The Journey of the Soul

Arcanum IIII
The Emperor

Jean Noblet
Paris c.1650

Jean Dodal
Lyon c. 1701

Nicolas Conver
Marseille c. 1760

The child has grown. Between the ages of eleven and fourteen, the youth must leave the world of women and enter into that of men. If he is of noble birth, he becomes a page. If not, he becomes an apprentice. The model in both cases is the father. So begins the arcanum of the Emperor.

Like the Empress, the Emperor bears a sceptre and carries a shield depicting an eagle. Both reign over society. But they do not hold the sceptre in the same hand : the Empress reigns with her left hand, in a gentle and subtle way, while the Emperor holds the sceptre in his right hand : he reigns in a visible, direct way, through force and authority.

Solar and strong like the oak, the Emperor is the ultimate masculine arcanum : he expresses physical force, the imposition of order, the straight path of power. Fire is his element. He models himself on princes and warriors. Warrior in the sacred sense, according to the chivalric ideal in which the strong protect the weak. He does not abuse his power, but rather wields it in the service of all.

The Emperor incarnates the forces which protect. The army, the police and the judicial system belong to this archetype. Within the traditional family, this is the role which falls to the father. Thus the youth receives from his father the instruction of the Emperor : he must grow strong, develop the body, become hardened through physical exercise. And in the inner sphere, his obligation is to protect, to put his force in the service of others.