The Emperor - Tarot of Sacred Realms
At this stage, I can say that the Emperor represents a framework and rules. A framework in the sense of a certain set of rules that force The Fool to give up certain things that so far he considered his own, in order to create a condition that will enable higher influences to create and develop his real self. The Fool so far conducted himself in a disorderly fashion, without any order to guide him. One might say that he was led by the circumstances that carried him, having his life ruled by chance.
As Michel de Montaigne wrote:
“We do not go, we are driven; like things that float, now leisurely, then with violence, according to the gentleness or rapidity of the current.”
Now, upon meeting with The Emperor, he must follow Emperor’s rules. If The Fool wants to keep moving forward, he must begin conducting himself differently and give up many whims that he loves so dearly, which at this point can only hinder him.
There is a song that says, “Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die.” So is The Fool, who wants to keep moving forward, but in his view, giving up those whims is death. For him those whims, which include his principles, loves, hatreds, habits, lies, identities and more, constitute his ego, and by giving up all of those, he gives up himself for something foreign and external.
In reality, The Fool does not know himself at all. Everything he imagines himself to be is merely an imagination and self-deception, disguises which he gathered on the way and dressed himself up with. In other words, The Fool developed a sort of imaginary picture of himself, and with it The Fool defines himself. That same imaginary picture contains lies about who I am, what I like, what I abhor, what are my opinions, what are my principles, how should I act and how others should act towards me.
The Emperor demands another thing from The Fool: he must set himself a goal related to his advance and development and act only following the rules of his new purpose; namely, he has to act in such a way that all of his actions will advance him towards his goal. When The Fool sets himself a goal, he creates for himself a new framework of rules. As long as he does not stray from his goal, the new framework of rules will apply to him. Those would be different rules from the rules that apply in day-to-day life which The Fool has grown completely accustomed to. As long as the goal serves the advancement and the development, the new rules will cause friction and suffering. The Fool’s initial reaction and passion will be to try and get rid of that friction; in other words, to deviate from his goal. In order to remain in line with the goal The Fool must invest energy and effort, and he must overcome the suffering and the friction. The goal is chosen after self-observation and understanding of The Fool’s functions.
The Emperor may also symbolize The Fool’s first encounter with a group or a school, that is, a framework in which people like him receive guidance and help. After The Fool attempts to overcome the beast (“The Strength” card) to reach the state of the Empress and realizes that he fails, again and again, he reaches the conclusion that he cannot advance on his own and that he must seek help. This idea was explained earlier by the prison parable.