2020 is the year of The Emperor; the year of seeking security, stability, and strategy. I say this because numerologically, 2020 is the Number 4.
The Emperor is problematic for many tarot readers. To many the archetype seems harsh, distant, and cold, in today's vernacular, emotionally unavailable. Indeed, in many decks this is how The Emperor is illustrated. But that really is just one side to the complex meaning and symbology of this card. The Emperor also represents thoughtful foresight, skillful decision-making, strategic planning, and laying the groundwork before going forward with the execution of a plan.
The Emperor is the Yang to the Yin represented by The Empress, and striking a balance between the two parts is essential to create a whole picture. The Emperor's considered study before acting creates a more orderly transition and one that puts us more in command of our lives.
The Emperor is associated astrologically with Aries so the card embodies the fiery Aries energy and desire to control any given situation, while numerologically it represents the more measured energy of the 4, which moves us toward a more grounded, solid approach. Thought before Action, but definitely action. When you think of the Number 4, I find it helpful to visualize objects with four sides, four feet or hooves, or four legs, e.g., a shelter with four walls, a box, an animal such as the Ram, or a table. These things have stability, they don't teeter or collapse, they offer safety and safekeeping.
In the Minor Arcana each of the 4s represents, in a way that's consistent with the corresponding suit, a sense of security. The Four of Pentacles -- holding onto what you have. Sure, the card has a Shadow side to it (don't we all?), which is being stingy or miserly and all the negative karma connected to that, but the Four of Pentacles can also be a necessary message to watch our budgets and wait to shop another day. Seen within the entirety of the deck, maybe if we heed this warning we can avoid some of the pitfalls dramatically illustrated in the Five of Pentacles. The Four of Swords is about taking a much needed rest. Yes, you have one sword near you at the ready, but you are taking a break and processing the pain and lessons the Three of Swords offered you before heading out into the fray shown in the Five of Swords. The Four of Wands captures that moment before "the arrival," either before a celebration or before joining into a community of people. Although it sizzles with anticipation, the Four of Wands is all about preparation. The Four of Cups can be read as that moment in time we need to hit the pause button on the external world. We need to sit under a tree, reminiscent of Buddha under the Bodhi tree, shut out the world, and shut off our emotions. Then we will be ready to move on. 2020 is the year to connect with this energy.
The Emperor may not be as fun as The Star or The Sun, but this marker on The Fool's journey is there for a reason. The Emperor is essential to carve cities out of mountains, to construct aqueducts and bridges, and to make sure the trains run and run on time. All of us, at different points in our lives, need to tap into The Emperor to get it done! Even if you're not a Roman emperor or a civil engineer, you still can tap into The Emperor in your daily life.
Use The Emperor's energy to remind you to pay your bills on time, leave earlier for work to avoid bad traffic, check your 401(k), organize your finances, maybe decide it's time to look for a new job or ask for a raise or promotion. Perhaps it's time to stand up for yourself, set boundaries, or start saying "no" to doing things you don't want to do.
Use The Emperor to set goals for yourself that will bring you security and stability. It's 2020 -- the energy is there -- be The Emperor and use the energy wisely!