The Meaning Of The Emperor Tarot Card

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Emperor Tarot Card

Major Arcana cards add an all-embracing spiritual or philosophical layer to any reading.

The Emporer’s card’s message is about power and structure. This experienced and influential character is the master of all he surveys.

His decisive and assertive nature is a model for continuous growth and stability.

Emperor Tarot Card Description

To better understand the meaning of this card, let’s take note of the artistry involved:

  • Emperor – He is old, stern, and grizzled. He wears the armor of a knight and the robes of a King. The Emperor is a warrior, foremost. He has gained power by fighting hard battles and making tough decisions. He knows that ultimate power comes with grave responsibility, and he does not take it lightly.
  • Items of Gold – Crown, Scepter, and Orb. These are symbols of his power. The Crown signals his royalty, meaning he makes the laws. The Scepter represents his absolute power. The Orb says he rules by divine right.
  • Throne – The throne is made of stone, with four ram’s heads adorning it. This isn’t a comfortable seat, but it does represent stability. The rams relate to Aries, the god of war and the first sign of the zodiac. Aries represents initiative and individualism, and often, winning at any cost.
  • Wasteland – The environment around the Emperor looks mountainous and harsh, yet a river runs behind him. He has the power to bring life and order to the wild and barren wilderness.

The Emperor is an embodied example of power and strength. He creates the structure by which the rest of us live.

Key Facts

UprightAuthority, structure, a father figure
ReversedExcessive control, rigidity, domination
Yes or NoYes
Astrological SignAries
Key Facts: The Emperor Tarot Card

Upright Meaning of The Emperor

The upright meaning of this card is the same as the core meaning: Organization and control.

This is a time to take charge of your sphere of influence. You make the rules and set the tone for what goes on in your domain.

Here are the central themes:

  • Leadership – The Emperor is a person in authority. As a leader, he establishes order in his realm. The guidance is to take charge or to speak to someone who has the power to affect your situation.
  • Stability – The order he establishes is the foundation upon which his empire is built. This points to the importance of having a solid basis of support for your relationships and other endeavors.
  • Fatherhood – The Emperor is an archetypal Father Figure. He represents protection and guidance. His example is one of responsible decision-making. He also points to traditionally masculine energies such as logic and assertiveness.
Upright Love
Upright Career MeaningUpright Health
Stability and leadership in committed relationshipsAuthority and success in career pursuitsFocus on discipline and maintaining a strong physical well-being

Love and Relationships – Upright, The Emperor

The Emperor in love points to a solid foundation in committed partnerships. Themes like traditional roles, loyalty, and stability emerge. The bedrock of this relationship is firm.

Don’t hesitate to seek guidance from a trusted paternal figure about establishing security.

If you’re looking for love, a strong and reliable partner is coming your way. But this person may expect you to play by their rules.

Career and Work – Upright, The Emperor

Upright in a career reading, the Emperor’s message is about being assertive. You can have confidence in your ability to lead.

Whether you’re the boss or you’re just getting started, you can take charge of your career. Being reliable and showing good judgment are excellent ways to set a good foundation.

Lean on your strengths, and apply the wisdom you pick up along the way. With ambition and determination, you’ll succeed.

Health and Wellness – Upright, The Emperor

In a question about health, the Emperor wants you to take the lead in your own wellness journey. It takes a responsible and structured mindset to establish good health.

You’ll benefit by putting a good routine in place. It should include regular essentials like sleep, activity, and good nutrition. Good habits yield good results.

Spiritual Context – Upright, The Emperor

Upright in a spirituality reading, the Emperor calls you to take command of your journey. By embracing the wisdom and strength within, you can connect powerfully with your higher self.

It’s essential to commit to a regular, structured practice that works for you. The discipline creates a safe zone for wisdom to emerge.

This card may also point to a spiritual leader with a stern way of being. This person can be a good resource for helping you access the mysteries.

Reversed Meaning of The Emperor

When The Emperor comes out in reverseoverreach and abuse of authority prevail.

The Emperor is all about being in charge and handling things responsibly. So, when he shows up in reverse, the message is about control, powerlessness, and avoidance.

  • Control Issues – There are two ways the Emperor falls out of balance. One is to become too controlling, demanding more than what’s appropriate.
  • Procrastination – The second way is by avoiding or putting off important responsibilities. In addition to getting less done, you spend a lot more time worrying about incomplete tasks.

Let these behaviors be your clues to what the Emperor in reverse is pointing to in your reading.

