Today I have been determined to move through my resistance to the Emperor, to interrogate that shudder which involuntarily arises whenever this card shows up.
The Emperor is the card of worldly achievement, structure and ambition. So why do I shudder when I see him? I shudder because I find it hard to move past my gut reaction of seeing him only as an oppressive tyrant. And it’s not just the oppressive societal structures that the Emperor embodies which scare me. Perhaps, even more so, it is how my own mind is prone to making punishing rules around ambitious goals for myself. These rules always end up being counter productive because they are divorced from the ways I need to nurture myself as a person and as a writer. But how could I use the Emperor’s energy to help me as a writer instead?
Let us take a step back to yesterday and remember The Empress. With her emphasis on bodily nurture and unconditional acceptance, she can be seen to embody writing practices such as Julia Cameron’s morning pages or Natalie Goldberg’s free writing practice. They are very good for freeing the writing hand and releasing inhibitions and blocks around simply getting words down on to the page. But I’ve been using the techniques for fifteen years and, beyond an almost obscene amount of handwritten journals, I’ve never got beyond producing a few poems published in literary magazines and a handful blogs which fizzle out after the initial energy has dissipated. Free writing has taught me nothing about genre and structure because that is not its purpose.
However, I am learning, through the process of writing a novel from a drafted outline, that the energy of The Emperor is using structure, discipline and foresight to work towards goals. Channeling The Emperor unleashes a willingness to work with structure to communicate the themes and the dreams that the free writing of The Empress reveals.
I am moving towards seeing the positive energy of The Emperor in his role as revealer of truth, through structure and order. But at the same time I hope I never fail to call out the petty tyrannies and rigid thinking that the Emperor patronsises when he forgets his place.He is the worldly messenger of the deeper wisdom of the flowing, embodied energy of the Empress.
We’ll have no rules for rules sake, thank you.
And I’ll no longer accept writing goals and ambitions that don’t support my life holistically.