Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tarot Talk: The Emperor

To stave off the boredom of the second-last day of wrap, my colleague challenged me to write a story about a goblin. A goblin who has to learn something by the end. Well, I would, except I'm in the middle of a mental rant about Tarot. So I'll write about that.

I've been reading "Tarot Theory & Practice" by Ly de Angeles. Overall, it's been a good read. Learning a lot about the Tree of Life that I didn't know before.

Then I started studying the chapter that defines the Major Arcana. I'm as far as Hierophant, and already I want to write a letter (and as Trevor can tell you, stand back when I get in one of my letter-writing moods!).

Why do so many Tarotists see cards like Priestess and Empress as 'the sacred feminine', where as Emperor and Hierophant belong to the cliched 'broken male club'? Oh, how many of the world's ills are blamed on these cards!

To quote:
Whereas the Empress represents "mother" (in whatever fashion), so the Emperor represents "father" in traditional fashion rather than the currently transitional role representation which - from my perspective - is rather sad. This representation, while remaining entrenched in many cultures and societies worldwide even in this, the twenty-first century, remains an onerous archetype that many men would reject if they could, while others cling to it frantically, to the detriment of true humanitarianism and compassion. (pp. 75)
(my italics)

This follows a glowing review of the Empress ("Mother!") using words like "art, love, tactile pleasure, fecundity, sensual erotic environments, nourishment." No ill can ever come via the Empress! (Remind me to tell you about my own mother figures some day....)

Question to teachers like de Angeles: do you not feel responsible for what you implant into the brains of young, impressionable Tarot readers? Why colour their judgement in this way? I thought we were supposed to see all possibilities, not strain everything through the lenses of our own biases. Which you, Madam, very, very, VERY clearly have.

Here's what I think of the Emperor: it's that just-as-precious stage in life where you've just experienced the bliss of a new thing - a relationship, a baby, a project - and you're ready to roll up your sleeves. It's time to try to understand what needs doing. You create rules. Or, you try like hell to learn existing rules because without structure, the project likely won't take shape. The baby won't learn to sleep. The relationship won't move forward. The writing career won't happen because you never develop a practice.

So it's more like being a new student in a martial arts class; you are past the whole, "this is so freakin' cool!!" part (Empress) and you're ready to do whatever it takes to learn the basics. That's the Emporer to me. It's a beautiful card.

You should see what de Angeles says about the Hierophant card.
<<heavy sigh>>


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Anonymous Anonymous ~ 1:20 AM

Dammit, what about the goblin?  

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