A Feminist Tarot: The Emperor

Clearly, if the Empress is renamed and removed from her traditional spot, she then gets to step into her rightful place in the deck.  No real Empress would spend her time running around pregnant tending fields of grain.  She would be ruling over her empire.

As history has proven time and time again, women are just as capable as men of maintaining order, instituting structure, and advancing civilization.  What most often stands in the way is not some natural deficiency of skill or ability but resistance driven by sexist beliefs in the nature of a woman’s fitness to lead.  So there is literally no good reason not to depict the authoritative, controlling, aggressive Emperor as female.

It is very important to note, though, that this also means not altering the archetype of the Emperor to soften it once the depiction is female.  We should not pretend that an Empress should or would be any less aggressive, despotic, tyrannical, or warlike.  The interpretation of the card should not lose its potential negative aspects.  We cannot open the full range of aspirational possibilities to women while maintaining fantasies of inherent female goodness.

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