Carrying on with my exploration of astrology’s role in the Druidcraft, today I’m going to look at the Major Arcana. The card mostly commonly associated with Aries is The Emperor – in the Druidcraft, The Lord.
In the image, he sits in the ‘traditional’ pose, with one leg crossed over the other thigh, forming the number ‘4’. Four is associated with stability – think of a square: four-sided, solid, stable. It’s hard to rock this. And The Emperor too is linked to this idea of a solid stability, if you think of it in terms of ambition and authority. The Emperor’s crown is often depicted as being gold, representing worldly authority, but in this image he wears a bronze helmet and the antlers of a stag. Now, in Druidry the stag is associated with the direction south, summer - and the element of Fire. He wears a red cloak – the colour of Mars, the ruler of Aries – representing power, as well as drive and determination. All good leadership qualities.
His ‘throne’ is decorated with ram’s heads – the symbol of creativity and wisdom (from ancient mythology). Unlike other depictions of the Emperor (e.g. Thoth) I can’t see an image of the lamb, representing the other side of Aries (the balance of the equinox), the symbol for compassion and understanding the need for sacrifice for the greater good – but I see he’s wearing sandals and that he sits on an animal skin, not on the bare stone, both of which could symbolize a ‘line’ between him as a leader and the people that he leads. Good leaders would have those qualities – or so we’d like to think.
Eagles often appear in the Emperor card and, sure enough, we see an eagle flying in the background of The Lord. Eagles are known for their keen eyesight, as well as being able to fly higher than other birds – here they represent ‘spirit’ within the material world. So we could be looking at a change of career, perhaps, or deciding to buy property... something practical that requires taking control in a disciplined and directed way to further our goals or ambitions, and move them from dream-state to reality.
Some versions of The Emperor depict a dry, barren landscape. It’s not clear where The Lord’s throne sits, other than on a rocky outcrop. Could this represent a warning about what could happen if we allow only authority and discipline to rule our world? Such over-rule could leave us with a barren, rocky, overly-structured world – one in which nothing moves. Instead, we stagnate, and could potentially come to fear change – anything that threatens the status quo. The power of the mind and the social world, represented by this card, is balanced by The Lady (a.k.a The Empress) – but more of that when we reach Taurus!
Druidcraft Tarot created by Philip Carr-Gomm and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections