A Modern View of The Emperor's New Clothes
As told through Third Eye Vision
Those of you who have been receiving my readings since the beginning may be surprised to see me using the traditional Rider Waite Tarot deck. It’s been a while and I rarely use it anymore for a number of reasons, but mainly because it portrays and represents a patriarchal view of societal structure that doesn’t resonate with me. I prefer using the more modern decks that better convey the newer, matriarchal and gentler energies emerging on the planet today.
My choice of deck is just the beginning of the interesting and unusual aspects of this reading. Give yourself a few extra minutes to read and absorb this one. It’s deep.
People frequently ask writers, “Where do you get your ideas?” As a former writing consultant and publisher, my response was: “Ideas are floating in the ether for the taking. You must connect with the right one for you.” Now, as an intuitive energy and Tarot reader, I would add, “Be mindful of the tiny, subtle clues that come your way, leading to the big Ah ha! or you may walk right past your greatest insight and opportunity.”
I have learned that this idea stuff simply comes to me, usually at unexpected times or in unusual ways. When it does, it drops down in an indisputable manner, like it’s always been there. Perhaps it’s more a connection to what was always there but was undetectable until the right circumstances brought it to light. Hence, the Ah ha! feeling that a lightbulb has suddenly been illluminated and now you can see what you’ve been tripping over in the dark.
Lately I’ve felt prompted to use The Emperor’s New Clothes fable in a post, but nothing specific flowed. That’s part of my process. It’s annoyingly slow, yet perfect, of course, since one of the reasons of this incarnation on Earth for me is to learn patience, but that’s not the point here. It’s not uncommon for me to get glimpses of ideas to write about. It’s always a bit of an interesting journey to observe if it’s going to lie in wait, emerge half-baked, or flow out faster than I can type or write.
This one took a bit of time, but not much. It’s been brewing, bubbling, offering different versions of what it could possibly become. I’ve gone down false paths with initial promptings enough times to have learned to be patient for the right one to pop.
How do I know when it’s right? The writing flows without struggle.
THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES
It’s likely that you remember this fairy tale from Hans Christian Andersen, but perhaps not the specific details…or the punch of the ending, particularly at this current time. I recalled the general gist of the story, but re-read the tale to make sure what I interpreted from the reading and association between the cards and the story was viable. Quite honestly, I remembered it all except the significance of last paragraph of the story, which in my opinion is the reason for this insight and reason for the idea coming to me when it did.
[Note: In this summary, I sometimes use the word king instead of emperor, mostly to avoid repetition. However, for a modern version, you could also substitute president, former president, or any noun associated with a person in authority.]
To recap the story briefly, a vain emperor was far more interested in his wardrobe than his empire, people, or the truth of what was happening around him. He spent all his time with his clothes, changing his garb every hour. One day, two scammers came to town and said they were the weavers of the most exotic, magical fabric that could be made with a loom. Their cloth was so special, they claimed, that only those who had wisdom and were fit for their positions were able to see it. The king bought the story and placed an order for the two to create a new set of clothes for him. And because the king placed credence in their story, everyone else in the kingdom did as well.
The scammer “tailors” claimed they needed the finest silken thread and gold to craft their creations. The payment was made and the thieves pocketed the items while pretending to weave the fabric and tailor the clothes. After more payments were demanded and paid, the emperor sent his wisest advisor to check on the men’s progress. Surely the cleverest of all his inner circle would be able to see the fabric and report back.
The wise advisor saw nothing, of course, when the two fakes held up their imaginary work, but was fearful of losing his position if he reported that he didn’t see anything. So he exclaimed approval to the men and assured the king that the garments were the finest, most beautiful ever created.
Even more payments were demanded and the king sent more advisors to witness and report back. Each time, the official was fearful of not being fit for his position and pretended to see something that didn’t exist and reported back on its beauty to the king.
Finally the emperor could wait no longer and demanded a fitting, to be followed by a grand procession throughout the land so that all the people could see the beautiful garb of their leader.
The king and his wardrobe keepers pretended to see something, exclaimed how the beauty was fit only for royalty, and began the procession through the land. The townspeople lined up for a view of the clothing and began to exclaim its beauty.
Until one young child called out, “But the Emperor is not wearing anything at all!” A silence followed by a great stir swept through the crowd as the townspeople began to titter and whisper to each other that there were no clothes on their monarch.
The Emperor heard the people but was too embarrassed to admit his error and continued to parade as if he were adorned with fine garments. His wardrobe keepers and entire court followed suit rather than risk the wrath of the symbol of authority and power in the land. [End of tale]
Interesting to note, my research into the fable reveals that this version of the tale by Hans Christian Andersen was a retelling of an earlier Spanish version translated into German, which ends with the townspeople pretending to see the clothing and following the Emperor’s lead. Andersen added the child revealing the truth but the Emperor and his court ignoring it, preferring to keep the veneer of authority and power despite what was (or wasn’t) in plain view.
