The Emperor tarot card is the father archetype of the tarot deck and the number four of the Major Arcana cards. The card represents the highest leadership and symbolizes power, strength, and success. It often predicts that you will achieve a level of status.
However, this doesn’t just happen. The Emperor tells you to be strong, hardworking, brave, and in command. If you do this, success in business and wealth will follow. Your hard work will surely pay off!
The Emperor Tarot Key Words
Before diving deeper into the upright- and reversed Emperor card meaning, and its connection to love, work, and life, below a quick overview of the most important words connected to this powerhouse.
Tarot Card Description
The Emperor holds an orb in his left hand which stands for the kingdom that he rules. In his right hand, he has an ankh, the Egyptian symbol of life. The red robe that he wears indicates energy, power, and passion for life. Underneath his robe, he wears armor signifying protection from any threat.
His white beard represents wisdom that comes with age and experience. Over time the Emperor has learned what it takes to rule, establish power, and complete order for the benefit of his people.
Behind the throne, you can see a mountain range, that expresses his strong foundation but also his resilience to change unless he thinks it’s inevitable. At the foot of the mountain range, a small river flows. This depicts a sense of hope and the emotional side of the Emperor, that’s hard to reach but is there.
The Emperor Tarot Meaning
When the upright Emperor card appears in a reading, it means that you have or are about to reach a new level of mastery, usually in your work. Others will see you as an expert in your field and will recognize your ideas and opinions on professional matters.
There is even the possibility that you come into some actual power, exercising authority over subordinates, or that you become a thought leader in your business. In this situation, you will lead with a firm but fair hand.
Money and Career Meaning
In a money or career reading, the Emperor tarot card is definitely one of the most desirable cards. It suggests that you know what you want to create, and you organize those around you to achieve your goal.
The card tells you to be strong, hardworking, brave, and in command. If you do this, success in business and wealth will follow. Your hard work will surely pay off in the form of a promotion, a pay raise or new business opportunities.
Love & Relationships Meaning
If your single, be ready to fall in love soon if this card shows up! The Emperor in a love and relationship reading means action, commitment, and stability.
Known for his authority and fatherly nature, the Emperor often indicates a romantic relationship with an older person, who will lavish you with love, attention, and support.
If you’re already in a relationship, the Emperor is a good sign as he stands for monogamy and long-lasting relationships. It tells you that your partner is with you for the long run and your relationship will be stable.
Are you having a hard time with your loved one? If this is the case, this card tells you that the situation will improve soon.
The Emperor, as the father figure of the tarot deck, can also imply that you’re adopting this fatherly role. Perhaps you
Health and Spirituality Meaning
If the Emperor card shows up in relation to health matters, it often indicates that you’re being too hard on yourself. Maybe you’re working more than you need or following a very tight fitness regime? If so, the wise old Emperor advises you to slow down a bit and be kind to yourself. Pushing yourself to the limit, will not always help you to make progress. You have to make space, in order to grow! Relax and treat yourself with a warm bad, or even a massage. This will help you to revitalize soon!
When you’re suffering from an illness or injury, the Emperor tells you to listen to your body. Instead of ignoring the signals your body is giving you, rest or even seek medical advice from a doctor.
In a spiritual context, the Emperor may be a sign that you’ve been focussing too much on the physical and material parts of your life. Try not to lose sight of your spiritual self, and create time to listen to your inner-self as well.
The Emperor Reversed
When the Emperor is reversed in a tarot reading, it means a negative presence in your personal or professional life.
This person abuses his authoritative powers over you to domineer you. Think of a stubborn figure, such as your father or your boss or an overpowering partner that just doesn’t let you be. The primary objective of this person is to obtain and maintain control in every situation. You can feel powerless or helpless in your present situation, and you find it hard to come up with a solution.
Because of these feelings, it may be that you have unknowingly turned rude to those around you, and people may see you as an insecure person in need of power and control. That’s why you have to think about the role that power plays in your current life.
Are you dominating your loved ones in a way that they feel powerless? Are you giving away all your personal power by pleasing your boss or partner? If this is the case, try to find a solution in which power is equally distributed, so that you don’t need to take power from others or give yours away.
The Emperor tarot card in a reversed position can also indicate a lack of discipline to get the job done. If you are struggling to see any real outcomes: get organized, create a feasible plan and work hard. You have to realize that it takes time to achieve results and dominate. You can’t just go ahead and write a book – you think you have to be a Jane Austen right away!
It may also be that the reversed Emperor asks you to do unconventional things or make decisions that would allow you to overcome your present situation. Are the restrictions work imposes on you really starting to bother you? Are you done with following orders from a dominating boss? Maybe it’s time for a change. Switch to a smaller company or start working for your own, and break free!
The Emperor: Yes or No
The Emperor is about taking charge, creating structures to make things work and about having firm boundaries and integrity.
Therefore, the Emperor in a Yes or No reading is most of the time a yes, especially when it comes to money, career, work, and questions related to relationships.
Important Card Combinations
As the symbol of the highest leadership, the Emperor exercises authority. Also in combination with other cards, he is a dominant figure that encourages perseverance and hard work.
The Emperor and Strength
The Strength card represents – as the name already suggests – strength, passion, persuasion, and power. Combined with the hard work and authority of the Emperor, willpower, and perseverance will be multiplied in any matter. This may lead to new business opportunities, especially if the Justice card or the Magician also show up in the reading.
The Emperor and the Devil
At best, this combination stands for a passionate relationship that is only based on physical attraction. However, the Emperor – Devil combination more often indicates a destructive and unbalanced relationship where an authoritative and dominant figure is abusing his powers.
The Emperor and the Star
High hopes, faith, and work rewarded. That’s the result of combining the card of optimism and hope with the card that stands for determination and hard work. It may mean that you finally achieve the business success you’ve aimed for so long, or that you finally realize a promising consolidation with another business partner.
The Emperor and Six of Pentacles or Two of Wands
These two minor arcana cards both embody all it means to be giving. Therefore, if either the Six of Pentacles or the Two of Wands is paired with the Emperor, you can expect a donation from a possible silent partner, angel investor, or charity organization.
The Emperor and Five of Wands
The Emperor combined with the Five of Wands indicates that someone is challenging authority or those in decision-making positions. Is it you? Are you the rebel that is facing the opposition? If so, you must decide if you will hold your stance or cooperate. What is at stake here? You should consider each path carefully before you make a choice.
The Emperor and Justice
The Justice tarot card often represents legal matters, and when linked with the Emperor, this meaning is intensified. If you’re not currently in a legal battle, one could be looming.
The Emperor and the Six of Wands
Public praise, awards, recognition for success, applause for a job well done, and being given a pat on the back – these are all outcomes connected with the Six of Wands. It often predicts achievement on a large scale.
You’ve endured and fought the good fight, now prepare for the rewards of your conquest. Combined with the Emperor card, predicting the new levels of mastery, usually in your work, expect praise from your boss and a promotion!
The Emperor Card Art
Although I write all the descriptions based on the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, that doesn’t mean that I use other decks too. And there are so many stunning decks and cards out there! I believe that if you hang some of these cards in the Guggenheim, that nobody would notice that they’re “just tarot cards”. To spread a bit of inspiration and joy, I added some of my favorite Emperor tarot cards to this post.
What do you think of the Emperor?
That’s all for the Emperor Tarot card meaning! If you have pulled this card in your tarot spread, did the meaning make sense to your situation in life?
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