MAAT Study Group-The Emperor


Full Moon Cycle of Aries

September 23-October 21

Planetary Ruler Venus ( love, beauty and ease of living)

The overall theme or lesson of the Emperor/Aries lunar cycle is all about the cause and effect of mortality. The things we do, the decisions we make, the pressures of our mortality can influence our actions and reactions to the world around us. See how the minor cards create to this theme.(see 2 of Swords, 3 of Swords, King of Swords and 4 of Swords)

The MAAT Tarot calendar begins with the Full Moon cycle of Aries that occurs before Halloween. Also known as the Witch's New Year, this is the time of the year when all that is green changes to the beautiful gold, oranges and reds of autumn. The Death of the 'Green Man' and his transformation into the 'Lord of Shadows' signals the coming of the dark days of winter. The season of autumn is the metaphor for our own mortality. Just as I was finishing the Ancestral Path Tarot, I came across a passage in the book "Egypt Canaan and Israel in Ancient Times" (Donald B. Redford; Princeton University Press; 1992). I found a word on pages 229- 231 used by the ancient Egyptians that leapt off the page. The word was "Em-par-Re," which translates to "In the House of RA." This was the title given to the immigrants of high status to Egypt. Em-par-Re was a diplomatic title for upper class foreigners wishing to become Egyptian citizens. The idea was that Ra (the sun) ruled over all the lands, and even a person of high social status was lowly compared to him but could be acknowledged as being a resident of the House of Ra. Quite possibly this could be the origin of the word 'emperor'. The aristocratic foreigner wishing to immigrate would be given the title Em-par-Re, followed by the name of the Egyptian official who was giving him this immigration status. For example, Octavius of Rome (who was the first Roman leader to use the title 'emperor' of Rome) went to Egypt with his armies, claimed to be the ruler and made Egypt part of Rome. Of course, given language barriers and cultural perspective, the Egyptians thought, "This foreign leader must be asking to become a citizen of Egypt." An Egyptian official named Augustus would have then named Octavius 'Em-par-Re Augustus'. Octavius then goes back to Rome thinking, in his blatant Roman bias, "I am Emperor Augustus of Rome, conqueror of Egypt." Obviously after 4000+ years of sovereignty, Egypt's world view did not put Rome at the center of the civilized world. The Egyptians believed that it was their god Ra that ruled over all the lands, after all Ra was seen everywhere they traveled. Their Pharaoh was simply Ra's physical representative on Earth; a Head Priest, Shaman or Channel.

The Emperor in MAAT Tarot (the cycle of Full Moon in Aries) is represented by the ram- headed god Amun Re, chief of all gods in Ancient Egyptian culture. Amun-Re gave life to all creatures and beautiful animals. He was the most ancient in heaven, the eldest in all the world and was thought to dwell in all things. As the season changes and the light of the sun weakens, we observe the life force of the plants also fade. In Celtic cultures it is the season when the Green Man dies only to be reborn as the Dark Lord of Shadows, Lord of the Hunt. In autumn, hunter-gatherers turned to hunting wild game as vegetation became sparse. This full moon is known in some cultures as the Harvest Moon, signaling a time for fields to be harvested. After the domestication of animals occurred, this moon also signaled a time to bring the animals indoors.

For the people who had to sustain their domesticated animals through the winter it didn't make sense to keep large numbers of male animals around. Males would fight with each other for dominance, and eat too much of the winter-feed. A single, large, beautiful male would be chosen for breeding purposes and the other male animals would be harvested for human sustenance. The female animals, often pregnant, would give birth in the spring to restock the herd. The Harvest Moon reminds us that death is part of the healthy transitions of life and that our time on earth will someday come to pass. As the green growth of the garden of Earth loses its chlorophyll and fades into its true colors, the season of the hunt begins. We are also reminded of our own transitory glory in the house of Ra.

The message of the cycle of Full Moon in Aries is, as the trees go from uniform green to the plant's natural variety of brilliant hues, to 'show our true colors' and let our inner selves shine through. We are young, and strong only for a short time. We should not be afraid to be who we are in this life. Our physical time is limited, so live from the heart, without the shackles of regret. What we believe about ourselves is what we will become. We should never wait to become who we are for it is later than we think. Our mortality is the gift that gives us a reason for self-focus. The Emperor teaches us that while it is good to serve others, we should never forget our own value.

