This is the seventh post in a series about the Tarot Rugs. To view the entire series, go HERE (that post will be kept up to date as the photos are published and the show travels).
THE EMPEROR: Here is the "classic" Rider-Waite-Smith image below:
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
― Peter F. Drucker
“Power isn’t control at all — power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own.”
― Beth Revis
Those two quotes should give you a hint about this card. Here is ELISSA CROUCH'S interpretation of The Emperor in her tarot rug:
There is a wonderful article on Elissa Crouch's background HERE, along with photos of some of her other rugs. As is the case with so many of the other artists featured in this show, she is a longtime textile artist and certified rug hooking teacher who is obviously beloved by her students. I found it particularly interesting that she comes from a long line of women artists.
Her interpretation of The Emperor is a bold departure from the traditional image, as you can see when you compare the two pictures above. In the RWS image, you see the ram's heads, the jeweled crown, the armor, the orb-and-sceptre, and all that RED and ORANGE (relating to the astrological attributions of the card to Aries, a fire sign). This guy rules. We can only hope he rules wisely and well.
In Elissa's version, she has chosen to focus on Wise Rulership, and we see cooler colors. He is authoritative without the possible rigidity seen in the original card. We see "royal purple" here, rather than the emphasis on reds and oranges. The same mountains are in the background, but white-capped and under the influence of the moon. I loved the addition of the Firebird of myth and legend (aka The Phoenix, in some cultures). You can read about the symbol of the Firebird here.
This is a very different, softer, and hopefully very experienced and wise Emperor.
WHAT DOES THE CARD MEAN?
Just as the Empress card is a leader/ruler of all things creative and of the natural world, the Emperor is a leader/CEO-type for our external lives. He's all about ruling, about POWER, about making decisions and delegation. Fueled by the creative impulses of the previous card, he wants to organize things and get them done. He wants to rule...and/or, he's willing to rule. On James Ricklef's wonderful tarot blog, he uses the following quote to describe this tarot card: “Order marches with weighty and measured strides; disorder is always in a hurry.” (Napoleon I)
Okay...but as you can tell, there are bad and good sides to this type of energy (a statement which is true for EVERY card and the energy it portrays). A skillful use of Emperor energy results in just enough power-wielding, and just enough organization, to have things run smoothly. It can also include the conscious and graceful sharing of power. An unskillful use may mean a flat out power-grab, misuse of power, or can mean that things are over-organized to the point of being rigid.
(Yes, this is a simplified look at the card meanings, due to space constraints.)
When you get this card, ask yourself:
"I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine. Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust."
Queen Elizabeth II
To learn more about the Tarot Rug Project, including how to help getting the rugs to additional venues, go HERE. Scroll down to the bottom of that post for the FAQ. And thanks for reading!
I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), a long-time meditator, a certified meditation teacher and coach, and focused on learning about the interplay of art, creativity, and mindfulness every day.
SITES TO WATCH:
Insight Meditation Society
Oxford Rug Hooking School
Zentangle: The Official Site
Green Mountain Rug Hooking
Massachusetts Tarot Society