9 April 2021
The Tarot’s Emperor flags up the spirit of Aries, the Ram of spring, the fiery fiery sign of the western Zodiac, and with it the eternal archetype and image of the Patriarch
A queen mourns today, a bereft wife, and many, many mourn with her. On this day in the season of Aries the Ram, a nation witnesses the passing of Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, first prince of the realm . He has died at a very good age, peacefully in his own bed. A long and eventful life, great achievements, gifts, talents and endeavours, also great troubles and sorrows.
Great upheavals, displacement, his family scattered, and further great family losses before he was sixteen. A royal castaway, adrift in Europe, a schoolboy who had to be sent to Britain from Germany, his sister afraid he would get into trouble for mocking the Nazi salute. An athlete, a naval officer who saw active service against Nazi Germany, who saved many lives at sea directly, who held naval rank for 82 years; a man of many interests, science, space exploration, even UFO’s, wildlife and adventures for the young of the inner cities; a horseman, expert carriage driver, author and artist, painter of landscapes, a husband, father and paterfamilias to three younger generations.
It is the passing of an era.
If you ask ‘when?’ and I draw The Emperor, the event in question is likely to occur during the zodiac sign of Aries, late March-late April.
Did I think it would be today? Did I look in my Tarot? No. I did not look in my cards to see what I thought. Given the age and recent health issues of the Prince, this news is not unexpected. All the same, I woke one night while he was in the hospital, and thought of him and the thought flashed through my mind, ‘not now, but before May.’<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">No responsible reader is going to go around saying such things as that.No responsible reader is going to go around saying such things as that.
The Emperor in general terms
The Emperor ruled by Mars is in many ways, the opposite number of The Hermit, who is ruled by Mercury. Both walk 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 power.
In a personal reading
The appearance of The Emperor card 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.This is the ultimate card of masculinity but a woman can also 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, soldier, officer, police officer or in many other roles.
In an abstract sense this is a card of ‘rendering unto Caesar.’ We all owe dues somewhere, sometime. We all must pay our dues. We can only take out what has been put in.
But Emperors, though they may wield power, are not free. They themselves owe duty. They are not free and they can be brought down. The regalia of power is in token of service. There is no loyalty without reciprocity.
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 client’s son was due in court in the States. A non-violent offence, but nonetheless with potentially very serious consequences for him if found guilty. The client wanted to know the worst, 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 banned from seeing his children pending the hearing, and had self harmed, so the client told me.
I drew three cards in answer to her question. These were Judgement, The Emperor and Justice.
Based on these cards I felt she would would be greatly relieved by the outcome and told her so. And then something very odd happened.
At the very moment I drew the final card, three greetings cards displayed on the top shelf of a tall bookcase suddenly flew out mid-air, almost horizontally into the middle of the room, and fluttered to the floor. No open doors, no open windows. Still there was a draught, presumably, but the client was extremely startled. I was a little startled myself, it is fair to say. The movement of the cards in the air flying off the shelves looked so unnatural.
I could not discount the possibility that we had witnessed a manifestation of psychokinesis given the tension attached to the question, her acutely worried state.
It was many months later before I learned the outcome. The judge had thrown out the case, saying – and these were his actual words apparently, ‘what a crock of sh*t.’
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 ongoing events in Myanmar, a military junta killing its own people, its own children, is a real life demonstration of the worst of The Emperor card drawn reversed.
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
The Emperor is but frail and mortal. He has feet of clay. But today, let us think of The Emperor 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 to play.
He represents the path of reason and justice 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, those we like,love, befriend, honour, love, respect and appreciate.
Even though sometimes we might feel like giving them a ding round the head with a saucepan. Because that is life, and it’s complicated.
Red earth of Adam, The Emperor is often lonely, born to strive, to quest, to see and not to say all that he sees, trusting few with his thoughts or his deepest fears. Throneless Emperors, every one.
RIP, Philip, a once upon a time baby with not even a bed to call his own.
Betrayed by his brother
Begged wait by his mother
Story, half told,
Stitched in thread
A king still speaks
Of ships on shingle
Ringed in red
–KE Hazeldine 2017