Mansions of the Moon Tarot by ZADOK (firstname.lastname@example.org) Self-Published
Traditional Meaning: Power & authority, laws, discipline, active male principle
TarotBroad’s Buzz: Akhenaten is an interesting choice for the Emperor. Pharoahs were viewed as all-mighty God-Kings, holding the power of life and death over their people. But Akhenaten was a little different. He weakened the power of the priests of Amen-Ra, and focused his worship on Aten – the solar disc with claw-tipped rays emanating from it. Akhenaten also broke with tradition by having himself and his family portrayed in a more realistic (almost caricaturish) style, rather than the standard straight, perfect forms usually seen in Egyptian art. Akhenaten is shown as being somewhat effeminate and curved in appearance, with a rounded abdomen and sloping forehead. This is quite a contrast to his wife Nefertiti’s perfectly formed features. He also moved his capital and temple to el Amarna, despite the prostests of the priests.
By most accounts Akhenaten’s rule was seen as joyous (at least as reflected in the art at that time) and, if not the best ruler of Egypt he certainly doesn’t seem to be the worst. He is often portrayed with his wife and children and there is some speculation that his wife disappeared from the records because she became his co-ruler and eventual successor, Smenkara. She was also quite active in promoting the worship of Aten. He is also something of an iconoclast – breaking with the polytheistic traditions of his ancestors to focus on the sole worship of Aten. Akhenaton is also the father/father-in-law of Tutankhamen, the boy-king and probably the most famous Pharoah known in modern times.
I find this image of an Egyptian Pharoah very interesting. Akhenaten symbolizes the power and authority of the Emperor, softened by his love for his wife and family. He was also open to new ideas and concepts, as shown by his willingness to limit his religious worship to Aten, despite the furor it caused. He could be seen as a wise ruler open to new ideas and thought and willing to listen to others but he also knew how to use his power and authority if the need arose. Overall Akhenaten could be viewed as a positive, powerful & beneficent Emperor.
Wheel of Change Tarot created by Alexandra Gennetti Published by Destiny Books, 1997
The Book Says: “The Emperor is a lawgiver, and the hierarchical structure of society gives him the power to dispense his law. He believes that this is the only structure of human society that will preserve order and will bring growth. His law is the law of the land, and he is a strict disciplinarian. He is the father in a family whose just rule must be obeyed; he believes that freedom given to individuals results in chaos, so under his rule people will be more secure if they do not think for themselves. He will think for everyone and we will be like children under him.”
My interpretation: The Emperor represents the structure and laws created by society. He is a father/king figure. He often reminds me of the legendary Arthur – who created a structured and lawful society only to find himself trapped by his own rules. This Emperor represents the Solar king but he also has a connection to the structures and cycles of nature. The oak leaves and acorns connect him with the myths of the Oak King and the Holly King who take turns winning control of nature at the Solstices. The silver and gold orbs show his connection to the conscious and the unconscious, his masculine and feminine sides. He seems imposing yet approachable.
This Emperor is a firm ruler but not an unfairly rigid one. He can be both the benevolent dictator and the harsh taskmaster. I see this card as representing that side of human nature that craves rules and regulations to follow. Not having to think for ourselves can often be very appealing to humans. If we don’t have to think then we also don’t have to take responsibility for our actions. The Emperor is both the positive side of laws, civilization and society and the negative side (“I was just following orders”)
The 4 of Swords shows me in lovely detail that I need to stop overthinking these things. It’s time to relax a little, rest my weary mind and just spend some times enjoying butterflies. Reality is that no matter how much I worry or try to think of ways to improve this situation there is only so much I can do. Worrying and becoming stressed over this situation is not going to improve it. It’s okay to give myself periodic breaks from the worrying.
The Queen of Pentacles reversed puzzled me at first but while discussing it with a friend I realized she’s telling me that I need to re-define how I see prosperity and abundance. I don’t need to use the typical, consumerist definition (“he who has the most toys wins”). If I have learned anything from this experience it’s that I can be happy with much less money than I realized. She embodies the concept of abundance and prosperity; of having enough resources to care for ourselves and others. That may or may not mean having a wealth of financial resources.
Not having as much excess cash has forced me to become more selective about what I purchase. I’m not as willing to engage in a bout of retail therapy so the things I acquire are things I really want or need. I am reducing the amount of “toys” I already have as well as resisting the need to purchase new ones. I finally realized that all I was doing was using “toys” to distract myself from things that left me unhappy and unfulfilled. In truth I had been unhappy at my job for a few years before I was finally terminated. The joy had gone out of it for me. These two cards remind me that rather than just seeking a way to generate income I need to find something that fulfills me on other levels too.
