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Tarot Reflections

January 2006

A Spiritual Journey with Tarot: The Emperor
Gary Meister, CTM

Gary Meister has been studying Tarot from several different viewpoints for the past 25 years. Certified for over 20 years, Gary is a member of the ATA and a Certified Tarot Master (CTM) recognized by The Tarot Certification Board of America. Gary also holds a Certificate of Outstanding Achievement in the "Intuitive Tarot" course from

Visit Gary's website at


Tarot is an excellent tool for meditation to enhance spiritual growth. With Tarot, in our readings we each have subtly different meanings for the different cards, meanings which work well for ourselves better than anyone else’s. Spiritual Tarot works the same way. We each have our own path and we each see subtly different things in the Major Arcana cards to help us along that path.

With this series I’m sharing my journey, in hopes that it might help to shine a little light on yours.

The Emperor sits on his gray stone throne in an outdoor setting. The throne is decorated with rams’ heads. He appears to be sitting on a cliff. Behind him are golden mountains against an orange sky. Far below is a river (the stream of consciousness). He wears a golden crown ornamented with red and green jewels. A red cloak partially covers his iron armor. In his right hand he holds a golden scepter, topped with the sign of Venus and, in his left, he holds a golden globe. He is a stately figure and appears to be in total control.

The Emperor symbolizes the self-conscious mind and, therefore, “reason”, for that’s what self-consciousness does. That being said, I have in each of these articles to date, spoken of our “oneness” with the Universal Mind, the Deity. I’ve spoken about it as an established fact which, to me, it is, but I’ve not qualified it in any way. this seems to be a good time to give my “reasoning” for these statements.

Every religion in the world has its creation story. The Bible begins with the words, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Certainly there must have been a beginning at some point in time. Before this beginning there was nothing - except the God-Force, the Universal Mind. That had to have been the case, since something never comes out of nothing. So, since there was nothing but God Himself at this point, the only available material with which to build this universe was the material which was Himself, God-stuff. God must have taken thought-energy and converted it into matter-energy. So, everything in the universe, including you and I, was built not only by God but of God. Therefore, the God-Self must be at our center and, even though we feel like we are separate entities, at some level, we must be a part of the creation. And, at the God-level, we are co-creators of our world. It stands to “reason.”

As The Empress represents creative imagination, the Emperor reminds us that, without reason, the imagination tends to run wild, influenced by our fleeting emotions, feelings and thoughts. If we are to use the imagination to create all the good things in our life, we must reason out exactly what it is that we want and, even more importantly, what we don't want. Once we are clear on our desires, our wants and needs, we need to focus our imagination strongly upon these things. If we start to become aware that we are using our imagination to bring about the things we don’t want - if we start to worry - we must immediately erase those thoughts and imaginings and replace them with images of the things we want to see in our lives. And, reason is the key, here. Watch what we think, reason it out, and use our creative imagination positively. The key is this: We can’t help creating our reality; it happens automatically. We create whatever gets the most of our attention. It only stands to reason that we should control where our attention and imagination goes.

When I meditate upon the Emperor, I use it to remind myself that, in order to use my imagination to create positive things in my life, I must control my imagination and use my reasoning abilities to consciously decide what I will bring about in my life. This is an important spiritual lesson for me to learn.

That’s what the Emperor means to me.


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