Conversations Overheard: Emperor (2020), Hierophant (2021)

The cards above are from the “Tarot of Jane Austin”, by Diane Wilkes.

I was trying to think of an interesting way to use the Tarot Majors to move us from 2020 to 2021. This is not the energy of an older, aged man stepping aside for a baby – it is the energy of Archetypes talking. As with my other “Conversations Overheard”, I am presenting the Archetypes in human form. In this case, they are in a private home, sitting before a fire in the library, with drinks in hand. The Emperor (we will call him John), representing the outgoing year 2020, is well dressed, with an air of quiet authority about him. The Hierophant (we will call him Jason) representing the incoming year 2021, is conservatively dressed and presents himself as someone who listens well.

Jason takes a sip of his brandy, then turns to John. “John, what can you tell me about the year 2020. What needed to be done, and how were you able to handle it?”

John sets his glass down, with a deep sigh. “The first thing I want to say is that the dynamics of the year 2020 had been coming on for some time. Things looked relatively stable on the outside, but inside things were simmering. This was happening on local levels, as well as the global level. Of course we realize that the global level is in large part a reflection of the various local/national levels around the globe.

The real problem was people losing the big picture of life, and focusing more on the material side of things. It is the decisions that man makes, and the actions that he takes, that create the world around him. Humanity is one big unit, that has been acting as little individual units. Those at the helm have been acting for their own advantage, and not caring who gets left behind. As a group, you know that the Archetypes have been trying to show humankind the error of their ways.

On all levels there needed to be massive change, and it just wasn’t happening. You will remember the meeting where we decided to bring another pandemic into the world. It was there in 2019, but we ramped it up in 2020. We knew that a pandemic would affect all levels of society, and would show cracks in two major systems – healthcare and finances. An offshoot of this was that the politics of each country was shown to be what it was. “

John took a sip of his brandy and sat in thought for a moment. “You asked me how I was able to handle dealing with 2020. I knew going in what had to be done. The wild card is humankind, of course. They had to see the worst, to experience the worst before they could turn themselves around. They took too long to react, but we expected that. They defined ways to deal with the pandemic by requiring masks, hand sanitizers, and social distancing. That worked, to differing degrees, in different parts of the globe.

Hospital space and medical supplies became scarce. Individuals and companies stepped up. Some companies converted a portion of their machinery into making hand sanitizers. Companies – and individuals – started making masks. Several sports teams got together with health officials in the UK and developed a better breathing device that falls somewhere between an oxygen mask and full ventialtion. Humankind began to think beyond their individual selves.

Of course, we were still dealing with those individuals that refused to believe that the pandemic existed outside of someone’s imagination. So I had to go to the next step of specifically placing the virus in these individuals’ lives. Some died from it, some survived and went on to recant their original statements of disbelief.”

Jason stared into the fireplace. “So, John. Exactly what kind of a starting place are you leaving me with for 2021?”

John stretched his legs out before he responded. “Jason, my job was to get people to pay attention, and to get people thinking. To do that, I had to make things worse before they got better. I had to close down businesses, put people out of work, and shake up the economy. However, I also gave them the tools of multiple COVID vaccines, of having learned to work together, and of having been shown how to use technology in a better way. I gave governments a chance to work for the people. Some of them did, some didn’t.

My hope is that the lasting legacy of 2020 is that humankind is willing to change, willing to take responsibility for itself. When that happens, we may not have to send elemental energies like fires, major storms, and floods to get their attention.

Your job is to bring stability back to the world. To set a “new normal” for daily life. Start out by making sure that attention is paid to the manufacture and delivery of the various COVID vaccine. Get humanity involved enough to set a timeline for vaccinating the most people possible. The next step is getting people back to work. Having a paycheck coming in builds confidence, provides the means to adequate shelter, and to feed families. Then place emphasis on communities, and the focus on helping each other. Let them deal with their own politics, put the emphasis on mother earth, families, and peace.”

Jason took a sip of his brandy, then spoke. “John, you have done a very good job with 2020, and set in motion all of the things that we as Archetypes talked about. Thank you for sharing with me how I should start my work for the coming year, adn where my focus should be.”

January 2021 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.

