The Emperor

This month’s card is The Emperor


The first things that hits us with this card is the colour, lots of reds and yellows here and oranges between. Red is the colour of power, action, blood, life, the base chakra – where we connect to the earthly realm – the material, money and earthly concerns. From this we have already a sense of the card’s meaning.


Yellow is a colour of the solar plexus and our self-esteem and sense of self, is it the sun and the corresponding associations of warmth, connection, life, light, growth and the self.


Each colour has its flip side to the anger and violence of red, the cowardice (yellow-bellied) and overdone energy of the sun in its burning, the arrogance of over self-assertion.


If we start to look to the technical make up of the card we see this card is connected to Aries (ruler mars and colour red) and the sun is exalted in Aries and we have an astrological link with the above initial observations. Aries being the leader  the driving force, the warrior of a group of people. Confident and assertive and if overdone with its mars ruler, also aggressive and unyielding  Aries is indicated by the sign of Aries on the border and more obviously in the depiction of the ram through out the card. The dark and light Ram representing the two faces of this powerful warrior energy, the rams head on the sceptre, the tool with which the power is wielded.


Many of the Thoth cards can be read in this way – as we look at the image, so tightly connected to the underlying systems of thought, so we access the card’s meaning easily and simply – with little knowledge of the depth of astrology we could fathom beneath it – indeed taking it further and exploring these realms is interesting and enriching, but to understand the cards to start to use them it is not necessary. We can begin from where we are.


Other emblems and motives on this intricate card that we can read from the image alone include:


The bees on the garments of the Emperor symbolising working together as a group, hard work generally and a feeling of organisation and industriousness. They also symbolise fertility and that good works can come from the Emperor’s leadership. You can see the bees in their honey making as the ability of the Emperor energy to provide for the young, to father children and provide a good stable nutritious base for them to grow from. There is a sense too that the bee is in service to the Queen, and so it is in the Emperor energy, reflecting in us that our masculine sides are the protectors of the intuitive feminine side, the intuitive having the inspiration of direction and the Emperor serving her – leading the group to the direction she suggests.


The number four is represented here frequently – in the card number itself, the shape of the Emperors legs, the cross upon the orb, the dominant points in the circles to the left and right – 4 being the number of stability, structure, buildings (four walls). He is a stable character, dependable and committed. Able to make decisions and follow them through.


The lamb at his feet a symbol of innocence, youth and softness, all this authority needing to be tempered by a reminder of the vulnerability of people, and ourselves. As he protects and cares he becomes a stronger leader, and balances his determined warrior energy.