IV THE EMPEROR
The Emperor Gatorman, adorned with his crown of straw, sits on his log in the dark of the swamp. He is the oldest creature there that he has met, and has seen many battles, won through the toughness of his skin and the sharpness of his fangs. He rules the swamp as he always has, though he still feels slighted when Crawmaid refuses to give him the time of day. Upright, the Emperor represents structure and stability, the domination of mind over emotion to fulfill a goal. He is a leader, and as such, expects results. How those in power make you feel about yourself, and the work you do. Are you the one in control? Perhaps it is time to examine if your leadership is accomplishing your goals. Do you need to step up your organizational skills? Do you need to communicate more? Gatorman also sits with his back to the viewer, casting a reproachful glance over his shoulder. He feels he deserves praise for using his power for what he thinks is good. Such strength and fortitude can lead to a sense of entitlement. Crawmaid doesn’t owe Gatorman anything. This card encourages you to examine your relationship with toxic masculinity in your life. The emperor is the symbol of the patriarchy, and all the challenges that come with dismantling it. Does this card refer to someone in your life, or your own behaviors that you’ve been ignoring? It might be time to really ask yourself some difficult questions.
Reversed: Removed from his restraint and control, Gatorman can be abusive, his fangs turned on those he says he loves. In the reverse position, this card should prompt you to look at those people in power in your life, and whether those relationships are causing you harm. This can come from a parent or a partner, your boss, or the leader of your community group. If you feel helpless in a situation, now is the time to reach out for help. A tyrant cannot be overthrown by a single person. It is its own strength to come to that realization and do what you need to maintain autonomy and well-being for yourself.