THE STORY AND THE READING
So what was my muse trying to tell me? Normally, the spread guides my interpretation. In this case, the story guided the spread.
Here’s what happened: Once I got a lead on why the fairy tale was showing up to become the subject of a blog post, I began to think of what image I could use to illustrate the copy. I did a mental review of Joe’s images (and there are thousands) but nothing sprang to mind. Then I had a breakthrough moment: I could use the Emperor card from the Rider Waite deck! (Now you know how that came about.)
This is where it starts to get more interesting. As mentioned earlier, I hadn’t used this deck in quite some time. I did remember placing it in a velvet pouch and storing it in a bookcase behind the books I used when learning the art of card reading. I didn’t intend to pull a spread. I only wanted to find the Emperor card and style a photo for use with this post.
Yet when I removed the deck from the pouch and turned over the top card to find the one I was searching for, IV The Emperor appeared. Knowing this was not a random occurrence, I turned the next two cards as I would have had I shuffled and made inquiry for a reading. The next two were the Major Arcana cards you see in the photo: 0 The Fool and XVIII The Moon.
I was sitting on the floor in front of the bookcase and spread the cards before me. In the same way my ideas drop in, the awareness that I was meant to find these cards, in this order, as a spread to accompany what I was writing was clear to me without question. (That these cards had been in a pouch in this order and waiting to be discovered is very similar to how ideas are ordered, unknown and unseen, in the ether until the right connection and timing is reached.)
Let’s begin decoding the message by reviewing the traditional meanings ascribed to these cards:
IV The Emperor. A symbol of masculine energy (not be confused with gender) and authority. Represents being the ruler and in charge, taking responsibility for others and oneself. Can mean inheritance through ancestry.
0 The Fool. Sometimes this card is also referred to as XXII, so it bears the association of being the first and last card in the Major Arcana. It can indicate the beginning or the end and thus may represent naivety or fufillment.
XVIII The Moon. In this Tarot deck, The Moon represents collective subconcious, hidden impulses, and deep-seated instincts. It encourages experiencing empathy with all creatures, feeling at home in all places, and taking on a wider identity.
Had I read this spread in the era of the deck’s origin, over a century ago, my interpretation would likely be very different. Understanding that cards reflect the energy of the times as well as the symbols presented in the artwork, the appearance and order of this reading is highly significant.
The Rider Waite Tarot orginated in an era at the height of the patriarchal paradigm. The very fact that the deck bears the name of its male author and publisher but not the name of the female artist and author’s collaborator, Pamela Coleman Smith, evidences the nature of deck’s masculine structure.
So I must bow to My Muse for arranging the message for current times using the language and imagery of the past (the fable and the cards) to describe the introduction and predominance of the new energy paradigm.
Here’s how I see it:
The Emperor card in this spread is the symbol of past energy, which is also represented by the vain, foolish Emperor in the fairy tale.
The Fool card represents both the end and the beginning. In this spread, appearing in the center symbolizes the present. It indicates that now is the time to dispense with the foolish and self-sustaining rule of the Emperor (Empire) as the reigning external model and instead be open to new beginnings that serve highest good of all. The new energy is the unbiased naivity and honesty of the child who called out the Truth: “The Emperor is not wearing anything at all.” Indeed.
The Moon, or La Luna, represents Feminine energy. In the future position within the spread, this indicates where we’re headed. Both the earth and human body are mostly water, and the moon governs the cycles of both as well as the other creatures on this planet. That everything is subject to the power of the feminine moon and that her rule favors no one above another is indication of what will be.
I find it both ironic and magical (mystical, if you lean in that direction) that My Muse chose the very cards representing the old energy of those times in foretelling the demise of that very structure.
I also feel empowered to take the liberty to suggest another iteration to the ending of the fairy tale. In my version, the people realize that the Emperor and court will never own up to the errors of their ways and so the people abandon their allegiance to a system that doesn’t serve them. They leave their positions on the sidelines and gather together to create a new order supporting the highest good of all.
In a three-card spread, the third card represents future possibilities. The emergence or timing of what the card projects is dependent on the actions taken in the present. Standing on the sidelines and merely observing the passage of a paradigm shift only delays the inevitable for the viewer.
Will the collective see with honest, untainted eyes of childhood and start a new order that serves the highest good, as my ending proposes? I believe this year will be an eye-opener for many and that real progress toward a world governed by nurturing, creative feminine energy will evolve out of necessity.
I hope this reading supports you. Until next time… My best, Shelley
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