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What does the Emperor card mean?

March 2, 2015

Emperor -- Tarot of the MastersThe Emperor:
“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” — Seneca

This quote can work as a pithy meaning for the Hierophant as well as for the Emperor. It all depends on how you look at it.  Is it really about religion itself? Or is it about how religion is (ab)used in (and by) cultures? Or is it both?

Also, this quote may sound like a cynical assessment of religion, but my interpretation of it is that it’s an assessment of how it is often used by our culture and our leaders (which is a big part of why I associated it with the Emperor instead of the Hierophant).  We put all sorts of extraneous edicts and proscriptions into religion in order to control people instead of seeing religion as a way to follow a more simply spiritual path.

For a religious view that runs counter to what Seneca is talking about, consider this quote from the 14th Dalai Lama: “My religion is kindness.”

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