The Emperor and the Cups
"And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt".
I do like to play with Tarot combination.
Very often one card has as much to say about the other card as it does of itself. It’s a fab way of learning about the energy and overall message from a card and how that message is enhanced by being in close proximity to a mate!
The Emperor and the suit of Cups.
For our recent Kitchen Table Workshops we have been working with a major Arcana in the morning and a family from the Court cards in the afternoon. The next upcoming meeting will be Emperor in the morning and suit of Cups in the afternoon.
It struck me that it was possibly a bit of a bonkers combo between the despotic and strategy keen Emperor and the nebulous, touchy feely passionate Cups, but is it?
Whilst the Emperor can be seen as a warrior and a total authoritarian he has the ability to pull together many different strata and realms of consciousness. He is analytical and desires stability and strength in all matters. His need to build platforms and foundations with this drive to synthesise all the different realms together means that he has made a rabbit warren of various laws and principles that support a wider view of the world.
However we don’t always see him as creative.
Yet if we pair him with his consort, the Empress, we can see that he plays a vital role in cosmological and mythological creativity. Emperor wants to understand in a critical and rational way any ideas or plans, he considers their weight and worth against his own values and personal dynamic with what he regards as a normal. In his enlightened capacity he understands ambition and desire but for him this has to be for the greater good of all, creative thinking must not, ostensibly be self-serving. On a deeper level his egotism as the ultimate patriarch insists that he be connected with all the required creativity for projects for self-discovery and empowerment, especially with one’s own skills, this is what he does best, he encourages us to own our stuff and work with it in a very real way.
Let's look at his darker aspect.
His darker aspect can create chaos and destruction perhaps where it is not necessary and his heavy-handed approach can turn people away from him. He can be too strident in enforcing laws and rules and make a hierarchy immoveable and dense. This is submission does not bode well for creative impulses or dreams. At worst he can have a sense of entitlement to leadership which is neither earned nor appreciated and shows little concern for others.
As the Grand Patron it is important that Emperor shows compassion and mercy over retribution and restriction.
When working with his energy we become focussed and disciplined, we apply structure to the intangible in order to give it credence and visibility. The amoebic like, nebulous sprawl of ideas become formulated and granulated, which at first seem as though they have become too rigid but in fact the structure has given the creative power the right conditions for manifestation and sustainability.
So, how does this sit with the suit of cups?
Water, Venus, desire, emotions, creative passion (shared with wands) speaks to us about love. It is the expansive kind of love that swirls like smoke attempting to touch everything in its path and beyond. It is the opening of the heart centre and the reality of compassion, ecstatic joy, a passion for life and the necessity of self-love. These, at first glance, do not make natural bedfellows with the Emperor yet it is from this primal space that we structure our thoughts towards becoming...that work of art becomes, the prose or essay becomes, creative thinking about one’s life becomes. All of this is guided by an inner voice that seeks to bring to the surface from the depths a very real and physical representation of what lies within.
The Kings are all aspects of the Emperor.
Their place is one of decision and firmness based on the greater good of all. They rejoice in our awakening and knit together the multiple paths and philosophies for further manifestation. Both the King and the Emperor facilitate a kind of transformation. We move from one state of being into another, an evolution occurs from which all roads lead out into the world.
The King of Cups is the archetype of Neptune.
He has the ability to raise a storm, create a sea fret and can shake foundations at their core yet he is the source of inspiration and creativity. The visionary, he has to work hard not to be disorientated by his experiences or so detached from reality that he loses sight of his vision. Sensitive and cultured he must not be overwhelmed by his ability to morph empathically into situations or people.
In this instance the Emperor is a brilliant ally.
His domain is to remain connected, as an observer, his purpose is to document the life and times he lives in. The Emperor can assist the struggling artist and thinker to be a reckonable force in their own generation. As an architect of the Universe, Emperor reminds us that we all mimic in various forms the creative forces at work in the cosmos. He demands that we pull out the tool box and make something that will speak of us long after we are gone.
Working with your Tarot cards, answer these questions:
How do I express my Emperor?
What works against that?
How does my King of Cups align with my Emperor?
What is the strong point of this union?
What is the weakest point?
What does my creativity want to say?
Does it need rules or plans ?