The Making of a Mistress 4. The Emperor

Card number 4 of The Major Arcana is the Emperor. The archetypal father energy of the deck, who educates The Fool in the ways of structure and societal rules. He offers wisdom, advice and protection. Those of you who have read my writing a while know that my father was mortally absent. After his passing there was no protection, no wisdom, no advice after – not in the loving way a father imparts. Mother had her own wisdom of course, from which I gleaned much. But it was not wisdom, but intuition that she most taught me. In the manner that a meteorological clock has intuition of an incoming storm, so too did I gain that intuition of a change in her often capricious mood.

School had its own version of moral terrorism, life another. Instead of turning to these systems, I learnt most from books. Living vicariously through the tales of mythic heroines and villains, or postulated theories of mystics and philosophers on the nature of reality. Reality couldn’t really be this depressing, this unfair – I’d venture as a child – and so there must be more to it. A hidden world somewhere, parallel to this perhaps. I took only what I needed from these stories and left the rest. Leaving also room for my rote memorization of academic requirements, school prayers and dacorum, so as to blend, but never truly belong. To be in the world – but not of it – as they say.

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