Reversed Love MeaningReversed Career MeaningReversed Health Meaning
Issues with control or power struggles in relationshipsLack of direction or difficulties with authority figures in the workplaceBeware of potential stress-related health issues and seek balance in life

Love and Relationships – Reversed, The Emperor

When the Emperor pops reversed in a question of love, it’s a reminder that no one should have to give up their power. One partner may be overbearing, possessive, or use unreasonable expectations to maintain control.

Sometimes, lovers become competitive. Love can get lost when you’re too focused on getting back at the other.

If you’re looking for love, this card says you may struggle to express your feelings for someone. Love can’t grow unexpressed. This is your invitation to find a way.

Career and Work – Reversed, The Emperor


Reversed in a career spread, the Emperor signals a stifling work environment. The atmosphere is so rigid with rules and restrictions that there’s no room to grow and create.

Alternately, it says you lack the focus and discipline to reach the goal you’ve set. It’ll take some conscious rebuilding to get yourself back on track.

Health and Wellness – Reversed, The Emperor

When the Emperor pops reversed in a wellness reading, you may suffer from a lack of flexibilityPoor circulation can also be a problem. It’s essential, to the best of your ability, to stay in motion.

Daily activity doesn’t have to be like boot campStaying mobile is one way of taking it easy on yourself. Doing exercise that doesn’t push your limits is another.

Spiritual Context – Reversed, The Emperor

The Emperor, in reverse, is calling you to be less rigid in your spirituality. It’s tempting to try to do everything “the one right way.” But a faith that isolates you from family and friends will be a very lonely path.

spiritual leader or congregation should earn loyalty, not demand it. Beware of any faith that imposes severe penalties for rule infractions.

The Emperor: Yes or No

“Yes! Keep your commitments, and you will succeed.”

The Emperor is a sign of authority and power. If you take responsibility for your goals, you can achieve much.

The Emperor: Yes or No

“Yes! Keep your commitments, and you will succeed.”

The Emperor is a sign of authority and power. If you take responsibility for your goals, you can achieve much.

The Emperor and Astrology

When you add Astrology to a Tarot reading, you get another layer of significance. In astrology, symbols for the Emperor card are the planet Mars and the sign Aries.

  • Mars – Mars is a traditional god of War. This planet represents assertiveness, courage, and finishing what you’ve started. Mars doesn’t wait around for good things to come. Mars goes in pursuit of a goal and doesn’t stop until it’s reached.
  • Aries – This sign is also named for a traditional God of war. It’s the cardinal fire sign, so initiative and action are the name of the game. The Emperor expands his realm by taking decisive action.

So, the power and strategy of the Emperor relies on bravery and action. Your world grows when you set your sites on ever greater goals.

The Emperor Tarot Card and Numerology

Numerology is about the symbolism of numbers. The Emperor’s number in Tarot is 4.

In this example, The Emperor card vibrates the number Four.

In Tarot, Four represents a pause. The message is to take a break and integrate what’s happened so far. This is reflected in the Emperor’s card by the fact that he waits to act until he has all the needed resources.

Remember the growth and command you seek. It takes grit and determination.

This delay is only temporary. Trust your guides and stay on the path.

The Emperor as a Daily Card

In a daily Tarot draw, the Emperor card points to a day of being in charge and making responsible decisions.

Approach your day knowing what you’re working to build. If you don’t have a plan of action, now is the time to draw one up.

This day may give you reasons to reflect on what you can and cannot control. Valuable information that will help in making hard choices.

How to use The Emperor in a Reading?

To use this card in a reading, you have to keep in mind that it wants you to take charge and actively pursue your goals.

As a Major Arcana card, The Emperor’s influence is stronger than a regular suit card. And whatever other cards turn up with it, it broadcasts a message of domination and expansion!

Here are some themes to pay attention to:

  • Command – The Emperor’s job is to be in charge, and he doesn’t take many days off. The demands of his domain grow as it expands, and his word is the law in all the land.
  • Decision-making – The choices the Emperor makes aren’t always easy or popular. He makes them in the interest of the security and integrity of his domain.
  • Practicality – This figure denotes responsibility. He does what works, never forgetting his commitment to the well-being of his subjects.

Notice how these themes relate to your life at the time of this reading. Your intuition will tell you what or whom this card reminds you of.

How to use The Emperor in a Love Reading?

In love, The Emperor indicates a traditional approach to romance. Conventional expectations around roles and the division of labor are respected here.

If you’re looking for love, the Emperor’s message is that you may find a serious and ambitious partner. This person brings stability and a strong sense of what’s right to your bond.

