MAJOR ARCANA

The Emperor Tarot Meanings

The Emperor is the card of the divine masculine, it is a symbol of power, strength, and authority. Often when The Emperor rears his head in a reading, there is a need to step up and take back control or flex your own authority.

He is also seen as the father figure in the major arcana, the yang to The Empress’ yin, or in Pagan traditions, the sun to The Empress’ moon. He is strict, abides by the laws and rules, and can enforce his authority with ease.

The Emperor Tarot Meanings Power
The Emperor Tarot Meanings
The Emperor Tarot Meanings Leadership

The Emperor Upright Meanings

When The Emperor appears right side up, he can represent a number of different properties, such as:

  • Leadership

  • Authority

  • Discipline

  • Divine Masculine

  • Control

  • Power

In the upright position, The Emperor is often a sign that there is a need to step into your power, to not be afraid to take or chase what you really want. Depending on the position, The Emperor can also represent someone else taking your power away from you, or blocking you from being able to be more authoritative. This could be a boss or even a controlling parental figure.

The Emperor Reversed Meanings

In the reversed position, The Emperor can point towards our weaknesses in character or even our ego taking over. All the attributes of The Emperor upright are now flipped on their heads and turned inwards. Some reversed meanings for The Emperor are:

  • Stubbornness

  • Egotistical

  • Controlling

  • Authoritarian

  • Undisciplined

The Emperor is the master, the ruler of everything. I like to think of him as a figure such as Zeus, Henry VIII, or Daenerys from Game of Thrones. In fact, she’s a great example of The Emperor moving from the upright to the reversed position over time.

Reading The Emperor in a Tarot Spread

The Emperor is the opposite of The Empress, in that he is the authoritative leader who takes charge and is all about action rather than feeling. The Emperor has the same unmoving energy as a brick house or a large boulder.

He does things on his own terms and so he can be quite a confronting energy to get in your tarot spreads. Let’s have a look at different ways we can approach this stoic energy of The Emperor when he makes an appearance in our readings.

The Emperor as An Invitation

When we read The Emperor as an invitation, it can seem like an invite that we are afraid to decline. He’s very forceful in his message and it can feel like more of a command than an invitation, but it’s offered in the vein of tough love, rather than manipulation or control.

For The Emperor, this invitation could be the following:

  • An invitation to explore your own personal strength and power

  • An invitation to see where you can exercise more control and authority

  • An invitation to explore your own capabilities and desires

  • An invitation to explore your divine masculine and see how you can use it more effectively

The Emperor as Sage Advice

The Emperor is a big fan of dishing out advice. He can be a bit egotistical so the advice he offers comes from a very self-assured and confident place. When The Emperor offers you advice, it is always for your own good, even if it’s hard to hear. He can also highlight when you’ve taken his energy a bit too far in the other direction, causing you to be unyielding when you don’t have to be.

Some advice The Emperor may offer is:

  • To stop allowing people to manage your affairs, take control of your own stuff

  • Be mindful of when you are being stubborn, rather than simply standing your ground

  • Check in to see if you are making decisions based on your ego or using your intuition

  • Never give up your power to make others happy or soothe somebody else’s ego

The Emperor as a Lesson

The archetype of the father figure, which The Emperor is based off, is someone that relishes dolling out hard lessons. The Emperor wants you to learn the hard way and therefore he can often represent those difficult lessons we are faced with throughout our lives.

Some lessons that The Emperor may offer you are:

  • To not let anyone else take your power away from you

  • To be a leader but not a dictator, find a balance between authority and compassion

  • To identify the areas of your life where The Emperor energy is needed and where it can be put to one side in favour of more nurturing energy

  • Not everything will be done for you, at some point you’ll need to step up and take control of your own destiny

The Emperor as a Redirection

The Emperor as redirection is a call to action. If you’ve been planning, strategising or just thinking about how to solve your problem or overcome your challenges, The Emperor appears to tell you it’s time to put in the work. He is an anti-procrastination card because he has no time for those that dilly-dally.

As a redirection, The Emperor could symbolise a need to:

  • Step up and take control of the situation

  • Check your ego and pride to see if they are standing in your way

  • Release your hold on situations you’ve been gripping tightly – this is especially important in the realm of relationships

  • Take on more responsibility for your own actions

The Emperor Tarot Meanings Four

The Emperor - Number 4

The Emperor is assigned the number four within the Major Arcana. It is a number that embodies the strength, stability and reliable nature that we also see reflected in The Emperor card. 

