A Personal Journey Through the Tarot: Emperor and the Fours


Human systems thrive when order is applied to chaos. To create order we need boundaries and rules, an understanding of why they apply, the discipline to abide by them, and mercy when they are crossed. These are the qualities of the Emperor and the attributes explored in the fours. 

The Four of Wands talks about the rules using the marriage contract as its example. These rules of engagement spell out not only how a couple will work together but also what the offences are that breach the contract. Rules of engagement like this can be applied to any sort of endeavour and help the parties understand what is expected of them before they agree to participate. 

The Four of Cups is the understanding required to live within the rules we set. If rules are fair they allow for times of expression as well as times of reflection, times of working and times of rest, times of diligence and times of relaxation. Creativity is needed in a thriving system, rest between activity is what feeds creativity.

The Four of Pentacles is the discipline required to give the system a strong foundation. Often this card is associated with being a miser but It reads better as prudence. Creating a strong foundation of financial discipline leads to tremendous potential later in life. Squandering resources leads to famine and lack. In times of bounty it is wise to prepare for times of hardship. 

The Four of Swords is the Mercy. Not all rules work for everyone. Those who fall between the cracks and experience deep suffering need to be cared for. Allowing space and support for those in crisis is part of the equation. Then the entire system can thrive.  

Today I contemplate the Emperor and the fours. It is easier for people to thrive when they have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. When a firm hand of discipline is tempered with mercy and understanding loyalty arises. Then everyone working together can find enjoyment in the process. 

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