I’m only 31 years old at the time of writing this blog and even I remember a time before our lives were ruled by technology and information was not available to us at the click of a button.

It’s only in the last 20 years, which is a fairly short amount of time, that technology has completely altered our way of life and the lens through which we see the world. Everything is instant now. Next day delivery, instant answers to our questions through Google and an expectation of instant responses from those we contact.

In a lot of ways it has made our lives easier and I’m not bashing technology, my entire career is based on the digital world, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that it has created a society of control freaks. I include myself in this. We have control of so much now, everything is customisable and when that control is taken away or not available to us, we can panic or feel the anxiety building.

Identifying our issues with control

I am someone who needs to be in control of everything, of my time, where my focus is, who gets to contact me, outcomes, you name it I need to control it. It’s only since taking on a more spiritual and witchy way of life that I’ve started to work on this and try my hardest to ease off the gas a little.

However, that need for control is usually a very subconscious problem that can be a little slippery to manage. Often we don’t even realise that it’s bubbling to the surface until we’re huddled in a corner rocking back and forth because our parcel didn’t arrive when the app said it would.

The illusion of control makes the helplessness seem more palatable. And when that illusion is taken away, I panic.
— Allie Brosh – Hyperbole and a Half

This is where we can introduce The Emperor. A card that is filled with divine masculine energy, the need for control and have authority over everything. I notice this card a lot when I work with clients who own their own businesses. They often crumble in the face of the unknown because they have become so used to spinning all the plates at once. They struggle to release some of that control, even if it’s in their own best interest because attached to that need for control is a fear, a fear of everything breaking if they don’t always have their hands on the wheel.

Using The Emperor card to battle our inability to relinquish personal power

It’s a tricky subject ‘control’ because people tend to have different relationships with it based on their own personal experiences. It may be that there is some childhood trauma that is at the root of your need for control, it may be more recent trauma or it could be a learned response.

The need for control, if we use The Emperor correspondences to guide us, is an imbalance of the fire element, a big dollop of fiery Aries energy that is in full control of our actions, thoughts and feelings. More than anything though, our need for control comes from our basic human need for safety. If we are in control, then we can make sure we are safe, that everything is going to plan and nothing scary or unexpected will happen to us.

What The Emperor can do, is help us to find a way to feel safe, but understand and most importantly, accept the things we can and can’t control. He can help us do this by turning our attention to the stable things we have in our life instead of focusing on the things that are crumbling or cracking.

May you find the strength of will and the grace of endurance to overcome every challenge.
— Lailah Gifty Akita, Think Great: Be Great!

An example of this would be if you’re facing the possibility of being let go from your job, you may automatically think about all the bills you’ll have to pay without an income, your mortgage, how you’ll put food on the table. What The Emperor does is swoop in and act as that voice of reason, that fire we have within us that keeps us alive. He shows us that we need to be more trusting of our own capabilities and trust that if the worst does happen, that scrappy, primal instinct to do whatever needs to be done to keep your head above water will kick in and keep everything afloat.

The Emperor in all of us

The Emperor card represents our basic instinct to stay alive. We all have him inside of us, it’s the same as a gazelle grazing in a field, one crack of a stick behind it and its Emperor instinct kicks in and away it goes. It’s the fight or flight energy and when we have too much Emperor in control, that’s when we can feel anxious and panicked.

What we have to do is learn to work with The Emperor, instead of trying to battle him into submission or simply lying down and allowing him full control. We have to understand why he is appearing, where his motivations are coming from and how we can work in tandem with him. We are using his energy to see that there is no one way to keep ourselves safe, that if one safe haven falls, we have the skills and ability to build or find a new one.

So, let’s see what we can come up with when we allow ourselves to dive into our own Emperor energy. Use these journal prompts to start using The Emperor to address your own control issues and needs, start to discover where they are coming from and how you could start to find a balance again.

  • What is it that I’m afraid to lose control of?

  • Why am I afraid of not having full control of these things? Why wouldn’t I feel safe if I didn’t have control of these things?

  • Are there any situations in my past where I did not have control of a situation and something bad happened? If so, how do you think this experience could be contributing to your current problems.

  • If you did release control of these things, what is the worst thing that could happen? Are these things realistically or statistically likely to happen?

  • List all the things that currently make you feel safe and secure. How many of things are in your control and how many rely on third parties or outside sources?

  • If you did release or lose control of your current situation, what would you do? What plans would you put into place? How would you navigate the situation?