Musing on the Fool’s Journey: The Fool Meets the Empress and the Emperor

The Fool (Rider Waite Smith)

If you are just joining the Fool in his travels through the Major Arcana, you might like to start with this Fool Meets The Magician And The High Priestess.

Our Fool danced along the path–his little white dog beside him. He liked to turn his head this way and that. He did this as much to see how the trees changed when he changed his perspective as to hear the merry jingle of the bells in his hat.

“Where are you going, Fool?” The warm, mellow voice didn’t startle the Fool so much as make him trip over his own two feet. As he pulled himself out of the dirt, he looked to his right.

There in a clearing sat a beautiful blonde woman. She wore an ornate robe with pomegranites all over the fabric. A shield lay beside her couch and a crown adorned her head. Even the Fool knew this was royalty so he knelt.

“My lady, I am on a journey. The Magician told me I needed to find Will. The High Priestess sent me this way. Do you know where I might find Will?”

“Fool, I am the Empress. I am the living representative of the creativity of the world. I can help you grow and prosper, but without Will you will struggle. I wish I could help you, dear Fool. You might try my counterpart–the Emperor.”

The Fool nodded his head as he rose to his feet. “Empress, do you have anything for me to take to the Emperor?”

He thought it best to offer since he was going that way anyway.

“Yes” and she handed him a sheet of paper. “Tell the Emperor that love is the way.”

The Fool wisely didn’t question. He just took the paper and set his feet back on the path to find Will.

The forest engulfed him with its dark trees and close bushes. He hurried until he reached a small town. There he asked where he could find the Emperor.

The townsman didn’t stop in his rush to get where ever it was he was going. He just pointed a finger towards the center of town.

In the center was a castle. The Fool knocked on the door and was granted an audience with the Emperor. He was a white-bearded fellow sitting on a stone throne decorated with rams.

“Why all the rams, my Lord?” The Fool blurted this out…foolishly of course.

The Emperor shook a finger at the Fool. “That is not how you ask questions of me. I have rules and structure that must be followed. ”

The Fool, remembering his manners, bowed to the Emperor. “Emperor, might I ask a question of you?”

The Emperor inclined his regal head. “You may, Fool. In fact, you may ask me two questions but no more. Be sure you want the answers. I am the Father of the Tarot. I demand much but I give back to those who would offer me hard work.”

“I am curious, Emperor, why do you have rams on your throne? And why do you wear armor under your robes? That doesn’t look very comfortable.”


The Emperor smiled as he responded, “The rams represent my Aries nature. I will protect my flock at all costs and will not allow anyone to remain who is not supportive of that flock. And I wear armor because I must be ready to go to battle at any time. Those were good questions, Fool.”

The Fool twisted his lips. He’d wasted one of his questions! Now how would he ask about Will. What if the Emperor had what he wanted.

“I know what you seek, Fool, and I do not have it. You must continue your journey through the land of Arcana. You should ask the Heirophant. He may know where you can find Will.”

Astonished that the Emperor knew what he needed, The Fool thanked him and headed back into the town to find the Heirophant who he knew was sometimes called the Priest or the Pope.

(c) Stephanie Arwen Lynch
To Be Continued (subscribe for email updates)

Author: TarotByArwen

Arwen is a published romance author writing as Marilu Mann as well as author of non-fiction like the Fairy Tale Lenormand (art by Lisa Hunt). As past president of the American Tarot Association (2007-2014), Arwen worked with an actively engaged board to rekindle that organization. A professional joy seeker, Arwen helps her clients find their joy again in jobs, relationships and life. "Seek joy, y'all" is a motto known to many because of Arwen's heart-felt desire to help others.