When we look around at objects in our home, you’ll notice that everything made for stability has four legs or corners. It is a number that we subconsciously feel to be secure and safe, something we can also feel when faced with The Emperor. 

 

The Emperor Tarot Meanings Aries

The Emperor - Aries

Although The Emperor is a strong and stable figure, he has a fiery disposition. This is down to his Aries astrological sign. In the Rider Waite-Smith Tarot deck you’ll see the figure of Aries ram heads carved into the throne The Emperor sits on. 

Aries is a sign that is ruled by the war god Mars, again hinting at The Emperor’s leadership qualities and ability to stand up and fight for what he feels most passionate about. 

 

The Emperor Tarot Meanings Archetype

The Emperor - The Ruler

The Emperor sits firmly in ‘The Ruler’ archetype. It is an energy that demands to be listened. The ruler’s role is to provide structure in order to control a situation. With that, it means The Emperor can be a little forceful and have a quick and fiery temper. 

The ruler is there to rule. He can often be arrogant and unwilling to listen to the opinions of others. Another trait it shares with The Emperor. 

 

King of Pentacles Tarot Meanings

King of Pentacles Tarot Meanings

Queen of Pentacles Tarot Meanings

Queen of Pentacles Tarot Meanings

Knight of Pentacles Tarot Meanings

Knight of Pentacles Tarot Meanings

Page of Pentacles Tarot Meanings

Page of Pentacles Tarot Meanings

Ten of Pentacles Tarot Meanings

Ten of Pentacles Tarot Meanings

Nine of Pentacles Tarot Meanings

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Eight of Pentacles Tarot Meanings

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Seven of Pentacles Tarot Meanings

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Six Of Pentacles Tarot Meanings

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Five of Pentacles Tarot Meanings

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Four of Pentacles Tarot Meanings

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Three of Pentacles Tarot Meanings

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Two of Pentacles Tarot Meanings

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Ace of Pentacles Tarot Meanings

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King of Wands Tarot Meanings

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Queen of Wands Tarot Meanings

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Knight of Wands Tarot Meanings

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Page of Wands Tarot Meanings

Page of Wands Tarot Meanings

Ten of Wands Tarot Meanings

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Nine of Wands Tarot Meanings

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Eight of Wands Tarot Meanings

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Six of Wands Tarot Meanings

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Five of Wands Tarot Meanings

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Four of Wands Tarot Meanings

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Three of Wands Tarot Meanings

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Two of Wands Tarot Meanings

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Ace of Wands Tarot Meanings

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King of Cups Tarot Meanings

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Queen of Cups Tarot Meanings

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Knight of Cups Tarot Meanings

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Page of Cups Tarot Meanings

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Ten of Cups Tarot Meanings

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Nine of Cups Tarot Meanings

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Eight of Cups Tarot Meanings

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Seven of Cups Tarot Meanings

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Six of Cups Tarot Meanings

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Five of Cups Tarot Meanings

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Four of Cups Tarot Meanings

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Three of Cups Tarot Meanings

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Two of Cups Tarot Meanings

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King of Swords Tarot Meanings

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Queen of Swords Tarot Meanings

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Knight of Swords Tarot Meanings

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Page of Swords Tarot Meanings

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Ten of Swords Tarot Meanings

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Nine of Swords Tarot Meanings

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Eight of Swords Tarot Meanings

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Seven of Swords Tarot Meanings

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Six of Swords Tarot Meanings

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Five of Swords Tarot Meanings

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Four of Swords Tarot Meanings

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Three of Swords Tarot Meanings

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Two of Swords Tarot Meanings

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Ace of Swords Tarot Meanings

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The World Tarot Meanings

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Judgement Tarot Meanings

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The Sun Tarot Meanings

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The Moon Tarot Meanings

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The Star Tarot Meanings

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The Tower Tarot Meanings

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The Devil Tarot Meanings

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Temperance Tarot Meanings

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Death Tarot Meanings

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The Hanged Man Tarot Meanings

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Justice Tarot Meanings

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Wheel of Fortune Tarot Meanings

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The Hermit Tarot Meanings

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Strength Tarot Meanings

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The Chariot Tarot Meanings

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The Lovers Tarot Meanings

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The Hierophant Tarot Meanings

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The Emperor Tarot Meanings

The Emperor Tarot Meanings

The Empress Tarot Meanings

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The High Priestess Tarot Meanings

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The Magician Tarot Meanings

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The Fool Tarot Meanings

The Fool Tarot Meanings