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Vampire Tarot (Place) - IV- The Count (The Emperor)

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Vampire Tarot (Place) - IV- The Count (The Emperor)


Instead of The Emperor in the fourth card, Robert Place includes Dracula himself, in this depiction of masculinity and earthly authority. Though we know Dracula to be a supernatural being, with greater insights than mortal humans, his concerns are still the same as any emperor. Control, survival, material stability, stereotypical symbols of male success. To reinforce this, we see Dracula in his tower (or castle), standing at a window, surveying his kingdom below.

And yet there is (of course) more to the card than these symbols of male dominance and success. Dracula's dress (as described by Place in his excellent accompanying book), is of the Renaissance, which hints at his age, but also a sensitivity and artistic nature. The dragon in his crown, according to Greer, represents the "fierce, vigilant power of the libido". And the devil at his shoulder, which represents his evil nature, also depicts bondage, and being caught up in materialistic concerns.

Finally, the moonlight landscape, instead of an Emperor's kingdom, depicts barren rocky mountains, and a crescent moon. It speaks (to me) of a spiritual loneliness in addition to his physical isolation.

When I first saw this card I didn't think that much of it. But looking at the detail, I must say I like it a lot.
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Thinking about this a little more, Dracula's loneliness could be seen to draw a parallel with the loneliness of a king or emperor, or other person in a place of power - anyone who has to be able to make decisions and stick with them, however unpopular they may be. And while the castle may stay secure, there is definitely a price to be paid for the ability to wield (or possess) that power.
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