Journal Entries

Midweek Mindfulness: The Emperor Reversed

Watercolor background with a reversed image of The Emperor Card from the Tarot of the Divine. It features a king holding a sword and wearing a red cloak. There is a castle in the background

CW: Oppression and the BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S+, and differently-abled communities.
Approx. Reading time: 1.5 mins.

How does an imbalance in power show up in your life? Where is it your experience that things that should feel fair and equitable do not?

Traditionally, The Emperor is known to represent the concept of “father” in the tarot. In taking an inclusive look at this card where gender and the capacity to bear children do not factor in, we are looking at societal expectations and authoritarian structures. Despite the efforts of powerful movements toward change, we still live in a society that values conformity and oppresses those who do not. We see an aching imbalance in how folx are treated based solely on their appearance and/or identity.

This imbalance affects us all whether we are misunderstood and marginalized or not. For those of us with privilege, part of the healing and recalibration process is our acknowledgment of this. Cis white folx like myself will never experience the layers of abuse that othered communities do and moving through life with this understanding is the first step in healing this poison. Taking further action steps to align ourselves with a future that we want to be a part of, where safety is a birthright rather than something that is doled out according to the holder is the work we need to be doing.

This work belongs to the folx with privilege to heal. So, where are we using this to elevate the voices that are being silenced? How much of our time is dedicated to unpacking the years of conditioning that continue to factor into our output in this world? How often are we listening to the BIPOC and LGBTQIA2S+ voices that are sharing their struggles and how are we contributing to the reparation of these injustices? What about our inborn ableism? How are we showing up with the intention of accommodation? The only way to undo the damage done is to work diligently on a different path forward. Only then can we begin to brew the medicine that is a fair and just society.

With love, Carrie

From Tarot of the Divine by Yoshi Yoshitani:


04 – The Emperor

04 - The Emperor

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. There are many incredible websites that offer traditional meanings and correspondences. 

Following the previous discussion we had about The Empress, and our relationship with the concept of “Mother,” comes the concept of “Father” with The Emperor. Although this card carries many positive connotations, for those of us who have experienced unpleasant fatherly relationships or associate this card with patriarchy in general, it presents a wonderful opportunity for healing.

The Emperor is an actively masculine card and the character is often depicted wearing battle gear which coincides with his aggressive aspect. How you have experienced and interacted with authority in your life may surface with this card. This may be a good time to reflect on the difference between healthy masculinity and toxic masculinity and how that has played a part in your life.

The Emperor represents the solid, material world. Where the Empress brings us the drive to create, The Emperor can help us shape this concept into something tangible. There is an element of responsibility with this card, which may indicate obligations that have been neglected.

Growing up, were you exposed to any role models that demonstrated healthy masculinity? What were you able to take forward from that? On the flipside, did you spend time around unhealthy or toxic masculine energy? What have you carried forward with you that could be healed? We all carry the ability to harness our masculine and feminine energy in different ways. This energy is not static, and the wonderful part is that we can choose to change how we utilize these energies at any time. Regardless of your gender orientation, you may be more aware of your feminine aspects or masculine aspects and it is a healthy balance of both that can help us become our highest self.

Another thing to consider with this card is: where is my life currently lacking stability? Do I need to make decisions in order to move forward? This is where the active masculine energy can serve you well. Stand in your power and trust your decision-making abilities. Perhaps a free-write in your journal about areas in your life that need direction might be helpful. The Emperor can also present an opportunity for you to fill a fatherly or authoritative role. What might that look like?