Tarot Birth Cards – Death/Emperor

Over the next year I am going to be writing about Tarot Birth Cards, what they mean and how we can work with them. I use the system of Tarot Birth Cards developed by Ruth Ann and Wald Amberstone of the Tarot School ( Using the Seeker’s birth data (month, day and year), pairs of birth cards are defined. (For more information, and to calculate your own Birth Cards, go to

Please note: I have a book being published by Schiffer Books in fall of 2011 –  “Keys To Empowerment”, incorporating images from Karyn’s Easton’s “Tarot Lovers Tarot”. This was to have been a joint project (book and deck published together), but the decision was made to publish both separately, which I find very exciting! Karyn has a Birth Card calculator up on her site, where you can also view her incredible deck (it really is!) –

A special thanks to Leisa ReFalo, who developed the Birth Card Calculator, and graciously gave us permission to use it.

Our fourth pair of Birth Cards are the Death (Key 13) and the Emperor (Key 4). Some of the associations for these cards are:

Astrological Sign: Scorpio
Keywords: Release, change, living in the past, stuck in old patterns, blocks, transformation, renewal, detachment.

The Emperor
Astrological Sign: Aries
Keywords:  Decisive, ability to observe, logical thinking, organization, determination, male energy (animus), leadership, ambition, seeking stability, protecting others, dominion over mind, emotions, body.

The Theme for this lifetime is:  Learning to detach from the physical world, and release all expectations. The ability to take a leadership position, and own ones power.

We can choose to do personal work with our own Birth Cards, we can use Birth Cards in conjunction with a reading for a client (place their birth cards, drawn from a deck other than the one you are reading with, above the spread(s) laid out for them). The spread(s) are then read through the lens of perception of the Seeker’s Birth Cards. As added value, a reader could give their client scans of their Birth Cards, along with a short write-up about them. Readers can also use the Birth Card system to better understand other people in their own lives (family, co-workers, friends etc.).

The key to bringing balance to any lifetime is that of understanding how and where your Birth Cards are operating in your life. Death, ruled by Scorpio, places the focus on releasing that which no longer serves us well. This could be releasing people, places, things, or even an attitude, or way of looking at something, from our life.

The Emperor, ruled by Aries places focus on an independent optimistic, generous nature. There is also a sense of calculated risk taking here, as well as the ability to get things done. (The fact that the Emperor archetype has a magnetic personality does not hurt!).  There is often a sense of excitement and adventure surrounding the Emperor archetype, thanks to his Aries ruler.

Death and the Emperor set the tone for this lifetime. The path that the individual walks is one that addresses the lessons of balance in life – Death releases, to make room for future growth, while the Emperor brings order to what already exists. Death stands in the background, clearing things away, while the Emperor takes a position of leadership, making and implementing decisions.

A 13/4 (Death/Emperor) individual empowers themselves by releasing self-imposed holds from the past, that which is blocking them, holding them back, or not serving them well. They give up the ask that they gave been showing in public so that they can be who they really are. It is facing our fears and releasing them, giving up old habits and old ways of thinking of things. This is also a lifetime of accepting leadership roles, of using their power in an efficient manner to bring order out of chaos, and to make effective decisions.  What needs to be watched for here is a tendency to be judgmental and over analytical.

We are what we tell ourselves we are. When we understand why we make the decisions that we do, we can look at the decisions that are not bringing us happiness, and rethink them. If our decisions are not taking us where we want to go, we have a disconnect in our life. A 13/4 lifetime is all about releasing the past and taking accountability for the present and future.

Death and the Emperor act together to form the foundation for an authentic life. Death demands that we release that which no longer serves us well. He asks us to disconnect from the past, and from repetitive old patterns of thinking and acting. He asks us to recognize and release the blocks in our life – to move past them. When Death enters out life, we may change jobs, change career fields, move to a new home, or a new state, release a friendship, leave a long-term relationship or marriage, or make some other type of transition. Death is all about the unknown, and brings out all the fears that we have hiding within us. With Death, we are moving past and releasing these fears, so that they no longer have a hold over us.

The Emperor is all about creating structure out of chaos. He is intimately concerned with the details of life (where Death demands that we release attachment to the details of life). He is the animus, or the male influence in life. He is self-confident, powerful, and is not afraid to take calculated risks. His thinking is organized and logical, and he takes action only after he has thought things through. He is good at problem solving, and implementing solutions.

Images from the “Tarot Lovers Tarot”, Karyn Easton, 2008,

(c) April 2011 Bonnie Cehovet