Other names: Green Man (post-agriculture); Horned God of Fertility (pre-agriculture); The Dagda (the Good God with horns of ram, deer, or bull); Dionysis; God of the Vine; Osiris; Cernunnos; Pan; Arthur; Robin; Dumuzi; Annual King; Herne the Hunter; God of Nature; God of the Underworld and Astral Plane; Great Father; Lord of Light; Hu Gad (Druidic); Belatucadros; Vitiris; Amon Re (ram-horned God of all living creatures); All ancient horned gods of the Hunt.

Symbols: Ram; Stag; Bull; Horned Serpent; animals

Attributes: Virility; fertility; physical love; nature; woodlands; reincarnation; cross roads; wealth and commerce; hunter-gatherer; oneness with nature; mortality

Aries Full Moon key phrase: 'I am'

In a Reading: This card represents a person of power who is often at the center of the lives of the people around them. This person is not afraid to speak up for people who are too timid to speak up for themselves. This personality type makes no apologies, for the way they are, if you don't like them its your problem. They realize life is too short to wait for someday and they never miss an opportunity. When seeking information about timing this card would represent a critical turning point, with a now or never; do it your own way; take matters into your own hands tone.


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This card is the first one that drew me to your deck!!

What we believe about ourselves is what we will become.

"As we think so shall we be." In all honesty, I have not put these phrases into my thinking about the Emperor before. Horned God, yes; but not the idea of short life, and take life by the horns and such.

I don't know the history you refer to here. I have yet to read all through your book ~ I'm still acclimating myself to the cards. But I do relate to the Horned God aspect. Animal husbandry and the like.



Skydancer said:
This card is the first one that drew me to your deck!!

"As we think so shall we be." In all honesty, I have not put these phrases into my thinking about the Emperor before. Horned God, yes; but not the idea of short life, and take life by the horns and such.

I don't know the history you refer to here. I have yet to read all through your book ~ I'm still acclimating myself to the cards. But I do relate to the Horned God aspect. Animal husbandry and the like.


Not necessarily a 'short' life but a 'finite' one.

crazy raven

Hi Julie,

I read your thread with great interest and do believe that the archetypical Aries definitely takes pride at being on Earth and proud of his drive and creativity to fulfill his desires.

Carl Jung or Jungian psychology chose 7 basic archetypes to help us symbolically understand their nature. As I read through them and tried to find a symbol to fit the Maat Emperor, I couldn’t. I saw each one in him!

The Archetype: Self
Characteristics: Ego, individual
Symbols in Nature: Home environment; complete meadow, forest or habitat; individual trees, plants. Totems; seeds; eggs; outdoor temples.

The Archetype: Feminine
Characteristics: Mothering; birth; beauty; receptivity; acceptance; creative/intuitive.
Symbols in Nature: Cave; holes in trees; tunnels; blossoming plants; archways, bushes, nests: eggs: pods, ponds and lakes; night; moon; water; female plants and animals.

The Archetype: Masculine
Characteristics: Fathering; initiating; organizing; fertilizing.
Symbols in Nature: Seeds; pollination; tall trees; sun; stems; fire; mountains; daytime; male plants and animals.

The Archetype: Heroic
Characteristics: Facing difficulties; overcoming; healing.
Symbols in Nature: Healing plants and herbs; immature plants and animals; storms; annual plants; new growth; survival adaptation; struggling plant growth.

The Archetype: Adversary
Characteristics: Agent of change; unexpected; tearing down; obstacles.
Symbols in Nature: Stinging and thorny plants; storms; overgrown areas; swamps; natural disasters; erosion; struggling plant growth.

The Archetype: Death/Rebirth
Characteristics: Ending and beginnings; sacrifice; crises; new life.
Symbols in Nature: Marshlands; seasonal cycles; perennial plants; bogs; environmental changes; border areas; natural intersections.

The Archetype: Journey
Characteristics: Movement; development, aging.
Symbols in Nature: Pathways; hills and mountains; rivers and streams; deer trails; wind; growth; perennials.

I love the ‘Emperor in this card, especially his ‘ram’ horns. But I didn’t see anything written on these in your text and they are such a predominant feature of his. Not only do they stimulate him mentally, they also help him to defend himself. As well the spiraling effect of his horns could be a symbol of the imagination, of inspiration and great creativity. I’ve also read that these horns can sometimes be connected to lunar deities.

From the look of him, his eyesight sees far and are sharply focused. I’m sure all his senses well developed. He remains steadfast to his own choices even if it means he could be rejected from others. It’s as if he demands that we develop the courage to stand alone and abide by our own decisions and judgments. What we see gathered around him is his creation with the aid of the Empress and the High Priestess. Or perhaps this is a sacred site of great power for him. A place to reenergize and realign his connection to earth.

