The Empress underlies everything, she is the pregnant void of potential, the foundation of the earth beneath our feet. The Emperor, meanwhile, is the ka-bam, the divine spark that grabs hold of that potential and gets things moving.
Emily Carding's Emperor is particularly fiery. A huge bonfire springs from his head, burning fiercely. Those yellow, red and orange colours continue in his clothes - a cloak of autumn leaves that flutter gently down towards the harvest of fruit beneath him. They are also echoed in his sceptre, which glows bright red, and from which circles of yellow, orange and red swirl out. There seems to be a line of fire following the flow of his arm, which points towards some buildings tucked in amongst the tree line.
Fire, then, is the major element in this card. Air is there, too, in the gentle fluttering of the leaves that drop from his cloak, and earth in the green around him and the fruits of harvest beneath him. Water, though, is nowhere to be seen. He doesn't deal well with emotions - his own or those of others! There is wanting, there is planning and there is doing, but there is little recognition of the emotions that underlie these.
I really like the torque around his neck, sign of power in celtic traditions, and the snake pendant or tattoo that decorated his chest. The harvest beneath him, too, speaks of abundance. We can reap this only if we have been sufficiently organised, and have adhered to the rules of when to sow and when to harvest - rules that are created by nature rather than man. In these aspects, I recognise that the Emperor takes care of those he sees as being "his" people. He creates boundaries so that they can live in safety and plenty. Still, I can't help wondering: "At what price?"
All this shows my own issues with authority figures, I guess. I tried to connect with my own inner Emperor. After all, I lay down the law for my son in terms of having a fixed bedtime and trying to be consistent in disciplining him - counting to five if he misbehaves, asking if he's finished, and if not turning my back on him for ten seconds. It works pretty well, but I still find it difficult. I often feel I should understand his point of view, make things okay for him, and then he wouldn't misbehave in the first place. Yeah, I know, kids do just misbehave because they want what they want when they want it, and don't understand concepts such as time, responsibility, patience etc. And, writing this, I suppose that those are also things which fall under the Emperor's purview, to an extent.
So, maybe I'm a big kid at heart, unwilling to bow to the restrictions placed on me. It's weird, because while I see myself trying to act the Emperor for my son, I also associate him with this card. I drew it to represent him (well, not the Tarot of the Sidhe one) before he was born. And he has certainly placed major restrictions and boundaries on my life, as well as being a petty tyrant if I let him... So, he is an Emperor figure in my life, and also a major reason why I have to call on my own inner Emperor. He is stubborn, and likes things just so, and demands everyone jump to his commands - though that's where the discipline comes in :)
I guess I find the Emperor hard because I don't like structure imposed on me, and I'm not very keen on imposing it on others, either. I recognise the value in it, but it doesn't come naturally to me. All this to say, I should probably work more on this aspect. But not this week, I've had enough of him!