In our previous article, we discussed the powerful feminine figures that so strongly influence our lives from beginning to end. Today we will discuss the manly ones that influence our pathways.
V – The Emperor
If the Empress is the archetype of the “mother figure”, then The Emperor is the counterpart representing the “father figure.” This figure of ultimate power wears a red robe that signifies unbridled energy to perform his tasks and/or reach his ends, indicating that his decisive power is flowing permanently, wherever he might be. His bushy white beard signifies that he has acquired critical wisdom over the years. In his right hand he is holding an ankh—the hieroglyphic symbol that represented Life in Ancient Egypt—and in his left hand he is holding the globus—together with the cross, it has been part of the Christian symbol of authority since the Middle ages. The mountain range in the background gives an idea of a “rock-solid” determination that will not be indented by other people’s opinions and feelings about his decisions; however, the little stream at the bottom indicates that a softer approach might work.
Note – This bronze statue dubbed as the Genio Romano di Ponte Pu from the First Century B.C,. depicts a pater familias. Source: Luis García, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
The pater familias was the head of a traditional household in Roman times. The Latin term “familia” derived from the famuli, which identified the group of slaves owned by the nobles and that toiled in their estates. In Ancient Rome, the family was considered an economic and a judicial unit, where the oldest male in the house had the ultimate say in all matters, big and small, that concerned their members. The term Patria Potestas implies that the head of the Roman family had legal and civil power over the other members of the households, the servants, the slaves, and certain clients of his enterprises. He had the responsibility of providing for shelter, food, and other amenities for all those under his aegis; if he forfeited his responsibilities, he could face the courts that had the effective power to take them away from him. It was a paternalistic conception of the basic societal unit that survived that Empire.
Upright Emperor – This scene represents the bonding with the Divine Masculine and encourages us to take charge of our situations and controversies in a firm way. You are encouraged to act decisively so you can bring stability and order to the family, labor, and institutional affairs. At the personal level, it might indicate that you have to control and channel your best impulses to make a relationship work.
Reverse Emperor – This scene implies that there is an extremely strong obstacle for the attainment of your personal or societal objectives. In a couple relationship, it might mean that your insensitivity to your partner’s feeling and desires is husting it. It is already time to sit down with your partner to discuss together certain issues. In a labor, business, or professional settings, it might mean that there are paternalistic figures—your boss, your colleagues, or superiors—that are sabotaging your career. You must seize the opportunity to face this obstacle instead of trying to dodge it. In an authoritarian realm, this random inversion could be interpreted as a “call to arms” for professionally and emotionally frustrated women to rebel against their yoke from the reactionary patriarchal institutions.
VI – The Hierophant
This card, the counterpart of the feminine High Priestess, represents a distinguished Man of Wisdom, not necessarily of religious origin, that is calmly siting between two pillars in a sacred temple, wearing a three colors-robe—alluding to the Holy Trinity—and sporting a three-tiered crown—representing the Conscious, Sub-Conscious and Super-Conscious minds. Foremost of all, he is a teacher, a mentor. In his left hand he is holding the papal ferula—in this case the rod is surmounted by a triple sceptre—and with his right hand he is pointing two fingers upwards to the Heavens and two downward to Earth. Right in front of him, two disciples kneel down to receive the wisdom of the two keys: The Conscious and the Unconscious minds.
In 1990, Sigmund Freud published what might have been the most overlooked and yet the most significant book of his prolific writing career: Die Traumdeutung (the Interpretation of Dreams) Freud revised the book at least eight times and in its third edition added a section about the symbolism of dreams, based on the pioneering work of Wilhelm Stekel, an Austrian physician and psychologist who had a special gift for spotting “repressed material” in his patients’ clinical descriptions. They both founded the first psycho-analytic society but had an unfortunate falling-out in 1912.
Note – The above picture shows Sigmund Freud (the first seated person on the left side of the picture) with other psychoanalysts in 1922. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Freud_and_other_psychoanalysts_1922.jpg
The Psychoanalytic School claimed that what we consider as “our mind” is just the tip of the iceberg of our mental structure: The Conscious Mind. On the other hand, our Unconscious Mind is filled with desires, expectations and fears that are often too traumatic and must be kept repressed. The only way for us to safely explore the depths of our Unconscious is to engage in dreaming, which has special parameters. Freud believed that every dream has a manifest content (what we actually remember when we wake up) and a latent content that must be camouflaged for safety reasons. He considered dreaming as a fulfillment of repressed wishes, which relieved our deep psychological tensions by finding a socially acceptable escape valve for them. In fact Freud was a vivid dreamer and he took frequent naps.
Upright Hierophant – This card represents the traditional teachings, religious or not, that must guide our communal lives. We must follow the advice of our mentors in order to develop our greatest potential in harmony with other people. Based on our education, the priest/mentor prods us to innovate in our lives with courage.
Reverse Hierophant – This scene might represent a subversion of everything that we had previously considered as “right” or “proper” in our lives, prodding us to rebel against the traditional norms and institutions that have shaped our intellects so far. It might encourage you to be more original and try other methods, opinions, feelings. However, if you find yourself in dire straits, this card might mean that you are paying a “high price” from reneging from your faith or acquired wisdom; you should go back to “your origins” and try to find practical solutions to your present problems in that most basic yet always nurturing medium.
Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.
What do you think? Please tell us.
Don’t leave me alone.