Today’s card is The Father, number four of the Major Arcana. In a traditional tarot deck, this card is known as The Emperor. The Major Arcana shows us the various phases, or lessons if you will, of the spiritual journey. There is a natural progression from The Fool, who represents innocence, naivety, and the beginning of a matter, to Oneness (The World) when one realizes that they are an integral part of all living things in the Universe and that we are all linked by Spirit. In the case of the Shapeshifter deck, there will be 81 cards rather than 78; the creators of this deck have added three additional cards that have significance in the Gwyddonic Druid Tradition which they practice. Note that moving through the phases of the Major Arcana doesn’t complete your journey. The concepts continue to present themselves to you at ever deeper levels as they spiral in and out of your journey.
The keywords for this card are Leadership and Self Control. The Father is the creating Lord of the Forest, co-creator companion of The Mother, and his powerful body symbolizes his perfect balance with both nature and spirit. His eternal reign over all forms of reproduction is represented by the green belt around his waist; he rules over all forms of procreation whether animal, human, or in the rest of nature. He also wears his antlers, representing sexual energy, as a sign that he is in complete control of himself and all his emotions and energies. In his left hand, he holds a globe signifying the material world, his prime domain. If his right, he commands lightning from the sky with ease; this divine spark or cosmic fire is necessary for the creation of all life, animate or inanimate.
All about him flourishes the plants and animals of nature as a result of his loving power. The twisting roots of the tree represent the power of the Tree of Life which extends from the multi-dimensional worlds into our physical one. The animals about him symbolize his attributes; the eagle (wisdom), the boar (courage), the snake (eternal life and rebirth), the ram (sexual vitality), the cougar (strength), the raccoon (endless curiosity about life), and the wolf (cunning) are all merging with him in this scene. Just as the energies of both The Mother and The Father are needed to create and re-created life, so must the seeker learn to combine both masculine and feminine energies within to attain balance and self control. In order to make spiritual progress, one must also be able to control their sexual desires and emotions.
When this card arrives, the seeker is being given the chance to learn and benefit from self control. Without accomplishing this, there is no hope of moving into a leadership role or successfully assuming greater responsibility that will come with it. An opportunity for expanding your knowledge may come but, without self discipline, it will not succeed.
May the Father bring you the wisdom and courage to apply strength to self discipline today.