9 April 2021
The Tarot’s Emperor flags up the spirit of Aries, the Ram of spring, cardinal fire sign, and with it the eternal archetype and image of the Emperor or Patriarch
Our queen is in mourning, 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 home, but it is suspected he had had cancer, had been ill for longer than we, the public, were told, and in this case could not have escaped considerable discomfort or even suffering.
A long and eventful life, high achievements, gifts, talents and endeavours, also great troubles and sorrows.
Early upheavals, displacement, his family scattered, and further close 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 goosestepping in the street, a schoolboy, mocking the Nazi salute. An athlete, a naval officer who saw active service against Nazi Germany, who directly saved many lives at sea through his own quick thinking, who held naval rank for 82 years.
Aged 18 Philip passed out from Dartmouth Naval college, and in January 1940 he joined his first posting onboard the veteran, not to say venerable royal Sovereign class battleship, the HMS Ramillies had served in the Great War, and was built 1916.
Prince Philip served four months as a midshipman patrolling the Indian Ocean, escorting troops from Australia to Egypt.
My maternal grandfather later served as a Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve officer on this same ship in 1944, with my mother, his first child, a baby daughter, born December 1939.
Philip was the real deal, a true Renaissance man of many interests; science, space exploration, even UFO’s, wildlife and adventures for the young of the inner cities. One of my own daughters did The Duke of Edinburgh Award and went camping, much to my happiness because I was becoming too disabled to do these sorts of things with her, to walk with her up on the mountains, as I had done in my teens with my family.
He was a horseman, expert carriage driver, author and artist, painter of landscapes, a husband, father and paterfamilias to three younger generations.
All this, we are being told, if we didn’t know about it before.
Less commonly reported, is that Prince Philip was a Gemini sun sign subject; hence his curiosity, intellectual agility, humour and restlessness (also perhaps, mischief) His Moon was in Leo (regal, family man, and there is a certain star quality and charisma with this placement.) The Moon sign is an indicator of the emotional temperament.
His Ascending or Rising sign was in Capricorn, and this represents the outer face of the person…duty, dignity and discipline with a red hot bullsh*t detector, and a firm grasp, always, of the reality of the bottom line.
It is the passing of an era.
The Emperor card and Timing
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, 9 April, the passing of HRH Prince Philip?
Did I look in my Tarot?
No. I did not look in my cards about this. 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, ‘it won;t be now, while he is in the hospital, but before May.’
We had seen the sadness on the face of Prince Charles on his way to visit his father.
The Emperor, ruled by Mars, is in many ways, the opposite number of another classically masculine archetype, The Hermit, whose planetary ruler is 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 eye of the storm in the midst of the machinery of power.
The Emperor as an Archetype
For all he was a technocrat, Prince Philip had a poet’s perception, and once said that to change hearts and minds on any great matter, one could do nothing without the arts and religion, and we needed to get all the religions of the world on board to protect endangered wildlife.
This aspect in particular, calls forth the vision of the Tarot’s Hermit card. The Emperor commands, enshrines in law, while The Hermit walks the wild places, in communion with the laws of Nature.
But in zodiac terms, The Emperor marks the rule of Aries, fiery sign of spring, and Philip has passed away under the banner of Aries, the royal warrior Ram.
Life is fierce, getting itself born. The unborn must attack or stay unborn. The fields are full of lambs, but lambing is not gentle.
And a ram may attack anyone entering his field, no less than a bull, and people are still killed by rams. If ever a ram knocks you down, you must stay down. Do not try and get up, or it will keep coming at you.
The Ram at this time of year is driven by the fiercest Life imperative, to defend his patch, his ewes, his lambs.
The Ram of Aries is charging at spring full tilt, the fields, the woods, the hills, the rivers and ponds. Spring has sprung out on the pond here, and you can believe it really is ‘Nature red in tooth and claw’. The coots have already lost their first clutch to the depredations of the gulls. The heron lurks almost invisible in the reeds, so perfect is its camouflage against their winter grey, and the reeds have not yet grown back green. That will not happen till the watch of Taurus.
The Emperor in a personal Tarot 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 of course 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 a more 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 the pot.
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.
The Emperor may be 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 in the United States.
A client’s son was due in court in the United States. A non-violent offence, a woman had accused him of sexual assault, with potentially very serious consequences for him if found guilty. Not prison, but the client wanted to know the worst, to help herself prepare to support her son and his family, whatever the outcome.
The son had become very depressed waiting for the hearing, had been suspended from his job, a teacher, as was routine in such cases, 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. I 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, the client’s 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 with them, play like a child.
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 live with, those we work with. Those we love, befriend, honour, love, respect and appreciate.
Even though sometimes we might feel like giving them a ding round the head with a saucepan. The Empress, after all, has her own dominion.
Red earth of Adam, The Emperor may be self sufficient, but at times, there is a certain loneliness. 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, Prince Philip, the once upon a time baby with not even a bed, never mind a home to call his own. He once described himself as a minor Balkan prince of no importance, and he admired so many other lands, yet made his homeland here, joining that company of other, ancient, but never to be forgotten princes, the conquering and the conquered, of these isles, so many times embattled and invaded.
We know all about The Emperor.
Betrayed by his brother
Begged wait by his mother
Story, half told
Stitched in thread
A king still speaks
Of ships on shingle
Ghosts of Senlac
Ringed in red.
–KE Hazeldine 2017