A chariot pulled by cats
Purring will be returning
From the other side
Girl, it’s time you take back your light
~ Tori Amos, “Cloud Riders”
I don’t know if Tori Amos was actually thinking about the Power/Freyja card from The Goddess Tarot when she wrote those lyrics, but that card was sure the first thing that popped into my head when I heard them the first time! Power/Freyja is Waldherr’s interpretation of The Emperor from the traditional Tarot, who is the personification of institutional power and formal power structures. And yet this card doesn’t evoke the same sense of rigid bureaucracy (even autocracy) that the classic Emperor so often does. Instead, she speaks to me of not just Power but Authority — of the ways in which our Power is respected and legitmated once we step into it (via The Empress), the ways in which we wield Power when we step into leadership.
Freyja, the Norse Goddess of war, sexuality, gold and prosperity, and love, is a complex figure. She’s sometimes reduced to the Norse version of Aphrodite or Venus, but this ignores an entire side of Her. While Freyja loves beauty and sensuality, and chooses Her lovers freely, She is also the one who chooses half the warriors to be slain in battle. And She is the Protectrix of Women — when unmarried women die, it is Freyja’s hall that they go. Freyja, as Power/The Emperor, to me speaks to the ways in which women (and in fact people of all genders) can actualize the personal Power of the Empress and wield it in the world, not just to empower ourselves but to empower others and even transform situations and institutions.
When Power/Freyja shows up in a reading, I still see it as carrying some of the connotations of the traditional Emperor card — interaction with formal systems of power, a caution to not get too stuck in systems and protocols (or a need to honor systems and protocols in pursuit of our goals), and the need to work with established structures. But Power/Freyja also seems like a more mobile energy to me. The Emperor as He is traditionally pictured is rigid, stoic, imperious. Freyja as Power has movement in a way that traditional Emperor renditions don’t. She speaks to the ability to manifest, to make things happen, to move things forward. She also calls upon us to consider the ways in which we can step into leadership. How can we take our personal Power, our empowerment, and translate it out into the world? How can we re-think formal power structures, and can we envision different ways of relating to Power?
In some ways, I think of Freyja/Power as a particularly feminist card — which is funny in light of the fact that She is reinterpretation of one of the two most patriarchal cards in the Tarot (we’ll talk about the other, The Heirophant, in the next entry in this series!). I see Freyja/Power as an embodiment of transformative power — She sometimes carries messages of activism and social justice, and at other times simply carries the message that it is time for the querent to step into their Power and lead others.
I love it when Freyja/Power shows up in my readings. She reminds me that I am powerful beyond measure, even if I don’t realize it in the moment. She tells us that we have the ability to shift our situation, to take back our light.