SINGLE POST

The Emperor Resisted & Reimagined: A Reclaiming Witches re- storying of power, law and leadership under the Aries Full Moon

October 12, 2019

 

 

The Emperor, the archetypal father in th Tarot is the corresponding major arcana card of this full moon which in many ways is a stark contrast to the power of Aries with its bright, firey, energetic, passionate and childlike nature. The Emperor in a reading is seen traditionally as signifying rules & regulation, law, social order, the need for structure and organisation. The way one sees to this card is shaped by your own responses to social structures of power.  For many Women, Queer folk and those deemed by the Overculture as “others” the Emperor as a father figure calls to mind the rule of the Patriarchy with its oppressive structures of hierarchy, authoritarian control, domination & violence. Throughout history the Emperor is aligned with the power of the dictator and the autocrat, demanding complete submission, enforcing social order through compulsion and coercion. The Emperor is the embodiment of Power Over, where those who submit to authoritarian structures of the oppressive social order with its rules and regulation are rewarded, where feelings are seen as weakness to be supressed in favour of rationality, where nature is seen as a chaotic force to be tamed, controlled and harnessed. Women are seen as associated with nature and thus are in and of themselves wild wanton creatures, prone to being overcome by emotion; Women are intuitive and therefor irrational dangerous forces that need to be brought under control. In our modern post industrial society of the West Women are schooled that to be powerful we must reject our femininity, our only acceptable roles should be as Mothers who raise children drilled in the social order of a capitalist economy. Women who gain success in the workplace must abandon their femininity, their deep rooted relationships with sensuality and intuition to play the rules of the boardroom and business, a world governed by rationality, toxic masculinity and locked into destructive forms of competition and domination. When this card pops up in readings for Women even if they have had positive relationships with nurturing fathers it is no wonder that many baulk and shudder with these layers of cultural baggage that have been carried through this masculine image of power.

 

The Emperor historically is a figure who surmounts kings and fiefdoms to unite his people under a single rule. His divinely appointed leadership makes his efforts to bring order, structure and the rule of law to society spiritually ordained acts of violence. The mad emperors of the Roman Empire and modern dictatorships spring to mind as the consequences of these forms of hierarchical structural organisation and make it difficult to approach the Emperor of the Tarot without abstracting his role and qualities to the point where he is unapproachable, devoid of meaning. The Waite Smith version of the Emperor shows him as a stern figure, dressed in armour, ready for battle, sitting on a solid throne of stone in a barren scorched landscape. But the Thoth Tarot shows an image of the Emperor in side profile, implying there is something about him that we cannot see. Turning to this unseen side are there qualities about the Emperor that we might be able to examine in more detail that would allow us to approach him, to perhaps restore and redeem him for our modern time. Might be draw on his associations with the most positive qualities of Aries, the vision to be innovative pioneers, the energy to  take inspired action and lead the way to transform the world in a  passionate vision.

 

In this effort to reclaim and restory the Emperor we may consider his archetype as an impetus to reevaluate power. On a practical level he prompts us to consider how the rule of law expresses social justice, he can stimulate us to begin the work in our communities of dismantling structures of hierarchy & oppression, to create cultures based on the principle that all Human beings and indeed all living creates are worthy of dignity and respect. The Emperor is often seen bearing the shepherd’s crook and thus may be seen as the tender and defender of the flock, whose mediation of order protects the weak, defending the innocent from the oppressive powers of violence, domination and control that are the hallmarks of hierarchical societies. With his connections to sulphur, the alchemical substance that causes a burst of energy and a chain reaction of change perhaps he can be re-storied or reimagined as a rising impetus to oppose oppression and find new forms of social organization in our modern world.

 

Finally we may turn to his associations to other cards in the Tarot to see if we can find inspiration that might re-story him and assist us in a radical analysis of Power that his archetype prompts us to do. Turning to the cards ruled by Aries, the two, three and four of Wands, titled Dominion, Virtue and Completion, these three cards offer us a chance to consider how the values of the Emperor might be expressed in the mundane world if we radically begin to strip him of his traditional associations with Power Over and do the work of decolonising ourselves from the influence of hierarchical power structures. With the two of wands we must question Dominion, the notion of power over itself, destroying the idea that our visions and personal achievements can only succeed if we resort to power over, and we must rid ourselves collectively of any notion that Humans are pinnacle of nature with divine authority to rule over nature. With the two of Wands ruled over by Mars we might begin to think about what is the appropriate use of force, anger and aggression for creating change, how can we harness this power to envision a new world and destroy an old decadent destructive order, we might begin to think about the concepts of stewardship as a way of reimaging our role as humans as a part of nature over which we are caretakers.  With the Three of Wands we may consider what virtues do we need to envision in ourselves and our leaders to create just, fair societies. With the three of wands being aligned with the Sun in Aries we might use this as an analogy for a benevolent ruler, one who shines their light and power on all in the spirit of generosity.  How would our social structures transform if we based them around the principles of charity and equity of access for all beings in harmonious beneficial interrelationships.  And finally with the Four of Wands, Completion we are drawn to consider what does a new social order look like? The circular image of this card is instructive, reminding me of the Witches circle where all present gather in a spirit of equality and balance, where none is above another, where each person present is their own spiritual authority. The wands capped with doves and white lilies, call forth symbolic resonances of peace. The eight spokes of the wands remind me of the eight principles of beauty and strength, power and compassion, honour and humility, mirth and reverence that are called forth in the charge of the Goddess;  perhaps these could be used as basis of a fair, just humanitarian society. With the cards rulership by the sign of Venus we may consider a radical analysis of our social structures an our laws through the Venusian principles of beauty and love as a way to transform the world.  We might reimagine the Emperor, our leaders and our social structures of the future as recombining the masculine and the feminine in a complete unity. We might begin to think about, envision and   co create society through a  vision of inspired leadership based on the principles of beauty and Love.     

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

The Emperor is the corresponding major arcana card of this full moon which in many ways is a stark contrast to the power of Aries with its bright, firey, energetic, passionate nature. The Emperor in a reading is seen traditionally as signifying rules & regulation, law, social order, the need for structure and organisation. The way one sees to this card is shaped by your own responses to social structures of power.  For many Women, Queer folk and those deemed by the Overculture as “others” the Emperor as a father figure calls to mind the rule of the Patriarchy with its oppressive structures of hierarchy, authoritarian control, domination & violence. Throughout history the Emperor is aligned with the power of the dictator and the autocrat, demanding complete submission, enforcing social order through compulsion and coercion. The Emperor is the embodiment of Power Over, where those who submit to authoritarian structures of the oppressive social order with its rules and regulation are rewarded, where feelings are seen as weakness to be supressed in favour of rationality, where nature is seen as a chaotic force to be tamed, controlled and harnessed. Women are seen as associated with nature and thus are in and of themselves wild wanton creatures, prone to being overcome by emotion; Women are intuitive and therefor irrational dangerous forces that need to be brought under control. In our modern post industrial society of the West Women are schooled that to be powerful we must reject our femininity, our only acceptable roles should be as Mothers who raise children drilled in the social order of a capitalist economy. Women who gain success in the workplace must abandon their femininity, their deep rooted relationships with sensuality and intuition to play the rules of the boardroom and business, a world governed by rationality, toxic masculinity and locked into destructive forms of competition and domination. When this card pops up in readings for Women even if they have had positive relationships with nurturing fathers it is no wonder that many baulk and shudder with these layers of cultural baggage that have been carried through this masculine image of power.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share on Facebook
Please reload

​© 2017