The Emperor

5: Hay forms Aries/Toleh

Keyword: Life
Formative Symbolism: Emperor as beginning/leader of Zodiac (Ram), vernal equinox, archetypal life: five.
The archetype of universal life. When it is conferred upon Dallet, it allows it to play the game of existence, in partnership with the intermittent life-death process.

[Tarot Index]

With the Emperor, we return to a non-planetary Hebrew letter, Hay, formative of Aries, and the representations in the classical trumps are again on track for their astrological correspondances.

Here, the symbolism of the ram denotes the beginning (leader/emperor) of the Zodiac, inaugerated by the formative Hay/Life in a process described by the equation Aries/Toleh: Tayt-Lammed-Hay, the beginning of a simple living cell, and the archetype of all beginnings. Literally: Cell-Motion-Alive.

The zodiac begins with 5 (why?) and continues in sequence for six signs of the zodiac, from Aries/Hay through to Virgo/Yod. It is important to understand the zodiac as a two-way flow (zodiac=way) of energy, developing in both evolutionary and involutionary directions. Each "aut" (sign) of the zodiac is an equation describing the structuration of inner and outer energy and their relationship. Aries is both a beginning and an end in the structuration of energy.

This is the first of twelve active environments structuring the impersonal energy of the planets. All of the first six zodiacal signs, the sequential Hebrew letters Hay though Yod, and the Tarot trumps that transparently represent them, are below the horizon. Energy must go through six stages before it even comes to exist, with Yod/10/Hermit/Virgo at the threshold of objective life: Lammed/30/Justice/Libra.

Energetic Structure of the Zodiac: First Six Autiot/Signs
5 6 7 8 9 10
Seed of Fertile Indeter- Unstructured Physical Temporal
Life Union mination Energy Structure Existence
The Subjective Structures of Existence

Elsewhere we have called this series the Rosetta stone of the Tarot because it most clearly establishes a correspondence of Tarot to astrological zodiacal signs, in sequence. The question of astrological signficance can be argued endlessly for any one Tarot, even the Lovers (Gemini), Strength (Leo), the Sun (Sun), Justice (Libra), Empress (Venus) and High Priestess (Moon) can be justified with other symbolic derivations.

In the case of the Tarot sequence Emperor through the Hermit, however, the cumulative evidence of a one-to-one correspondence of Tarot to zodiacal sign for this series of six is inescapable. Any Tarot (the Emperor, for instance) is not a larger symbol than the astrological sign or planet or element that it represents (Aries in this case). Each Tarot icon is at best a simple set of signifiers pointing to the semantic richness of the astrological system. Even without a basic knowledge of the formative language behind the astrological system, these six Tarot have half the zodiac written all over them.

The folly of switching the Emperor (Aries) with the Star (Aquarius), should be obvious.