Celtic Wisdom Tarot
Text by Caitlin Matthews, art by Olivia Raynor
Destiny Books, 1999 ISBN 0-89281-720-8
The Book says: The Keeper shows Teutatis (Ruler of the People), a title that is recognized across the Celtic world. The regional chieftains and rulers of every tribe all came under the fatherly eye of the Keeper. Due to the fractious nature of local tribal chieftains, a strong ruler or over king (Ard Righ) who could reconcile factions and galvanize tribes into a common purpose was invaluable.
Keywords: Leadership, administration, stability, the harmony of orderly peace, independence, autonomy, authority, fatherhood, intelligence, benevolence, self-assurance.
Reversed: Disorganization, instability, dependence, subservience, ineffectual, authoritarian, domineering, ruthless.
Soul-Wisdom: The Keeper of Harmony maintains the order of life. As the father of his people, he will not let them fall into chaos and dissension. What is the source of your own authority as a human being?
TarotBroad’s Buzz: To me this card symbolizes the positive and beneficial aspects of the Emperor as well as suggesting how restricting that position can be. Teutatis holds the two figures firmly in order to prevent them from battling from each other. He is trying to maintain the peace without overpowering them. The game board beneath Teutatis’ face represents the need for strategy and planning before taking action. Even war is often a matter of proper strategizing and outwitting your opponent. The golden torc symbolizes rulership in Celtic lands. And the bramble or vine, which can grow in any soil, represents a something which grows quickly and is not easily removed. So the Keeper shows us a wise, tenacious ruler who uses his judgment and strength to protect his people.
When I was looking at this card and reviewing the history of the Celtic tribal battles I was immediately struck by the fact that The Keeper would be an ideal president of the US. The Keeper ruled over the local tribal chieftains as the President rules over local governors. The Keeper must use wits, strategy, determination and strength of will to enforce his rule and protect his people, from others and from himself. This is also something useful to US Presidents. But at the same time a poor Keeper would be more dangerous to his people than the anarchy he supposedly holds back. Ditto for a US President. And to some extent The Keeper is trapped in his position, like a US President. Their personal feelings about an issue cannot interfere with their ability to make an executive decision and take a stand. He must always act in the best interest of his people or he is not worthy of his office.
A true leader, The Keeper understands that more can be gained through wits and strategy than through dominance and aggression. He is strong but not a bully and prefers to battle with his intellect rather than a spear. The Keeper’s strength is what allows his people to flourish and build a stable foundation. Upon that foundation great cities may rise and fall but without that stability they may never exist at all. The Keeper is the stern father-figure who holds us all accountable for our actions and metes out punishment as needed. He understands that consequences are an important part of maturing and if we never fail then we lose opportunities for growth and to experience life. Without his strength and reliability behind us, we might not feel confident enough to face failure and the vicissitudes of life. With his support and wisdom we feel capable of overcoming any obstacles in our path.