Tarot - the Fool's Circle of Life
The Empress and Emperor
by Danielle Astrid Ricard
For ease in writing, I will use the gender pronoun that best matches the illustration below - no sexism intended. To listen to Musical accompaniment, look for a small link in the text!
These Archetypes are the 3rd and 4th of 22 Trump or Major Arcana cards in the Tarot. While the remaining pip and court cards portray more mundane realities, these cards represent higher energies, karmic forces, powers beyond our control, and superhuman strengths. In the Thoth Tarot deck, the Empress is ruled by Venus, and the Emperor by Aries.
Empress and Emperor
~ Benevolent Rulers ~
All decked out in their finest... ready to show the world who's boss - the Empress and Emperor may seem haughty, imposing and unapproachable. Just as parents who must give their children a sense of security, boundaries and safety - the ruling pair need to elicit a feeling of respect from those who rely on them - thus the air of authority, and the appearance that commands respect.
What they have to offer us is what we would expect from anyone with ultimate power over our surroundings - protection. The Empress nurtures and defends us like a doting mother or big sister, and the Emperor protects and defends, just as a father or big brother would.
Not only are they protectors, they also help determine our social. reality. The Empress is Queen-mother - she is fertility, creativity, and emotional power. The Emperor is King-father - he is virility, authority and earthly power. Together they create a home, a kingdom, a realm of influence. Without them we have chaos and anarchy.
Our personal perspectives regarding these archetypes is relative to our experience. To a child, her mother may be Empress, or perhaps her grandmother. To a student in class, the teacher may be Emperor or Empress. To the masses, a head of state serves as Emperor or Empress. To a worker, the boss may be absolute ruler. To a very spiritual/religious soul - the heavenly powers alone are capable of filling these shoes.
What sets them apart from mere Kings or Queens is the great, irrefutable power and authority they represent. They are more symbols to us than human beings. They command our respect and reverence - and their gifts to us are sustaining and powerful. The karmic implications of their existence in our lives is great. Anyone who we perceive in this light is more than a person to us - but representative of something greater.
To really get in touch with the energies of these archetypes, think back to when you were a small child looking up to your parents - when they had absolute control that you would not dream of challenging. Alternately - remember a revered teacher or other adult in your life. As an adult parent - you might consider your image as Emperor or Empress to your child.
The Empress has the power to create life - and not just human life. Empress is ruler over the inner life - the emotions, the family traditions, and the structure of home and family. The Emperor maintains, supports and defends this structure. He represents the governing forces and protective devices we need to insulate our world from unwanted outside influences. As archetypes representing people, together, they are nurturers and protectors. As archetypes representing a personal reality - they are the ability or need to create and nurture (Empress) and to maintain order (Emperor).
In the grand scheme of things, they are our Cosmic Parents... and we can be those parents, and also experience them through others - in any number of situations and areas of our lives.
MEDITATION: Contemplate the parental authority and protective/nurturing power within you. Think about a situation in which you were able to lead others, or build and maintain a framework and environment in which others may thrive and feel safe.
PERSONAL DISCUSSIONS: When have you felt the energy of the Empress or Emperor? What is the difference between the two? Have you seen it in other people? Have you had happy/sad experiences with this energy?
TAROT EXPERIENCE: Recalling a time when you may have you drawn this card, what were the circumstances surrounding it, and what did it mean to you? How do you feel these archetypes affect the cards that come before or after?
More Regal Considerations ... Empress: matriarch, productivity, fruition, emotion, collective memory, nurturing, birth; Emperor: control, matter, domineering, reason, patriarch, authority, leadership
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by Danielle A Ricard, all rights reserved
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