The Emperor, Strength, and the King of Swords: A Reflection on Assertiveness

I drew these three cards today: The Emperor, Strength, and King of Swords:

EmperorStrengthKing of Swords

Now isn’t this a picture of assertiveness?!

At the center of the reading is the Strength card, illustrating a woman who uses a gentle, compassionate touch to tame a beast.

To the left of Strength is The Emperor, the archetypal father who provides needed order, security, and stability. He is assertive and confident but his authority alone can make him seem intimidating. On a bad day, he can be controlling and a micromanager, as Mark McElroy suggests in Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Tarot.

To the right of Strength is the King of Swords who uses the power of his intellect to quickly size up a situation and know how to proceed. He is articulate and lucid when he speaks and a convincing writer as well. On a bad day he can be arrogant and purposefully talk circles around those who may deserve more patience or insist on being right.

Exercises for Reflection

  • Make a list of people who you admire for their assertiveness. Go through your deck face up and find cards that illustrate their strengths.
  • Choose a card that represents a person or a situation that makes you feel intimidated.
  • Choose a card that represents your typical response to a person or a situation that makes you feel intimidated.
  • Choose a card that represents the response you would like to have to a person or a situation that makes you feel intimidated.

* * *

llustrations from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Copyright 1971 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Further reproduction prohibited. The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck is a registered trademark of U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

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2 Responses to “The Emperor, Strength, and the King of Swords: A Reflection on Assertiveness”

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