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World Spirit Study Group - The Emperor

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13thFaeChylde  13thFaeChylde is offline
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World Spirit Study Group - The Emperor


The Emporer is standing on a balcony. On the balcony, the 4 suits/elements are carved: a wand, a sword, a cup, a pentacle. The Emperor surveys his realm which stretches out before him. In one hand he holds a gold sceptor. With the other hand he reaches out over his realm.

Below his balcony lies the town, perhaps the heart of the city. The people on the street would have to look up to glimpse the Emperor.

The snow-capped mountains in the distance symbolize a higher level above the mundane, everyday world. Such as the Emporer's vision for his people, he has to look at the big picture and not get mired down in details.
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4 is the number os solidity, stability, the home - The Emperor represents all of these things.
We usually see Emperors sitting squarely on a throne or some sort of 4 sided block which looks like a throne. With this Emperor we get the sense that he's overseeing or protecting the town and therefore the people much more than if he were seated. The balcony he stands on is 4 sided and is engraved with the emblems of the 4 tarot suits: Like the Magician he works with the elements.
The pendant around his neck looks like a flame- active and masculine.
She who Watches I like your take on the balcony, it literally makes the Emperor a figure to look up to.

Love and light

Sulis xx
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Looking at this card I think of the Judy Gold song, From a Distance.

Part of that song,
"From a distance the world is blue and green
And the snow capped mountains white.
From a distance
you look like my friend
even tho we are at war."

and then-

"God is watching us
God is watching us
God is watching us
From a distance"

So in this case, it is the Emporer watching us, from a distance and we are watching him, and neither of us has a very good view of the other. I have to say that this Emporer is not as approachable as say, the Robin Wood Emporer. And it is all about the height.

Also, we don't see the Emporer interacting with people, but with houses or systems a larger aspect of civilization, not a one on one interplay. He isn't concerned with how his arm, his reach or command is affecting us as much as he is about giving the order. In fact look down and see that the people are mere shadows to him.

As we, the readers look at the card we see all of this that I have just written, but we also have a "heightened" view of the Emporer and see him at his level. So our empathy is being directed to him in a way. When reading we can say that the boss is not interested so much in what each of you employees think about the policy change, but in how effective it is overall, for the common good of everyone. This is the middle of the road card for me. We are scooping the majority here, not the fringe. Individuality is not important, but the organization is.
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4 The Emperor


I used to see this card in other decks as just patriarchial authority personified; dictatorship, heartless control, disconnected domination. (Especially I saw it this way as a teenager). For me now this card is about civilization and system building and paradigm definition. I may not like Him, but I understand and respect better what the Emperor does.

He is removed from specifics of people, etc. by design; he seeks to establish some universal set of rules and codes. So his platform evokes and recognizes the 4 elements, but he is above directly using those powers; he seeks by vision and force of will to make the roads generations will use.

He is looking over the whole realm, the whole design, of what he seeks to control. Obviously, there are limits to what he can see, or control; that's not his concern, later Emperors can deal with that if they choose to. What he rules is what he can perceive and what he deems important; how he rules is by defining relationships and terms.

He is unaware of how lonely his public life is; he has no family, really, no partner, no children. He has spent, without regret, all of himself, to define this ethernal construct, his kingdom. And it's an amazing construct - but it's built on air.
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