Mythic Study - The Emperor


When I began reading about Zeus, Creator of the world and king of gods, I expected to read that he would be, just, kind and compassionate. Just as I would expect the god who created men and women to be. That’s not what I found although in some of the things I read about him it did mention he was a protector but I thought to myself, “yeah, right, seems women needed a protector from him!” LOL

The Emperor reminds me of the adage that men think with their minds and women think with their hearts. I get the impression Zeus got to his position through sheer physical strength and I relate this to strength of mind. I understand clearly when the instruction book talks about the Emperor representing our ethics, self-respect and beliefs. Without self-respect and good strong ethics the world would devour us, chew us up and spit us out. We would be pitiful…no backbone…

I don’t quite understand how the instruction book refers to the Emperor as movement, taking action…..I just can’t see it in this card….I’m anxious to read all of your comments about the Emperor….


Hey Daizy,

Glad you started on a new card.

Like you, I don't see this emperor about kindness and compassion. He is all about ruling from his throne in the mountain tops. Maybe this isn't such a good thing...sort of like being in an ivory tower. But I wouldn't want to be in opposition to this character. If he says it's so, it's so. Thus, I'd associate this card with rules and authority figures in a very real sense. I feel this is authority in the very practical sense....not in the sense of "justice." What goes, goes. Might makes right. However, since the Emperor is sitting, he is not actively bashing anyone, he's just in the seat of power. Worldly and intellectual power would be my keywords for the card.

Regarding your inability to see movement and action, I agree to some degree. He is not movement in the sense that the Chariot indicates movement. But he holds his lightening bolts and has the eagle on his shoulder. He can command movement and obedience from the eagle. And he can hurl the lightening bolts if needed. So perhaps the movement is not via the Emperor himself, but his adherents, servants, etc.

I also feel in this card both inherent and moral authority. The Emperor may have bashed his way to the top, but he can sit back because he is entitled to be where he is. He has not only his own power behind him, but the weight of those who perpetuate his rule, thus, society itself.


Zeus as the Emperor

I see the Emperor as a 'practical father' who punishes kids when they go wrong and rewards them when they do well. Or like a boss. But this father/boss figure to me sounds not aggressive or angry, but more like a matter-of-factly sort of a man. This is my general take on the Emperor card...

As for Zeus as the Emperor, hubby keeps joking about how come every God/Goddess we encounter in this deck is a progeny of Zeus?! ;-) In the myths though, (my knowledge is limited), Zeus does come across as a good, (not drooling, though) matter-of-factly father figure to support his children. . This aspect of him fits the bill, then.


Clarification and some thoughts

Zeus was not the creator of the World - he slew his father Cronus (who slew his father Uranus) and divided the World between himself and 2 of his brothers, Zeus getting the land and skies, Posidon (who ruled the seas), and Hades (who ruled the Underworld).

To me, the fact that he was not a creator-god is an essential element to the Emperor card. Zeus and the Emperor seize, lead, control, rule, and govern. Creation is left to others. And yes, "father figure" is another good charecterazation of him.


You're right! I read that. I don't know why I typed creator of the world or what I must have been referring to but thanks for bringing it out! :)


Daizdy said:
When I began reading about Zeus, Creator of the world and king of gods, I expected to read that he would be, just, kind and compassionate. Just as I would expect the god who created men and women to be. That’s not what I found although in some of the things I read about him it did mention he was a protector but I thought to myself, “yeah, right, seems women needed a protector from him!” LOL


Isn't there a bit of sisterhood amongst the laydeez like Hera and Athena?

Athena rocks, incidentally. Not only goddess of war, but also goddess of arbitration and justice. Astrologically, people often say Librans are gentle and peace loving. Yes, thats true. But you don't want to go messing with their sense of Justice.


Zeus was a mighty Emperor type figure. I think he was very lecherous but he was a ruler. One that you really didn't want to cross. That's a strong image of the Emperor for me as a person of authority who justice is swift, fair and can be if needed brutal.


