The Emperor is an interesting combination of masculine and feminine energies. He looks muscular and masculine himself but he is wearing a lavender silk gown, golden slippers and his hair is braided. He also wears what looks like a pearl ring on his finger. The Eagle is there right behind him on his right and he is probably looking towards it. Maybe he is waiting for a message it will bring to him? The stone animals on his throne look very impressive. They look like wolves or dogs rather than the usual lions. The Empress has same kind of creatures on her throne but they are quite calm. Here the creatures look aggressive and ready to fight.
Yes, I was most interested in the way that the Empress and Emperor are presented as opposites.
...and The Emperor sits outdoors in a natural setting in this deck whereas The Empress is clearly inside a man-made structure...
There are these subtle 'subversions of tradition' throughout the deck.
Okay, the Emperor - obvious departure from the ‘typical’ representation is that he sits in a verdant garden outside the castle walls. Is he the ruler of laws and man, or is he the ruler of Nature, or merely a faithful steward to the laws of nature? I’ve also read that the Emperor symbolizes the social world ‘married’ to nature. I think this is the dominant theme for this card.
Ludy Lescot, in her forward to Tarot readers speaks that we must all understand the idea of ’living nature’, but also of ’concordance’ where multiple doctrines are incorporated to develop higher understanding through symbolism. Through my readings while studying these cards, I have found that her usage of animals as symbols have striking similarities with her pictures. One such instances can be seen here with the eagle flying above the Emperor, and the patterns of his robes which show the infinity symbol, figure 8, or you could even look at it as a spiraling double helix. His hair is braided and tied at the end by a ball, is it fabric? Four ‘ends’ can be seen coming out of the ball, but could these possibly be feathers too? I suggest such only because of the symbolism of the eagle.
Keynote: Illumination of Spirit, Healing, and Creation
Eagle totems speak of being of the Earth but not in it - could this be seen by the Emperor’s removal from the walls of civilization?
The Eagle has been associated with Jupiter the planet of luck and good fortune. It brings about the yearning to explore ideas and places, brings prosperity and success.
In Egyptian hieroglyphics this symbol represented the soul, spirit, and warmth of life. In Christian mysticism it was a symbol of resurrection. In Native American cultures this great spirit controlled lightening, rain, punishment and reward. These powers were believed to be available to any (man) who possessed part of the bird.
The white, or white and black feathers of the eagle were especially important for healing, creation and accessing a well of tremendous wisdom. They are used for cleansing auras and shape shifting.
Eagles are considered messengers from heaven and are thought to be embodied by the spirit of the Sun.
The feet of the eagle have four toes. Four, in this manner, implies keeping oneself grounded and laying a solid foundation for oneself (this would align with our traditional understanding of the Emperor).
Eagles can see forward and sideways, and their vision is eight times greater than humans. “Mediation on the number 8, especially it’s figure (or the symbol of infinity) can reveal what kind of vision that the eagle can awaken."
By aligning oneself with eagle medicine, you must take on the responsibility and the power of becoming much more than you are now. From a karmic aspect, it shows that events will move faster, with repercussions for everything you think, do or say (or fail to think do or say)- positive and negative. By accepting the eagle as a totem you accept a new dimension into your life, a heightened responsibility for your spiritual growth. Only by doing so do you learn how to move between worlds, touch all life with healing, and become the mediator and bearer of new creative force within the world. Animal Speak by Ted Andrews
The Emperor is seen here as gazing at the eagle which I think implies the acceptance of these responsibilities towards nature. Conversely the Empress is looking away from the dove, could she be denying her femininity and maternity? Have the roles switched in these two cards? I see from previous posts that I'm not the only one who has noticed this :)