4th Sunday After Trinity: (4) Emperor

There is a remarkable consonance between the placement of the Collects during the Sundays after Trinity and the corresponding upper arcana. Thus today, the fourth Sunday after Trinity brings us to the fourth arcana, the arcana of temporal authority as mediated by the (4) Emperor, and the themes of the collect are “protection,” “strength,” “mercy,” “rule,” and “guidance.”

The (4) Emperor,” writes the author of Meditations on the Tarot, has established in himself the fourfold emptiness of the divine name:

This is why is why he is “Emperor”; this is why he is authority. He has made a place in himself for the divine name YHVH, which is the source of authority.

Meditations on the Tarot, p. 79

Joseph Murphy writes:

The greatest discovery of all time is to become aware of the power of God. Begin now to get acquainted with the tremendous potentialities within you. To become acquainted with and to establish a friendly relationship with your Higher Self, which is God in you, is the only thing that matters. Ask yourself: [1] “Do I really believe that the Infinite Intelligence within me is God and that He is the only Presence, Power, and Cause in the Universe?” [2] “Do I believe that the cause of my experiences, events, and conditions are due to powers outside of me? If so, why do I try to change things?” [3] “Do I really believe that the phenomenal world is an effect and not a cause?” If you do you would never complain about externals but align your thought and feeling with God and His law, thereby changing your world.

The Miracle of Mind Dynamics, pp. 55-56.

The Collect

O God, the protector of all that trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us thy mercy; that thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal: Grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake our Lord. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer

Old Testament Reading

His delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Psalm 1: 2

New Testament Reading

The “guidance” provided by the (4) Emperor links this arcana to that of the (17) Star and we may “borrow” part of the New Testament Reading from the 17th Sunday after Trinity for today:

One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Ephesians 4: 6

Evelyn Underhill writes:

“One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all,” says the Christian. “For, as it is said, God is not external to any one,” says the Alexandrian Neoplatonist [Plotinus] in words which seem an echo of Saint Paul, “but he is present with all things, though they are ignorant that he is so.”

The Mystic Way, p. 23

The Prayer Book reading for 4th Sunday after Trinity reminds us that the judgement we receive from the (4) Emperor reflects the quality of our own thoughts and actions (our “measuring and meting”):

Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Luke 6: 36-38

Liturgical Affirmation

Ego sum lux mundi:

Ex chao ordinem facio

I am the light of the world: I make order out of chaos

The (4) Emperor brings the chaotic nature of the (0) Fool under control, not through condemnation and punishment, but through the merciful application of order and structure in good measure.

The Quality of Mercy

The quality of mercy is not strained.

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes

The thronèd monarch better than his crown.

His scepter shows the force of temporal power,

The attribute to awe and majesty

Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;

But mercy is above this sceptered sway.

It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings;

It is an attribute to God Himself;

And earthly power doth then show likest God’s

When mercy seasons justice.

Portia, in William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Scene 1

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