Father’s Day and The Emperor

Those of us who live in the US will be celebrating Father’s Day this coming Sunday. Since I gave Mother’s Day a shout-out via The Empress, it’s only right that I do the same for Father’s Day and it’s flag bearer, The Emperor.

Card image from the Rider-Waite Tarot (C) US Games Systems Inc.

Immediately some of you just went, “Ugh.” Don’t bother denying it, I heard you.

In some ways, it’s easy to dislike The Emperor.  We can readily associate him with lots of despicable things: abuses of power, “Big Brother,” corporate greed, the outworn patriarchy, the mean Dad who won’t let you go to the prom with 21-year-old Bobbie who’s just dreamy, that boss who is a real prick.

The Emperor can be a real party pooper.

But, and here’s where I’m about to piss off some people, I’ve seen more than my share of Tarot decks that totally disregard the positive aspects of this character, relegating him (and his cohorts in the Tarot deck) to a position of “should be in jail” rather than holding his own within the essential archetypes, which is where he belongs.

In an effort to give voice to “the feminine,” one unbalanced system was replaced by a different but equally unbalanced system. This does none of us any good.

We can’t throw the baby out with the bath water on this one.  The “Archetype of the Father” is not something you can take a personal stand against and say, “No thanks.” If there is a cultural crisis in America it’s, in part, related to the lack of positive Father Archetypes available to us, to both children and parents, to both men and women.

We can’t internalize something which isn’t modeled for us, and when we throw out that bath water a lot of personal power goes along with it. Since this is a blog and not a larger format, I won’t go on and on to belabor the point; you get my drift.

And so in honor of Father’s Day, I’m putting out the challenge to embrace, model, and/or identify a positive aspect of The Emperor:

*Step into a leadership role
*Take command of a situation
*Be the person who makes a change for the better
*Stand up for something that’s important to you
*Build a structure around some chaos in your life
*Create a plan to fulfill a goal
*Be the captain of your own ship, the king of your castle.

Come on, I know you want to.

And if you really want to go big:

*Build something (a shelving unit, a house for the dog, volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, it doesn’t matter)
*Start your own small business
*Create a nonprofit, a charity organization, a “Walk for Diabetes” fundraiser
*Become a real Big Brother
*Be a good partner and/or parent

It’s not a crime to own your personal power, but it is a crime to waste it.

And finally: if you have/had a father who actually stepped into the positive energy of The Emperor archetype, be very grateful. You are among the few that are so blessed.



  1. Josephine Mori said,

    June 12, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    It’s not The Emperor you have to watch out for. It’s The Hierophant.

  2. June 12, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Emperor on the personal, psychological level; Hierophant on the social/cultural/belief systems level.

    • Josephine Mori said,

      June 12, 2012 at 6:43 PM

      That’s what I’m talkin’ about. Insidious. Didn’t intend my original comment in any sort of didactic manner. In re-reading, might have seemed that way.

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