IV. The Emperor

To build, to celebrate, to become; these are the symbols of our lives.

Another hard one this week, made evident by the fact that this post is a week late. I’ll admit, the Emperor is not a card I feel much resonance with, for all my masculine energy and the personality traits that found in me and the card’s symbols.

Looking at this card, the main things that stick out to me are the carvings of animals behind him and the tree roots that bind him to the earth. There is a lineage to this man, to his nature. He is one of many in a long line.

The Emperor Shadowscapes Tarot by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
The Emperor
Shadowscapes Tarot by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

I suppose this is why the card does not resonate with me. I have never felt rooted in any one area of my life, my heritage, my being. Years ago, I remember my mother telling me as Sara Evans’ “Born to Fly” played on the radio, “This is your song.” It was an off-hand comment as we drove to my grandparents’ new home in New Mexico, but I can remember that moment so clearly, the desert and scrubland visible through the window as I listened to the words of the song:

I’ve been tellin’ my dreams to the scarecrow
‘Bout the places that I’d like to see.
I said, “Friend, do you think I’ll ever get there?”
Ah, but he just stands there smilin’ back at me.

…But how do you wait for heaven?
And who has that much time?
And how do you keep your feet on the ground,
When you know that you were born, you were born to fly?

…Yeah, ’cause I will soar away like the blackbird.
I will blow in the wind like a seed.
I will plant my heart in the garden of my dreams,
And I will grow up where I’ll wander wild and free.

-Excerpts from “Born to Fly” by Sara Evans

Over the years, I have examined my relationships with the elements. Air and Fire, the liminal elements have always resonated so strongly with me. I have spoken on my relationship with Water some previously, so I won’t continue with that just now. Earth, however, is something that I have always pursued and desired in my life. That sense of rootedness, I guess, that comes with its resonance. Something resembling an…identity, I guess. When you belong to many groups, you feel as though you belong to none. This is the root of many of my struggles and what often causes my frustrations and disappointments to get the better of me.

Applying this to my religious and spiritual perspectives, though, I can easily find connections. While the card itself might not resonate with me and my personality, I can find some allegories for my spiritual experiences. The draw I feel to revivalism, the renaissance of ancient cultures and their practices is easily seen in this card’s meaning. To create “order out of chaos” is difficult in this respect, but that is the goal of this project, this Tarot Journey.

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