I’m not going to be happy simply earning a paycheck. I want to feel that I am contributed to the greater good in some way. Of course it is also possible that I could find a way to earn money that won’t fulfill this desire but will give me enough free time to achieve that goal in other ways. In the past I have been able to perform well at jobs that are not very challenging but don’t require much in the way of mental resources, energy or overtime. Regardless of how this plays out, it’s time to embrace a new standard of abundance in my life and stop worrying about what was lost.
Looking at the 6 of Pentacles with its abundant and autumnal imagery, I was struck by the fact that one prevailing attitude when I was a child was that there was never enough. Looking at the apple trees blessing us with an abundance of fruit, I realized we didn’t baskets let alone trees. We were often forced to move from an apartment because we were unable to pay rent. I remember the most humiliating experiences were when I was sent grocery shopping and didn’t have the cash to pay for everything at the register. For an adult that may be embarrassing. For a 10 year old child it was excruciatingly, piercingly painful. I still remember the humiliation of having to select items to return while the other folks on line stared, grumbled and glared. I always swore I would never find myself in that situation again. And yet in many ways, here I am.
It’s not about being unwilling to share or being stingy, it’s about feeling that I just don’t have it. I would love to be able to help out others but that’s just not possible right now. I also find it difficult to ask for help from others. Being on the receiving end of charity stirs up those old emotions and leaves me feeling like a beggar.
I think the Queen of Swords is who I became as a result of some of these childhood experiences. She is the intellectual, rather unemotional shell with which I surrounded myself. She may not be the true me at my deepest core but she is the persona I adopt to adapt to that situation. What makes me laugh is that the smirk on her face tells me she knows this. She knows me better than I do. This is also the part of me that forces me to face the truth; who cuts away the bullshit.
The combination of these two cards tells me that my childhood poverty and my preferred method of dealing with the world (intellectualization, rationalization, etc.) have combined to convince me that I don’t care about money. I don’t need money. It’s know important to me. In reality it is very important to me. Not that I need a lot of money but I need to feel secure and grounded. My childhood had some very gypsy-like moments as we were forced to move around because we couldn’t afford the rent in our apartment. As a result I often felt as though I lived on a fault-line. You never knew when things was going to be some upheaval.
I think the Queen of Swords is also letting me know that I need to get to the truth of how I want my relationship with money to be. I need to be honest with myself and realistic about how much money I need, what I’m willing to do to earn money and how much influence I want it to have in my life.
That companion book for this deck describes the 8 of Cups being about trusting your instincts and not letting logic brain distract you from continuing your journey. For me I think this cards message is that I’m not there yet. I’m still working on trusting my instincts and intuition. I’ve gotten better over the last few years but I still have a ways to go. A friend offered that perhaps there was some issue I still hadn’t been able to let go and leave behind and that is holding me back. That certainly makes sense but right now I’m not seeing what that might be.
The Ace of Pentacles, my little hedgehog, has decided to show up again. Once again he serves as a reminder that the quieter, less visible path to creating new wealth and manifesting a new life can be just as powerful as roaring in the sun. He also points his little nose towards the figure in the 8 of Cups so he is suggesting that whatever that represents is the key to moving forward in a new career and finding new prosperity.
I was still unclear about the message of this card so I pull a clarifier and received The Magician. He looks like a youthful, self-indulgently sexy Sirius Black. He is a figure of promise and power, magic and manifestation. He bares his chest to show that the way to my heart’s desire is control and will. If I will it to be so and am willing to exert the self-control necessary to focus my energies and channel them, I can make things happen.
This card initially just confused me more. I wasn’t getting the message until I laid the cards side by side. Then I realized the man on the reversed 8 of Cups is looking behind him, the hedgehog on the reversed Ace of Pentacles is looking towards the 8 of Cups and The Magician is looking directly at me. If I read them together they tell me “stop looking behind you, let go of past success and wealth. The future is in your heart and will”. Okay, that might not be so earth-shattering but at least I’m starting to get it. What remains unexplored is the past and how it might still be impacting me.
