’ own menfolk, the ones we befriend, honour, love, respect and appreciate. When not ready to ding them with a saucepan.
Red earth of Adam.
Fathers or not, all men are sons of ‘red earth’, born to strive, to quest, to come home and rest, to see and not to say all that he sees, trusting few with his thoughts or his deepest fears, un-throned Emperors, every one.
Betrayed by his brother
Begged wait by his mother
Echoes shrined in thread
A king still speaks
Of ships on shingle
A field forever
KE Hazeldine 2017