The Artist's Concept
When I see the Emperor card it tells me about ideas reaching manifestation on the physical plane. Also - personal power, building and creating. A protective father figure; likewise the expression of the masculine creative force.
For years I used the Tarot of Marseilles as my primary deck. While the Major Arcana includes crude but expressive illustrations, the Minor Arcana contain only symmetrical patterns of the suit symbol similar to today's playing cards. For this reason the cards' meanings tend to be less defined and more open to interpretation than most modern decks.
When starting the design process for my cards I avoided consulting existing Tarot decks but instead studied the meanings in Jana Riley's Tarot Dictionary and Compendium in an attempt to create a unique and expressive design. Therefore, I have chosen not to use symbols from disciplines other than tarot but still use easily interpreted illustrations.
In most Tarot decks the Emperor is portrayed as an imposing stationary figure. I wish to present him with the more sparse elegance of oriental paintings. The Emperor is in a more natural setting than usually seen and his flowing robes denote movement and a lightness of being not often associated with this card. In his left hand he holds a cup, in his right he holds a green leafing staff, the phallus of creation. These items would indicate that he is used to accepting what life gives him and redirecting it to the manifestation of his own desires.
While he seems quite at ease in his natural kingdom, in the background one sees a walled castle and a watchtower suggesting that he is not without his enemies. It also indicates that he is ever vigilant and ready to defend those in his care.
Building one's dream. The creation and execution of personal power. The protective father figure. The determination to care for one's responsibilities.
I have always regarded the reversed meaning as emphasizing more concern for one's inner world than for the outer world. Perhaps the issues illustrated in the card in question are still on an unconscious level or are being dealt with internally, unsuspected and unseen by those around the subject of the reading.
The card was digitally produced using Jasc Paint Shop Pro 7 and Corel Painter Classic. The original started on workspace of 380 pixels wide by 605 pixels high then was resized to 220 by 350 and saved as a JPEG file.
Go back to the project index, read the traditional card meaning, or get a free tarot reading with this deck.