In many ways I’ve worked through some of it but I used to think that I’ll never fully forgive or forget. However if I want to thrive and triumph I need to find the path to do both those things. In order to put the hurt and pain behind me and free myself for potential prosperity, I need to accept and embrace those experiences. They helped make me who I am today and even if they were unfair, biased and not based on any professional lack on my part. None of that matters. I had given so much of myself to that job that it tore my heart out when I was fired. Intellectually I understand that it was driven by personality issues between “he who must be obeyed” and me. In my heart I just feel hurt and betrayed, like a little kid left out of the game. The only way I can truly lose in this situation is if I let it keep me down. Screw that! I won’t let anyone else do that to me and I won’t do it to myself either.
I’ve decided to change things up a bit for my daily card readings. In the past I had pulled the same card from two different decks and comparing them. That’s grown a bit stale for me so instead I will now be doing a weekly spread pulling a card for each day of the week on Monday (but I will only turn one card over at a time). Then I will use a second deck to pull a daily card that can serve as a modifier to the first.
So my card for today from the weekly spread is the Sage of Money & the Material World reversed. In a traditional deck this would be the King of Pentacles. This accurately reflects my financial situation at this time – I’m broke. Things will turn around shortly but I’m waiting for some checks to clear and until they do I’m in very tight financial straits. Not fun by any means (it is frustrating to have so little control over one’s financial situation even if it’s only for a day). On the other hand at least I know it’s a temporary situation (well for now anyway).
The image for this card shows an older, bearded man wearing a turban. He expression seems sharp but piercing, as though he can see through your personal bullshit and find the truths we often hide from ourselves. I have a sense that he is telling me that I could have avoided this situation if I took a more practical, planned approach to my finances. I sometimes go in mini-binges and spend money for things I don’t need but that behavior comes back to bite me on the ass later in the month. I’m getting better about this but sometimes I still struggle with it. His clear-eyed, somewhat stern gaze is calling me to task because I know better and I know I know better.
The Tarot of the Secret Forest 2 of Wands shows a white owl in flight near a dark tree. The owl appears to be landing or has her claws extended to grasp something (perhaps prey?). For some reason this image reminds me of the human soul and how it needs to soar free and seek inspiration and beauty in the world so it can thrive. The owl seems almost ghostly, a messenger from the Otherworld seeking to remind me that my spirit doesn’t need possessions to soar.
The combined message I get from these two cards is that I need to stop focusing on “things” and buying stuff. My spirit doesn’t need them to be happy. Instead I need to focus on feeling my soul, allowing it to spread it wings and fly free. I need to tap into my creative side and allow it to feed, to seek those dark somewhat scary places within myself and see what it can find. It’s not true that whoever has the most toys wins. Instead the truth is that whoever gets the most joy our of their lives wins. In fact I think the most stuff we have, the more these things start to own us instead of the other way around. It’s time to lighten up and let go of some stuff. I’ve already started this process but perhaps it’s time to expand it into other areas as well.
Instead of clinging to old habits such as soothing myself with stuff, I need to tap into that joy and allow it to spread its glorious wings throughout my life. It’s about loving what I do and who I am not doing things to make money so I can distract myself from my unhappiness by buying stuff (or eating stuff for that matter).
Hmm, I’m taking this card as a good sign that this gent turned up. He gives me some hope that I’m moving in the right direction and that I’ve got some things under control. Right now things are getting quite scary on the fiscal front. We’ve been hanging in there but we’re starting to reach our limit. Things are still tight all over. When I hear reports about the economy improving I wonder where they’re looking. I still know quite a few people who are unemployed or under-employed. Folks are still scared and scrambling just to hold it together.
I have learned that I can survive on less money than I would have believed possible. I have also learned to enjoy what I already have rather than looking for new distractions. I want to be a successful Tarot reader and counselor. I want to be able to support myself doing something I love and that I feel allows me to make a difference. I want to offer help to people when I can. I also want to make a living.
Both these figures seem secure, comfortable and confident in their surroundings. They are not worried that they will be able to support themselves, they know they can and have achieved that goal. They can be mentors for me. In fact perhaps they are reinforcing some of the messages I’ve been getting this week to ask for help and guidance when necessary. I can’t do it all by myself. The only way to address that issue is to admit I need help and ask for it. There is no shame in that. It doesn’t make me a failure. In fact it will serve me better than wasting hours stumbling around in the dark on my own. That might be a bit challenging to put into action but now that I know I need to be aware of it, I can start taking steps to fix the issue.
As the saying goes no woman is an island. Being a “rugged individualist” will only take you so far. Eventually one needs to seek guidance from a map or a guide or someone who has already explored the terrain. It’s not shameful, simply sensible. I need to start being sensible and work on strategies and plans to help me reach this goal. Otherwise it will all be wasted effort and what’s the point in that.