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Card Comparison: The Emperor

The Two Emperors: Ostara tarot and the Wild Unknown

There are many things that move across the cards, particularly the Major Arcana, like a wave, no matter the image. This bloodline of understanding, symbolism, or definition comes from the archetype, the held knowledge of numbers and namesakes.

The Emperor is no different. When the word EMPEROR is said, each one of us can visualize something. He or she may look different. The kingdom may hold different colors and material grandeur. But, the general understanding of an Emperor is a ruler who stands alone. He is the beacon of order for all that he rules.

It is because of this general understanding that the Emperor is often given a fierce and authoritative connotation. In this post, we will not be looking so much at the card definition and attributes. If you would like to read my interpretation of the Emperor please click here to go to my interpretations of the Wild Unknown card meanings. You will find the Emperor, as well as all the cards that I have thus far written a personal interpretation for.

In this post, we will be taking time to look at the Emperor across the two decks that I own: the Wild Unknown tarot and the Ostara tarot. These two cards will be examined and shed light on the nuance that they bring to the interpretations of the Emperor.

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Starting from left to right, we have the Emperor from the Ostara tarot. Unlike many other decks that depict the Emperor as a wise or authoritative older man, here the Emperor is young. He wears not a crown of gold or jewels, but two horns that symbolize his dominion over the natural earth. He is of both worlds, showing that he can understand the rule of law and the laws of nature.

These combined together can create balance in the physical fabric of the world. His youth means that he has vigor, and he does not rely on others to to uphold or protect those whom he serves. His gaze is off in the distance, showing that his vision is on the horizon, far off in the distance. The symbols on his body show that he is also mysterious, something seen hardly at all in other decks. In fact, the directness of other decks (which we will see in the Wild Unknown) is the antithesis of mystery. But these symbols as part of his physical body means that he is learned in other languages, ones that may unlock other mysteries that can serve and protect. He has taken the time and embodied the learning the different languages that are part of his world.

He also does not depict a foreboding or fierce figure. He seems gentle, a little wild or mischievous perhaps, but his face is beautiful and soft. As a counterpart to the Empress, he also holds the a childlike whimsy to create and protect the world that he is a part of.

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The Emperor in the Wild Unknown is depicted as a large tree. The size of the tree emphasizes age and time. A tree that big has been around for a long time. This sticks with the more traditional definition of Emperor as one with the benefit of experience because of age and time. Behind the Emperor is a brilliant, fiery sun, which may be the crown of the natural world.

With this brilliance comes clarity of vision, and fire for action. In this deck, the Emperor as a tree speaks to action in terms of giving. At this size, he acts like one of many lungs for the planet, taking in loads of carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Trees this size create a canopy for the sky, and a network for the soil. They are a home for the fauna, shade for the weary, and a beacon for the lost.

The Emperor is depicted in only one color. He is stark black, resembling his stark nature, perhaps a little harsh and direct, but beautiful and giving nonetheless. There is also a notion of simplicity with this card, which is very different from the other Emperor. The symbols that adorned the Emperor’s body speak to a complicated understanding of different languages and symbolism in this world. Here, the Emperor is much more simplistic. He is there, front and center. He is visible, giving, nurturing, but also abrupt in palate to some.

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There you have two different images for the Emperor. I hope these comparisons help show how the image brings nuance and layers to the knowledge of the cards. Please let me know how these, or other images of the Emperor resonate with you. Much love.

Ashlie

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Card of the Week: The Emperor

the emperor

“The Buck stops here.”

The Emperor is steeped in reason and rationality. In the Wild Unknown deck (my deck), illustrated by Kim Krans, he stands a giant tree, a looming figure in domain over his canopy. When I look at this picture, I think of the beautiful redwood trees. Their presence and power is unmatched. Those around them can only look upwards, humbled by size. The Sun shines in the background, a symbol of the fiery power of the conscious mind. The Emperor’s commanding presence places a stronghold on himself, yet he safeguards the space because he knows that he was not randomly placed into power. He exercised power with the logistics of his experiences.

The Emperor can either be a positive force, or a formidable foe. He emulates authority, an energy that I sometimes struggle with. When he comes for me, I can hear his voice calling me to see my surroundings, and reminds that my mind is precise. It is a stronger weapon than I know, yet I carry it always. I have learned that through this card, the trust is being placed on me to wield my mental power. It alone has already helped to this precious space that I hold.

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In the light, the Emperor shows us that reason and logic allow for the bigger picture to be palpable. The experiences of the world are a test. Conquering each one is a victory, and proof that we are in control of our own destinies. Our lives do not happen to, or in spite of us. Our lives happen through us, by us, and because of us. Our choices, when made with reason and intent, unfold the world like a desert flower. Despite of the conditions, we can bloom into favor and good fortune.

In the shadow, he forces us to place an uncomfortable distance with our emotions. Emotions are not logical. They are not meant to be. One of the beautiful, but harsh truths about being human is that we are messy creatures, prone to fear and doubt. But our emotions allow us another way to cope with this imperfect place. To find meaning despite a shitty circumstance is poetic; it is a testament that our emotions lead us beyond our spaces. The Emperor doesn’t leave a lot of room for that. He, instead, requires a removal of this process. This has its benefits, but it is not easy.

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For this week, seek to find how you can lead your life with authority. Things are attainable if you apply your force of will. You will need to find the balance, and not over exert yourself. The Emperor did not claim his throne by always exerting his will. He knew when and where to do it. The political backlash of the United States, and treasonous Trump, shows just what can happen when one leads power-drunk. For this week, seek a logical and reasonable balance. Do not lay blame towards others. Hold yourself accountable. Good things come when the fire of the mind takes its grip.

**Thank you for reading. Please comment about how the Emperor affects you. He can be a hard one to come to terms with. Please hit follow if you would like more. I would love to have you as part of my tribe. If you would like a personal tarot reading email me at teaandtombstones@gmail.com**

Tarot card is from The Wild Unknown tarot deck. Click here to go the website for this deck, and the whole collection from The Wild Unknown. (This is not an affiliate link)