Last night in Class 3 of the Tarot Toolkit course, we discussed the first 15 Majors in detail. One of the homework exercises is to select any two of those cards at random, set them up side by side, and imagine a meeting of the two archetypes represented in them. What would these figures think of each other, and how would they get along? What are their similarities versus differences? Which one do we like better, and why?
I came up with The High Priestess (II) and The Emperor (IV). If I had to reduce them to sound-bites, I’d sum up The High Priestess as the cosmic Librarian, who has access to all the knowledge and wisdom of the Universe…and The Emperor is the cosmic Ruler, who imposes authority and law in order to establish and maintain an Empire.
They’re similar in that each is an embodiment of expertise — they’re unparalleled masters in their respective spheres. On the whole, though, these are two very different characters. She’s very Yin, reflective, self-possessed, inwardly-directed…while he’s extremely Yang, active, externally-oriented. If you want to interact with The High Priestess, you need to go to her Library and make your humble overtures to her there. Meanwhile, no need to seek out The Emperor: if you’re anywhere in the Empire, then he or some agent of his influence will surely find you, and make his will known!
In many ways, though, these two complement each other. She benefits from the safety and stability he can surround her with, while he’ll gain immeasurably if he can harness her knowledge and wisdom.
For my part, I’d rather hang out with The High Priestess, poring over dusty old tomes and grimoires, than rush about the Emperor’s castle, putting his plans into action. I love learning and gaining wisdom, and I’m less interested in being bossed around, or in being a part of telling other people what to do.