The year of the Emperor, falling off his throne

The year of the Emperor, falling off his throne March 18, 2020
Mail Art Tarot, 1998, compiled bu K. Frank Jensen (Photo: Camelia Elias)

What would you say if I said, ‘this is the year of the Emperor, falling off his throne?’ Would that be appropriate? No, it wouldn’t. You’d think that I make a grim prediction in these grim times, talking nonsense.

Indeed, if I said that, I’d be talking nonsense. First of all, I’ve no idea what this year means symbolically, and this second of all, predicting a downfall in times of downfalls would be inappropriate, even when predicting would be ‘business as usual’ for me.

As a card reader or enthusiast, I’m sure you heard it already. The general public idea is that 2020 is the year of the Emperor. I’m more like, really? Why? Because 2+2 is 4? How about the year of 2 High Priestesses? Hmm, yeah, I see what they mean. The idea of 2 women in charge, reading or keeping books, doesn’t sound nearly as convincing as ‘man in power’. The idea of the Fool running the show by excusing himself all the time, doesn’t sound too good either – by the same nonsense token, 2020 may as well be about 22, the number the Fool carries when in a game of cards. It gets even worse: what if this year is the year of 2 Judgments, 20 20?

Jean Noblet Marseille Tarot, as reconstructed by Jean-Claude Flornoy (Photo: Camelia Elias)

Here’s what I’ve observed this week. I’ve been getting at least three phone calls per day to my Aradia Academy line, with people starting with this line: ‘We don’t live in normal times, here’s my new 12-step program on how to improve your business’. The implicit here is that since we’re all leaders, conducting ‘business as usual’ must be at the top of the agenda. And I have to hear about it. Three times too many.

Now, if I’d continue to listen to this kind of nonsense, I bet that in the course of the ‘compelling argument,’ I’d have to hear about how, even as a corpse, I can enter the garden of Eden, meaning, I can follow the path to ‘rich and famous’. Right, wealth before health. That makes a lot of sense.

It’s not only in grim times that I think of appropriate action. In fact, as I live off dispensing words of wisdom about appropriate action, I think of appropriateness all the time. But what I discover now, today, when I get nonsense calls to action, I learn about the inhumanity in our humanity. I learn about elastics, and about how easy it is even for the Emperor to lose it, to stretch it beyond control.

I’ve just finished my recent run of my Playing Cards Foundation Course. The course started with telling the students to stop listening to nonsense – as in every other course I teach. The course ended on the same note: Stop listening to nonsense. We don’t know what anything means. When we look at the cards, all we see is a snapshot of the picture we have in your heads that’s prompted by our question. Nothing exists outside of language. Even in our most noble approaches to going beyond language, such as we have in dance, trance, or in our attempts to speak the mystical language of divination, the language of the birds, the magic carpet that we ride on is woven by words: Without thinking, or saying, ‘ecstasy’, or ‘birds’, there’d be no magic ride.

We enchant ourselves through words all the time, not only in magic time, and because of it, we would be well served if we thought of just what enchantment is all about. ‘2020 is the year of the Emperor’ works as an enchantment until the possibility of leaders getting hanged or losing their heads is also an equally strong enchantment. I suppose some would argue that the opposite of the idea of self-empowerment and self-improvement is akin to black magic, when the illusion of control is busted, dissolved. Indeed. People can ride in chariots that are not ‘alchemical,’ ‘hermetic’, ‘mystery school’ programmed, ‘esoteric’, ‘dark’, ‘white’, or driven by pink unicorns.

In times of cholera, if you don’t know what the appropriate action is, ask your cards about it. Stop listening to nonsense. Go beyond language with the appropriate consciousness about what fear and desire are all about.

Stay safe, and sing a song of collective silence. We’re all corpses, trembling in our bid for life. But it’s exactly in this trembling that we find being here, living, worth the while, yet not as emperors, but rather, as naked creatures whose force is in humility and hazard.

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About Camelia Elias
Camelia Elias, PhD & Dr.Phil., is a former university professor. After 20 years in the academia, she left her career to pursue her interests in teaching and writing on the philosophy and practice of reading cards. She works with contemplative arts, oracular language, and martial arts cartomancy and Zen at her own school, Aradia Academy. You can read more about the author here.

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