IV The Emperor
Teppei Ando
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

The Emperor card is one that deals with self-asserted power. It is aggressive authority, creating it's own environmental control with an innate instinct and skill to do so. Others are drawn to follow the emperor, and respect his leadership. It is a card of great traits, like power, command and experience but the emperor is also subject to boredom, restlessness and impatience.

I chose McMurphy from the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and as I reread Ken Kesey's masterpiece it's meanings breathed within the lines and pages. Randle McMurphy was the emperor of the asylum. He made that clear in his first minutes entering the hospital. He greeted all the patients (regardless of whether they be acute or chronic) and let himself be known. He told them he liked to know who he'd be playing (cards) with. He quickly challenged whoever was the "bull goose loony" of the place, and explained that he was accustomed to being top man. Since Harding seemed to be loosely the leader of the group, McMurphy let him know clearly there was only room for one bull goose loony, and that he was so crazy, he not only voted for Eisenhower last election but that he was planning to vote for him again next election! I think initially it was more about dominance for McMurphy, but ultimately he found himself becoming a true leader. He inspired those around him to be who they really were, and to care about living. He got not only respect but great love from those around him, and they believed he believed in them. He gained true power, and for the first time was a threat over the enemy, Nurse Ratched. In the end McMurphy made the biggest sacrifice in the emperor's fight and lost his mind. The chief understood this and suffocated him so his legend would survive longer than his body. In this illustration, we have McMurphy at his throne, playing cards with some of the other patients in the asylum feeling pretty good about himself.

IV - The Emperor

Close This Window

All Text and Images Copyright 2007 Museo dei Tarocchi. Further reproduction prohibited.