I always saw Zeus as sure of himself. On this card, I find that he is in all his majesty and at the height of his power.


Just recently I have seen the Emporer as Sun Tzu practicing the art of Thick face, Black Heart.

Putting on this face to do some 'dirty work' is not always a bad thing. For instance, if you needed to take some not so nice action that you knew would be extremely difficult to do, for your own protection the Thick Face or the Emporer face can be adopted to carry out what needs to be done.


Zeus sits upon a golden throne atop Mount Olympus. His robe is bordered in purple and gold, and he wears a golden crown upon his head. In his right hand he holds three lightning bolts, while in his left hand he holds a globe of the world. An eagle is perched on his shoulder, and behind him are snow-capped peaks.

  • the seat of authority, knowledge and rule, both temporal and spiritual
  • implies the relationship between sovereign and subject

Lightning Bolt
  • Zeus’ symbol of power because of it grandeur and because it lights up the sky
  • he is a god of inspiration and sudden creative vision
  • revelation of the truth, the destruction of ignorance
  • divine wrath, power or fertilizing potency; symbol of Zeus’ disfavor
  • the weapon, arm or phallus (symbolic or actual) of Zeus
  • flash of insight or intuition from one’s higher self; spiritual illumination, enlightenment, revelation; emotional or mental outbursts
  • fecundation, nutrition
  • Metaphors and Proverbs:
    • “lightning never strikes twice” means that luck (good or bad) never happens to the same person twice
    • “to be a lightning rod” is to attract people or situations to oneself
  • Zeus lived in the mountain peaks because he is a god of mental and spiritual heights, and his will rises above the bondage of the body and the limitations of nature
  • passage from one plane to another, higher state of mental development
  • place of communion with the gods; the support and abode of the gods
  • constancy, eternity, firmness, stillness, imperturbability
  • the state of full consciousness; spiritual heights, understanding and awareness
  • symbol of elevation above everyday life
  • place where the physical/mental world can be viewed more clearly and understood
  • “to make a mountain out of a molehill” is to make some sound worse/more difficult/bigger than it really is
  • world dominion, absolute authority, power, eternity
  • attribute of Zeus as sky god
  • spiritual principle, ascension, inspiration, spiritual aspiration
  • victory, pride, authority, strength, might, valor, power, speed
  • symbol of the triumph of light over darker forces
  • attribute of Zeus, sometimes seen with lightning bolts in its talons
  • wisdom, clarity of vision, lofty ideal or insight
  • the ability to soar above the material world
  • “to be eagle-eyed” is to be sharp-sighted or to be able to see every detail
  • emblem of Zeus’ wrath (see the Hanged Man)
  • king of the gods; god of sky, weather, thunder and lightning, gatherer of the clouds
  • associated with mountain tops
  • he was invoked in oaths, and oath breakers feared the vengeance of Zeus
  • as father of the gods and man, he ensured that humans and gods adhered to standards and values, the unwritten divine laws that could not be broken
  • his ability for pragmatism was renowned and infallible; his judgment was above criticism
  • the experience of fathering; the embodiment of spiritual ideals, ethical codes, self-sufficiency, authority and ambition, and discipline and foresight
  • the father within who fosters the self-respect we use to meet life’s challenges
  • he could be compassionate, championing the weak and dispossessed; he could also be angry and vindictive if his authority were challenged and his laws broken
  • his darker face is expressed as rigidity and self-righteousness
  • communing with one’s inner father is to know one’s potency and one’s capacity to initiate ideas and concretize them; to be dominated by him is to be enslaved to a set of beliefs which crush all human feeling with their inflexibility and arrogance

I wrote the following in my workbook on 4 Aug 91:
Zeus sits in his robe of indifference bordered with anger on his throne of lies which rests on a rock of hate. He is colored in fear and crowned in betrayal. In his hands he holds hate and envy. Despair is perched on his shoulder. Mountains of rage are in the background. The sky is cool.
:bugeyed: Can we say "father issues"? I found my color key for the workbook. My primary color was dark blue, which I associated with secretiveness and lying.