“Without freedom we would not be spiritual beings. “ – Meditation on the Tarot
Many years ago my parents crossed paths with a well-known Buddhist monk, famous for his psychic and prophetic ability. To prove his legitimacy he told my mom she had a red mole on her left breast. She didn’t even know about it until she checked afterward.
He prophesied for a select few, but his main words of wisdom were this: the choices we make influence the future far greater than any prophecy.
This makes sense when we visualize time on one plane moving forward in one direction. A set of events leads to an outcome. But divination by nature and definition operates outside of the linear notion of time and space. The future is foretold in a unique moment in the present and the future is herded into existence based on the present course of events. The train has left the station, so to speak.
In stark contrast is the alternative – the moment right after the aforementioned “present” where any number of deviations or choices can alter the course. Prophecy gives one outcome but free will makes for infinite possibilities.In this truth, Buddhist monks and Christian theologians are aligned. There are many things that we cannot control, but the power to control ourselves should not be underestimated.
What if we could control not only ourselves but our circumstances and the world around it? This dominion over all existence sounds like the definition of God. Can there be a display of power greater than this?
There is indeed one move that could best this level of omnipotence. The answer is sacrifice. The ultimate display of power is to relinquish it. You can only give away what you truly possess. In the Christian worldview, God is all powerful. But rather than ruling the world and treating creation like pawns being moved on a chess board, creation is gifted free will.
In the Tarot, the Emperor card represents authority and power. In a unique way, no one embodies the Emperor card like Jesus Christ the suffering King. The Emperor card, a father-like figure full of masculine energy sits on a throne resolute and confident. In Spiderman Uncle Ben tells us, “With great power comes great responsibility.” This is true for The Emperor. While everything is under his dominion, the burden of responsibility and decision making rests on his shoulders. The Emperor is no fascist dictator. This is not absolute power that corrupts absolutely and stems from a place of ego, self-gratification and narcissism. The Emperor is a true king, one who loves his subjects/country/tribe/community and rules with wisdom and generosity along with authority and power.
In the Emperor card, we see controlled strength coupled with wisdom and compassion. It is this delicate balance that makes me think of the Emperor as a suffering king. Because suffering is your destiny if choose to relinquish power and reign over a free society. On a cosmic level the One True and Living God exhibits authority, power, and love by giving us freedom.
“Is mankind therefore solely responsible for its history? Without a doubt—because it is not God who has willed it to be as such. God is crucified in it.” – Meditation on the Tarot
When we think about the Emperor card or Jesus Christ the suffering King, what lies behind this level of sacrifice is love. It’s why God chooses to live life alongside us rather than play chess. There is the risk and reality of suffering, but it is surpassed by the width, height, and depth of infinite love.
Fate exists when we interact with other people who also have free will. There will always be circumstances and situations you can’t control. But you have power over your response and your choices. The example that God sets for us is to control less and love more.
Has there been a time when you’ve had to love by letting go?
Have you experienced feeling loved because someone trusted you?
What difficulty has fate/life brought upon you recently?
Can you love yourself or others through this experience?
Also published on Medium.