Sometimes, everybody needs a little discipline.
That can be hard to admit, if, like me, you like to think of yourself as all free-spirited and floaty-like, easily wafting from lovely thing to lovely thing. News flash: rules can be good.
I’ve been practicing a few of my own lately. Here are some examples:
- Wait a full hour before turning on my computer in the morning.
- Write one page of my book each day.
- Turn emails off when working.
You know, that sort of thing. Guess what? They work! For example, if I’m not busy distracted by the millions of emails which fling themselves into my inbox throughout the day, I can actually get something productive done. And so on.
Then there are the rules that come from other people, but for which you willingly sign up. Today I restarted The Artist’s Way – that infamous 12-week course in unlocking your creative powers through daily and weekly practices, and through a series of exercises. I’ve tried it before and…guess what? I gave up. But I loved the discipline it imposed upon me during the six weeks I followed it. Someone was making me write those morning pages and take myself out on dates, weren’t they?
The Emperor, from the Shadowscapes Tarot by Stephanie Piu-Mun Law
I respond well to structure, though I know not everyone does.
This might inform how we feel about The Emperor in the tarot. If you hate to follow rules, have a naturally anti-authoritarian tendency and a dislike of right angles, it’s likely you won’t be too fond of tarot’s tough-loving parent. I sure as hell wasn’t impressed when I first met The Emperor. But in recent weeks, reflecting on how I find the constraints of a few simple rules to have a positive influence on my life, I’ve seen a different side to this card.
True – The Emperor can represent authority figures in our lives, and often the need to buck against their dogmatic rules and regulations. It’s not good to be handed your entire world view and social/political beliefs and gobble them up without question. And sometimes life can get so structured and regulated that the tarot cards are telling you to kick and scream and burn the place down.
But lately, I’ve softened towards The Emperor.
I’ve found myself craving a little of their structure. I’ve found that, in imposing a rule here, a constraint there – even if only temporary – I’m actually able to get rid of some of life’s tyrannical distractions and thus end up feeling freer.
I’m a 30-something writer, artist, tarot reader, and perpetual explorer of the space between thought, feeling, and action.
I believe that spirituality and ritual are for everybody. I’m about the journey, in all of its messy, non-linear, chaotic iterations. I am excited by anticapitalist business and living with my whole entire self present. I use tarot cards to bring forth hidden truth, and ritual to affirm my commitment, over and over, to my ever-shifting path.