2020 is the year of the Emperor. This is so because the Emperor is card Four in the Major Arcana, and the numerals of 2020 add up to four.
At the end of December and beginning of January, tarotists were speculating how the energy of the Emperor might be expressed over the next twelve months. Now, as we begin month eight of the oddest year of our lives, we might all have some new insights into the Emperor.
The Emperor is a card that often receives more negative press than I feel it should. 2020 is not going to help its reputation, I’m afraid.
It seems that many tarotists limit their understanding of the Emperor to power-hungry male authority. They see the Emperor as an overlord, a stern father, or a negative expression of the patriarchy. Certainly, these energies can be aspects of the Emperor. Yet, I believe there is so much more to be found in card Four.
What are positive aspects of the Emperor? I think the spiritual lesson of the Emperor is about responsibility. The Emperor is a community leader. He might be a politician, with the power to declare war. Yet, he might also be a loving father, or a caring community steward.
The number four generally speaks of stability. In the Emperor’s stability there could be rigidity, but there could also be dependability and loyalty.
How does the energy of the Emperor show up in the year 2020? Certainly, in the United States, we are preparing for an election which will determine who our leaders will be. Worldwide, during the pandemic, we have looked to our leaders for answers, and often have felt that our leaders weren’t doing enough, or weren’t doing the right things.
The death of George Floyd put the ongoing questions of how policing should be done in the front of everyone’s mind. Everything from the concept of centuries of systemic racism to the concept of police reformation can be seen in the Emperor.
The Emperor asks who will govern us, and in what way.
The Emperor is uncomfortable with moving away from the status quo, whether in an effort to stop the spread of a virus, or in an effort to change unjust societal norms.
As we look at the events that have unfolded over the past eight months, we can see the Emperor present in all of them.
As we move forward, we can learn from the Emperor as well. We can hold ourselves accountable for our behaviors. We can keep our word. We can nurture our communities. We can govern our own affairs with responsibility to ourselves, and to our families and our communities.