Key Phrase: Consciousness generates.
Symbolism: An androgynous face sits amidst the powerful and expansive red energies of force.
New Energy Narrative
In the new energy, this archetype teaches a fundamental truth of creation’s magic, which is that nothing happens, nothing is created, nothing is formed, without the driving force of will. Passive attraction and sheep-like “acceptance of what is” accomplishes nothing, or serves another’s agenda. In order to be a fully empowered lightworker, you must not passively submit. IIn order to be a fully empowered star, you must gather strength and shift yourself into creative and willful action. To engage in creative activity, you must connect, initiate/energize, and empower. Only then will things begin to manifest in a direction favourable to you and the planet.
At the highest and most aligned levels, this archetype represents the mission-drive that comes with full realization and acceptance of your purpose here on Earth. Having responded to the call, you have emancipated and reformed your mind. Moving forward and leaving behind your past, you have healed and reconnected. Now, you are a confident and joyful master here to work on the world. Free of self-doubt, you no longer accept limitation. Aligned with your highest Self, you draw strength and remove archetypal shackles. You emancipate and activate so Self can be reborn in full power. You embrace your full willful strength as you step into your role as lightworker.
At mundane levels, this archetype represents the purpose-driven action that comes with confidence, strength, and power. You should not be afraid of personal power and control. You should not be afraid of your own will or imposing creative direction. Remember, you are a joyful master of creation and you are here on a mission. Use Force + Formation in balance to finish The Plan and graduate the show.
Old Energy Narrative
The old energy archetypal message of the emperor is simple and straightforward. In the old energy, this archetype is all about male power and authority, conceived as active,1 controlling, and legalistic, and in a vile and authoritarian way.2
As Papus says, commenting on the symbolism, “The helmet indicates the rule of the Divine Will in the Universe, and its universal action in the creation of Life (eagle).”3
As Benebell says “Traditionally, if the card appears in a man’s reading, it indicates self-mastery and virile power, and in a woman’s, a father figure. The modern, more gender-neutral approach is to interpret it as dominance and superiority in the work, career, and business realms. When the Emperor card appears, themes of order, authority, and jurisdiction will be at play.”4 The ostensible and open goal and message of this archetype is male power and domination over society. As Pollack notes, “In readings the Emperor indicates (following the Rider pack image) the power of society, its laws and especially its authority to enforce those laws.”5 This card claims authority and willful power for the male form, while denigrating and relegating the female form and female authority to dominance over the “natural” world, a convenient and pointed political and economic deflection.
In truth, there is nothing wrong with forceful and willful creation. Without the force of will, nothing happens and nothing gets done. The key here is to recognize the great equation of creation…
Force + Formation = Creation
…and to use force and formation in balance, in service to the Divine Plan, in the interests of evolution and graduation of the species, and not the puerile and venal interests of power and privilege for some, and slavery and exclusion for others.
In the new energy, male or female, white or black, pink or yellow, we all embrace our full power and claim joyful our creative authority. To manifest what we want in the world, we use force and formation in balance. Of course, this requires that we break the association of male with force/yang and female with formation/yin. This requires we embrace both within a single bodily form, in whatever particular expression we choose.
Note that in the new energy we do not use creation’s equation for the pursuit of privilege, power, and exclusion. In the new energy we understand, power and force applied in the interest of hierarchy, domination, exclusion, and personal enrichment leads, inevitably, to a downward spiraling toxic path of disease, disconnection, death, and eventual planetary debacle. Therefore, in the new energy, we aim our creative efforts at healing and reconnecting the planet. In the new energies, we apply force and formation to uplift, transform, and connect.
Moving forward, we must root out and replace all vestigates of binary gender and the association of the male form exclusively with force. We can incarnate with whatever combination of force and formation we like. Truly, there is a rainbow of possible options.
To eliminate old energy emperor archetypes from your brain,
- Realize that force is not a bad thing. Force is one side of creation’s equation. High or low, male or female, learn to accept force as an energy and use it to manifest your creation. Just remember, reject the dominating, patriarchal, exclusionary, and out of balance use of force.
- Watch out for ideas that emphasize submission to the will of another, or obeisance before someone’s thrown. Remember, personal creation and manifestion is the heart of the new energy force and formation archetypes. Remember, new energy use of force is balanced by formation. Remember, new energy force is inclusive, egalitarian, uplifting, protective, nurturing, and divine.
- Watch out for notions that men should be in control, that men are natural leaders, that God is a male on a throne. At one time this out of balance and male-focused yang allowed the species to move beyond Pastoral Comfort. Now it simply threatens all life. Instead, embrace respectful creative will and collective and loving formation. Set your sights on personal and collective healing and reconnection. This is the final step before graduation can commence.
Group Study Questions
- Both force and formation are about rebalancing yin and yang energies. This rebalance requires identification of gender-based stereotypes in consciousness and rejection of these stereotypes. Examine your old energy ideas of gender. On a notepad write the headings MALE and FEMALE and underneath these write out the stereotyped characteristics of gender you were trained to accept as reality. When you have written these out, take a moment to recognize that these are all just personality characteristics which you can choose from to construct the manifested you. You can adopt a characteristic or not, depending simply on what parts of the vast cosmic You, you choose to be, and so can others. Do not judge based on personality characteristics. Dismiss stereotypes, especially those that diminish, belittle, and disempower others. Understand and accept the rainbow spectrum of energy.
- If you are a patriarch/matriarch in a home, a corporation, or a military hierarchy, take a few moments and examine the justifications you use to normalize your power over others and excuse your toxic behaviours. Why is it OK for you to give orders without reference to the needs or desires of those below? Whose agenda do you serve with your submission, loyalty, and deference? What sacrifices have you made so that you can play a role in the toxic show?
- It is OK to use force to create your life, so long as you do it with balance and consideration for all life forms, not just your own. Harm nothing (ahimsa) and uplift everything is the ideal you should live and strive for. With this in mind, examine areas in your life where more force is needed in or to create and transform. When you have identified these areas, apply appropriate force. It always helps to visualize, so imagine your hands uplifted and directing force (think master and force archetypes). do not leave it at visualization though. Always follow your visions with the physical actions required to manifest.
1Papus, The Tarot of the Bohemians.
2Zalewski and Zalewski, The Magical Tarot of the Golden Dawn.
3Papus, The Tarot of the Bohemians, 97.
4Wen, Holistic Tarot: An Integrative Approach to Using Tarot for Personal Growth.
5Pollack, Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, 52.