It helps to look at the card’s position in your spread. For example, the Emperor could land in a position called “the future.” In that case, the command and commitment of this card are things that have yet to arrive.

How to use The Emperor in a Career Reading?

The Emperor in a career spread is about showing leadership. You have an opportunity to establish a sense of order that brings success.

Creating an organized structure and good prioritization are part of the plan. Break down the larger goal into smaller, more easily achieved objectives.

Remember that it’s your career and future. So, the responsibility lies with you to lead your team and stay on course toward your objectives.

For any reading, it’s important to ask specific questionsKeep your job prospects in mind while you shuffle or mix the cards. Take a grounding breath. Trust what comes immediately to mind when you turn the card over.

How to use The Emperor in a Health Reading?

In a health reading, The Emperor signals taking charge of your well-being. By prioritizing good habits and sticking to a routine, you can see positive results.

It promises that if you don’t feel well now, you will get there by creating a plan and sticking to it. When in doubt, seek professional support to set clear objectives and reach them

The guidance for using it in a health reading is the same as any other reading. Compare and blend the story of this card with that of the others. The Emperor card says you’re the boss when it comes to your health. No one else can do it for you.

Also, notice what the other cards have to say about that.

The Emperor in Relation to Other Cards

The Emperor card gives an energy of authority and leadership. Now is the time to take charge of your life! But, just how will you do that? The answer may lie in the cards that surround it.

Here are some tips for comparing The Emperor with other cards:

  • Paired with Positive Cards: When positive cards surround the Emperor card, it points to structure and authority. When things are going well, we feel secure, knowing our life unfolds according to plan.
  • Balanced with Negative Cards: If The Emperor card appears with challenging cards, there is a lesson in the struggle. By taking command of your situation, you can pull yourself out of a bad situation.
  • In the Company of Other Major Arcana Cards: Other Major Arcana cards sitting near The Emperor card enhance the power of this card. They add more dimension to the story, giving you clues to the path ahead.

The Emperor card is an important part of the overall story a reading tells. The key to a good reading is to blend its message with the messages of the other cards in the spread.

Complementary Cards

Some cards support the Emperor. They do this by spelling out a similar story or adding depth and dimension to the tale of guidance and tradition. When it shows up with complementary cards, the reasons become more clear.

Here are some cards that complement the Emperor card:

  • The Chariot – The Chariot and the Emperor have determination in common. Together, they signal driving toward your goals with clarity and confidence.
  • Justice – Justice and the Emperor have authority and the law in common. Together, they guide you to rule with balance and responsibility.
  • The Hierophant – The Hierophant and the Emperor have tradition and guidance in common. Together, they point to the established rules and norms that are the mark of good leadership. 

Contrasting Cards

Some cards contrast with the energy of the Emporer, signaling a loss of influence or losing control. These contrasting cards are a wake-up call when you’ve lost touch with your authority.

Here are some examples of cards that contrast with the energy of the Emperor card:

  • The Tower – The Emperor provides structure and order. The Tower indicates that order is falling to pieces. Together, they encourage you to focus on your objectives. Be ready to make changes when necessary.
  • The Fool – The Emperor provides a plan and leadership. The Fool is on an unplanned adventure. Together, they remind you to take your journey seriously. Seek guidance when you’re unclear on your goals.
  • The Hanged Man – The Emperor offers assertiveness and is self-assured. The Hanged Man points to a more passive approach. Together, their message invites a balance between force and allowing things to take their course.


And so we come to the end of our discussion on Emperor. It’s a message to take charge of your circumstancesAuthority and structure come about through determination and organization.

With these themes in your life, you can expect to have power and security in your realm. The organization you establish will serve you well.


What does the Emperor tarot card symbolize?

The Emperor represents authority, leadership, and structure. It signifies a strong and disciplined individual who takes control and makes decisions with confidence.

What does it mean when the Emperor card appears in a tarot reading?

When the Emperor card appears, it suggests that you need to take charge of your life and establish order. It advises you to be assertive and use your power wisely.

How does the Emperor card relate to career and work?

The Emperor card indicates success and advancement in your career. It signifies a time of stability, organization, and taking on leadership roles within your professional life.

What does the reversed Emperor card signify?

The reversed Emperor card suggests a lack of control or an abuse of power. It warns against being too controlling or rigid, and advises finding a balance between authority and flexibility.

How does the Emperor card relate to relationships?

In relationships, the Emperor card represents a need for structure and stability. It advises setting boundaries and taking responsibility for your actions to maintain a healthy and balanced partnership.

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