Carlos Castaneda said:
When a man decides to do something he must go all the way, but he must take responsibility for what he does. No matter what he does, he must know first why he is doing it, and then he must proceed with his actions without having doubts or remorse about them.....

I have no doubts or remorse. Everything I do is my decision and my responsibility. The simplest thing I do, to take you for a walk in the desert for instance, may very well mean my death. Death is stalking me. Therefore, I have no room for doubts or remorse. If I have to die as a result of taking you for a walk, then I must die.

You on the other hand, feel that you are immortal, and the decisions of an immortal man can be cancelled or regretted or doubted. In a world where death is the hunter, my friend, there is not time for regrets or doubts. There is only time for decisions.


The Emperor's horns

Hi C R,
Well this morning before I saw you posted, before I even got onto my email.
I was getting ready for my day and "Em pa re" popped into my head. And in my mind I thought about the quote in my book and the Egyptian meaning,
"in the house of Ra".I began to think about how Octavian was the first Roman Emperor changing his name to Emperor Augustus, and the custom of Egyptians to give the title "Em pa re and then the name of the person giving them the title..." to foreign dignitaries. So somewhere in the ethers where my guides reside your post already registered. One never knows why things pop into mind. Like a song you can't get out of your head...and the words end up having meaning.

Anyway thanks for posting again. Regarding the horns of the Emperor the Egyptian god Amen-Ra was a ram headed god I put those horns on my Emperor to signify Amen. His ram head corresponded well to my Aries Moon cycle and typified the power of the sun as the sun's energy wanes in the northern hemisphere it is clear how dependent nature is on sunlight. The timing felt right. When I am painting and working with symbolism I don't always think in words so the idea of recording or writing about what the horns mean seldom occurs to me. I have had to learn to write and explain verbally about my work. Most of the time I don't know why something is in an image until later I just know at the time of creation that it needs to be there.

I am thoroughly enjoying you posts.


The Emperor: Maat tarot

Title/Number: The Emperor/1


First Impression: This is not your typical emperor card. This shows a contemplative, yet protective emperor, who is earthy and wise without the typical arrogance you can sometimes see in this card. He is a part of nature, rather than trying to control it, and is very aware of his place within the world.

Description of the card: A horned man sits and is part of a large tree, similar to the world tree, within a large forest. There is a grape vine below, which is full of ripe, luscious grapes, waiting to be harvested. The tree is bare of leaves, but still has vitality. The sun gleams in white through the middle of the picture, but seems to be dusk on the right, and dawn on the left. The other trees of the forest melt into the background.

Masculine/Feminine/Neutral: definitely masculine

Colors: green, orange, brown, purple, and white

Senses: As you walk through the forest, you can feel the cool dampness of the air, the richness of the soil against your feet. You can smell the leaves and the clean forest air, the scent of autumn. The forest is quiet, the birds have left in preparation for the upcoming winter. There is a light cool breeze, blowing against your face. You can taste the richness of the earth, and forest. The grapes are sweet, juicy, ready for harvest. The leaves are at the end of their color change, waiting to fall to the earth. It is like the forest has been perpetually fixed in the period of full ripeness of autumn, right before the decay begins. You can smell/taste/feel the ripeness, but with an underlying feel that there is no more to go, the next step starts the decline.

Symbols: horned man, grapes on the vine, world tree, forest, sunlight at both dawn and dusk, changing leaves

Story (intuitive): The Emperor sits, quietly watching the grapes, contemplating their growth with the knowledge of the upcoming harvest, and winter. He knows that death comes soon to the forest, but in that death- rebirth. He worries about the health of nature, and his urge is to protect the balance and ensure that the wildness remains in balance with the overgrowth of civilization. He knows that harvest is near, but is worried that too much will be taken, and not enough returned to the earth. He will remain until death, protecting the land- for that is who he is and what he does, the protector of earth, defender of the downtrodden, enforcer of balance.

Astrologic: The full moon cycle of Aries. This is the first lunar cycle after the autumn equinox with the planetary ruler of venus. The harvest moon.

Element: Fire, but also earth

Keywords: Mortality, harvest, horned god

Possible meanings: a powerful person who is aware of their own mortality and takes up every opportunity. A protector. Living with a "now or never" ideal.

Quote: "I am"


While I look at the Emperor, I realized I can spot his horns and head pretty clearly. I see those part. The rest seems camouflaged as he was trying to play hide and seek. It is as he seems to say that I have to be on the look out for him.