EXERCISE NLa: Emperor--long
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2004 01:16:37 +0100
To: Comparative Tarot http://comparativetarot.com
Emperor Exercise by Nina Lee Braden
Copyright 2003. All rights reserved.
> Choose a Tarot deck. Pull out the Emperor card. What do you see?
I'm just doing one deck--Rider Waite for Emperor. I see a stern-looking
older man--crowned, white-bearded, armored and red-robed--on a stone
throne, outdoors. He holds a scepter (they say) and an orb. His throne
is decorated with carved rams' heads. Behind him is a river, then
mountains, and stripey orange sky.
> What are some of the major symbols or colors or motifs on your card?
Red! And gray. My high school colors. I guess everything in my above
description is a symbol or motif.
> Go through your deck, face up.
I just discovered that every single card in my deck is upright. I don't
think that's been the case since I bought them! I think my husband is
trying to psych me out. It's working too; I feel better already.
> Find three to five cards which seem to share some of the same symbols, colors, or motifs
that you found in your Emperor card. What are those cards?
Not too hard to find the glaring similarities with the Hierophant and
Justice cards. Also, flipping through, I found five secondary cards.
The Chariot I think I pulled because of some Mars connection, but it's
eliminated. Others are the King and Queen of Wands, the King of Pents
and the King of Swords. My husband says King of Swords over Hierophant,
but the calm blue of the KS just doesn't do it for me.
> Look at these cards closely. Do they help you to see the Emperor card in any different light or manner?
Do they contrast with the Emperor in any way? Do they amplify the meaning of the Emperor in any way?
If so, how?
Justice amplifies the meaning of Emperor as administrator of law and
government affairs. Hierophant and Emperor together go way back.
Kingly and priestly pillars, divinely appointed, representatives of man
to God and God to man, etc. I'd say the Emperor is more representative
of how man deals with man, and the Hierophant with how man deals with
God. King of Swords also fits in with the law and justice theme of
The King of Pentacles also sits on a throne, holds a scepter and orb,
and wears armor under his robe. What's that thing he's got for a
footstool? His throne also has horned heads--bulls--in the same
locations as the Emperor's rams. But the whole is more ornate, the
landscape lusher, the background inhabited. He's worked for his
fruitful dominion, and he wants to enjoy it! The Emperor doesn't have
time for a lot of frivolities and flowers and wine and stuff. Perhaps
the King can declare a holiday, make a festival, take a day to relax.
But the Emperor must be the Emperor at all times.
I find a stronger resemblance between the Emperor and the Queen of Wands
than the King of Wands. The Queen is naturally, rather than divinely,
appointed. She doesn't look to rule; it's just a by-product of her
personality and her life. She doesn't issue orders, or enforce the law.
But what she thinks should be done is usually what gets done. Perhaps
one could say that the Emperor rules by right, but the Queen rules by charm.
> Creative Visualization Twist
> Imagine an executive board room. The Emperor is the chairman of the board. The other cards that
you have chosen are members of the board. Picture the characters in the card sitting around the table
at a board meeting. Describe what happens.
I just had this flash! My first thought was that I had to think of a
type of company, and since I was just on the Queen of Wands I thought of
Beatrice Tschanz. She was the spokesperson for Swissair. Then all the
characters flashed in.
Emperor--Federal Aviation Authority: called the "Tombstone Agency"
because body count has such a great influence on their policies.
Justice--Canadian Transportation Safety Board: crash investigators (NOT
authorities or prosecutors)
Hierophant--Cardinal O'Connor: Archbishop of New York Diocese
King of Pents--Philip Bruggiser: SAirGroup CEO. Also, Lukas Mühlemann
and Jeff "this-is-going-to-be-bad-for-business" Katz.
Queen of Wands--Beatrice Tschanz: Swissair spokesperson
King of Wands--that big-time aviation lawyer, whose name I'm sure I will
come back to me
I think the only one missing is the Queen of Swords, Lyn Romano. Also,
I just realized why I eliminated the Chariot: it represents the pilot,
and he's dead.
The Emperor is handling the aftermath of SR111. Justice is recommending
banning the inflight entertainment network (IFEN) for its possible role
in the crash, and the potential for danger to others in the future. The
Hierophant would rather discuss funerary and memorial issues. The Queen
wants to focus on dealing with people's grief and fears--psychological
damage to employees and customers, which could (also) damage the firm.
The King of Pents--whose idea the IFEN was in the first place--is
cashing in his self-written exit clause. The King of Wands wants to sue
the IFEN manufacturer. (And the Queen of Swords leaves to investigate
the IFEN installation and certification records.)
> Antithesis Twist
> Go through your deck face up again. Not going by meaning, but by picture only, choose the one card
in the deck which seems to you to be the most visually different from the Emperor card. What is this card?
The primary card is Ten of Cups. The secondary card is Seven of Cups.
It's a difficult choice, but the Ten has got just a bit of an edge.
> How does it differ from the Emperor?
The thing that strikes me the most is the pale, open sky, in contrast to
the Emperor's orange stripes. There are four people, rather than one;
and they are standing and dancing, rather than sitting. There are trees
and a house in the background. The adults have their arms raised, and
the children's hands are joined. And then, of course, there's that
colorful rainbow of cups.
> Go back to the boardroom visualization. Have the character from this card unexpectedly interrupt
the board meeting. Describe what happens.
Ten of Cups: "C'mon guys! We need a happy ending for this story!"
Justice: "I recommend banning the IFEN."
Hierophant: "There can be no love without justice." (This is from
Cardinal O'Connor's crest.)
King of Pents: "Yeah, I guess I don't really *need* all those millions.
Give it to the families of the victims."
Queen of Wands: "We care about our people, and will continue to show it."
King of Wands: "We can settle out of court. Heck, we've got Justice
> Do you want to be more like the Emperor or more like the antithesis of the Emperor? Why?
Anti-emperor. More joy.
> Choose one act to perform today which will help you to become more like the card which you prefer.
I already have. After a grueling week during which my husband has been
home sick from work, I passed some kind of pain threshold today, and was
able to get past my aggravation and contribute to family happiness.
Two more days--hope I make it through!
One Love All Love,
I just saw that I didn't even give the Emperor a line in the antithesis
part. I saw this as an oversight, then was reminded of a discussion a
few years back about the term "oversight" in relation to the FAA. On
one hand, they oversee aviation operations over the whole country
and--by extension--the whole world. All airlines that want to fly into
the States must comply with FAA regulations. OTOH, the bureaucratic
monster has gotten so big that they actually paid companies to certify
their own products. Lots of rubber stamping, and not rocking the boat.
My brother's heirloom pen knife gets confiscated, while somewhere in the
skies, gasoline drips from some idiot's chainsaw in the overhead.
Perhaps one of the challenges for the FAA, and for the Emperor, is to
realize there must be a limit to authority: to focus on the good work
they can do effectively, and learn to leave the stuff that's beyond
their control. I mean, people should be aware that they're taking their
lives in their hands every time they get on an airplane. Do we really
need to take off our clothes too?
This page is excerpted from my original contributions to the Comparative Tarot discussion group.
Graphics created and generously shared by Full Moon Graphics.