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Alchemical Study Group - IV The Emperor

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Alchemical Study Group - IV The Emperor


(From the Book)

"Use you toward me such devotion of hearing as I shall bring unto you magistry of doctrine and wisdom, for I show to you a true testimony of those things which I have seen with my own eyes and felt with my hands."
--Rosarium Philosophorum (pg. 9)

Whereas the Empress is the expression of feminine energy grounded in the physical, the Emperor is the expression of the masculine physical. In addition, he represents the element of air, which in turn symbolizes intellect. Thus, the Empress is the body and the Emperor the spirit. The latter term, spirit, was used during Renaissance times to mean the mind.

The Emperor also represents the ego. He is related to Apollo, the light of reason. Here, he sits high lofty on his rock in his element, air. The eagle, sacred to Zeus/Jupiter, the emperor of gods, is testimony to his regal position, and connects him to the heavens.

In alchemy, the eagle represents the volatile, which transforms the fixed, that is, the agent that has the power to transform matter into its most refined state. The volatile is none other than Hermes/Mercury--the Magician--the living spirit of alchemy. Like the Empress, the Emperor continues the process of dissolution of the prima materia, which was initiated by the High Priestess.

The Emperor's number, four, is the number of the physical world: there are four seasons, four directions and four elements (air, earth, water and fire). Four symbolizes completeness, solidity and stability. Four also represents the three dimensions of our physical plane plus the fourth dimension of time, and thus establishes the space-time continuum.

Tarot wisdom: The Emperor grounds us and stabilizes us. He establishes his firm domain over the physical realm, ruling with a keen intellect and confidence in his powers. Yet, he is linked to the otherworldly dimensions that must be traversed not in body but in spirit. He keeps us anchored while we penetrate those uncertain frontiers, giving us a lifeline before we feel ready to let loose our earthly bonds and fly.

This drawing was inspired by the title page of Anatomia auri, 1628, by Johann Daniel Mylius.
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This card has a very powerful central line, so much so that I guess that the eagle is almost a secondary feature to the solid rock that The Emperor is standing upon. He, The Emperor, is a King and so related to the Sun, whereas The Empress is the Queen and so related to the Moon, two opposites. Notice how The Empress is surrounded by a bountiful region while The Emperor has nothing around him, and what he stands upon is barren. His only companion, the eagle, sits on his left arm and is looking at him while he is looking down to the right. Maybe he is on the mountain seen in the back of The Empress.

Placed next together they both seem to look at each other but are separated. The King and Queen know they need to be together but cannot bridge the gap.

Maybe the eagle is the missing animal I mentioned when talking about The Empress, she needs her King to be complete. Whereas she is standing, leaning on a tree, he has started to move forward toward the goal of union (check IV The Lovers) after he has been taught by V The Hierophant.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny
Maybe the eagle is the missing animal I mentioned when talking about The Empress, she needs her King to be complete. Whereas she is standing, leaning on a tree, he has started to move forward toward the goal of union (check IV The Lovers) after he has been taught by V The Hierophant.
Interesting connection Kenny.

Mac22
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I'll comment more on this card later when I have more spare time, but for now I just wanted to add that it seems to be the same Eagle as in the King of Swords.
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I really like the connection to the element of air. That make so much sense to me. I agree with Kenny about the contrast between the Empress and this card. She is surrounded by growth and his environment is indeed barren. He is certainly in the realm of the mind, not the body. But I particularly like this quote from the book...

Quote:
He keeps us anchored while we penetrate those uncertain frontiers, giving us a lifeline before we feel ready to let loose our earthly bonds and fly.
This is a really interesting idea for me anyway. And I do really like the link to the King of Swords with the Eagle. Also the Eagle makes an appearance on the Two of Coins, being swallowed by the lion.
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