The Emperor: Waite’s Symbols

The Waite Colman Smith deck appears to convey in the Empreror a much more masculine message than its antecedents. The Book T personifies him as “War, conquest, victory, strife, ambition,” and Mathers as “realization,” (which could be said to be a form of virility). In fact, focusing especially upon the ankh on the Emperor’s staff, it seems to me that Colman Smith illustrated the emperor with a bit more virility than Waite may have been able to face up to. In any case, I feel that Waite took a strategic move with the High Priestess/Hierophant pair and the Emperor/Empress pair to stress each of the “couples'” complementary natures.

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