“The Emperor” Tarot Cards Meanings

The Emperor Tarot Card Meaning: Love, Money, Health & More

Following on from his consort and partner, the Empress, the Emperor is the part of our journey in life that encounters the concept of “Father” or “Authority”. He is the counterbalance to the Empress and is hard where she is soft, strict where she is lenient and riding where she is giving. Its important to remember that not all “Fathers” or father figures are like this – Tarot Cards simply illuminate the most stereotypical energies, so that the understanding is easy to grasp.

The Emperor, for many people, is experienced as a loving, protective and strong figure too. He is the warrior, the one who defends his household!

Symbolism of The Emperor Card

This is the kind of Tarot Card that commands attention! Your instantly draw to the Emperor’s form sitting on his stone throne. He has red robes on, a colour which represents power and authority. Beneath his red cloak he has armour on, which shows how ready he is to defend his family and homeland. He is a man of great authority, whether at home or at work – the symbolic battlefield.

His white beard shows that he has wisdom to share with us, and that he is knowledgeable. The Emperor is a man who knows and enforce the rules, and may sometimes be seen as rigid harsh or strict, bit also protective and strong.

His iron throne alludes to this strong energy he carries, and reminds us not to pick a fight with him, as we will lose! The rams ion his throne show the astrology sign that rules this Tarot Card, which is Aries – the sign of the leader and warrior.

Behind him lies mountains, which indicate that he has faced many hardships and he may himself represent obstacles or difficulties in your own life, and rules which you have to follow in order to achieve his wisdom and power.

His staff and crown, of course, show he is a King and his right to rulership.

General Meaning of The Emperor Card

There are two sides to this card in a Tarot Reading – on one side, he is all about the rules, traditional, rigidity ad even harshness when enforcing these rules. People can experience the Emperor energy as strict and bossy, domaining and forceful. However, this is only reflection of how you may have experienced the masculine energy in your own life. Maybe your own father was rigid or harsh in some way?

The other side to the Emperor, perhaps reflecting a more easeful relationship with the masculine or father energy in your life, is the protective, caring side, the side that creates the rules to help you rather than harm you. The man that will defend you until your last breath and climb every mountain for you.

When this card appears, we may be experiencing one side of the Emperor through a man in our lives – our boss, father, partner or someone else. We ourselves may be embodying these energies, and are in need of creating better boundaries in our lives, are in need of taking a masculine role more actively.

Meaning of The Emperor Card in The Past

When you get the Emperor card in the past position, you may have recently experienced a person or time in your life where there were big challenges, restrictions or harshness in your life. This has (hopefully) helped you to take a more empowering role in your life, to stand up for yourself and take control.

The rigidity of the past is now behind you, and the dominating effects of a person or circumstance is a thing of the past. You may feel more able to move now, a little freer, though you may also have benefited from someone or something that took a very protective, caring role and helped you to get where you were. You may have been that person!

Meaning of The Emperor Card in The Present

Right now, either you or someone – or something – is adopting a very fatherly role in your life, be it a boss, actual father or someone else. This can be experienced both positively or negatively, depending on how well you respond to authority and guidance, versus feeling dominated and controlled. It’s an important time to look at your relationship to the masculine and perhaps do some healing there.

This time in your life is asks you to follow the rules and regulations, to empower yourself through these rules, or to structure your life better. You may need to step into a more masculine role, too. Perhaps someone needs your guidance and wisdom right now?

Meaning of The Emperor Card in The Future

In the future position of a three-card tarot spread, the Emperor represents a period of time where you’ll either embody or encounter someone very strong willed, in control, dominating and structured/rigid, or even harsh. This could come at a time where you need those energies in your life, where you need some sort of boundary in order to accomplish your goals. You may react defensively, or you may feel careful depending in your own relationship to authority.

You may get a promotion, become a father or step into a more authoritative role in your life or workplace. Soon you could encounter someone solid and stable, or be that solid, stable “rock” for someone else.

Meaning of The Emperor Card in Relationships

This card in a relationship questions asks you to bring some sort of greater commitment and stability to your relationship. Perhaps you have been just casually seeing each other, but now is the time to set down some rules and boundaries so that you know where you stand. This can be very positive if both of you are willing to take that next step, whatever it may be!

Some of you may experience this card as a partner how is harsh, riding and controlling. Perhaps someone like you own father or reminds you of a similar male figure in your past. If that is the case it’s important to stand up and assert yourself, and let them know you won’t be bossed around, However, do be careful that they are not simply trying to do the best that they can for you, perhaps out of a sense of protectiveness and care. Look carefully before you kick back, and realise that there could be better intentions under the surface!

Finally, you may be the person who is being dominating and pushy in a relationship – are you trying to take too much control? Alternatively, maybe it’s time for you to take the lead and set boundaries.

Meaning of The Emperor Card in Career

This is one the best cards to get in a career position of a Tarot Reading. It can signify a period where you’re getting promoted or leading a team. You’re the one that could be put in charge now, and given the “crown and staff”, based on your wise decisions and stable commitment.

However, this may also represent an authority such as a boss, client or supplier, that is harsh, rigid and controlling. This may be very difficult for you to work under, and you’ll have to find ways of sharing power rather than being walked all over. Try and see if this person is a “worthy leader’ before you judge them though. It may just be that you have a problem with authority.

Meaning of The Emperor Card Reversed

When you get the Empower reversed, it can talk about a time of life where you have abandoned the rules, structures and the traditions in favour of chaos. However, this is not working of you, as you need a bit if structure and stability in order to flourish. Where can you create manageable and reasonable boundaries and structures in your own life? Do you have too little or too much responsibility? Try and find the balance now.

You may also have problems with a male energy in your life, a boss or father, or even a partner, where you don’t feel protected or cared for. You may simply feel controlled, so take a moment to reflect where changes need to happen.

Summary of The Emperor Card

This card has two faces for most – some experience it as harsh, rigid controlling, whilst others experience the Emperor card as protective, kind, and responsible. This will help you explore your own relationship with masculine forces in your life, past and present, and assist you to develop a healthier relationship with these energies. Males in your life take greater importance enough, whether boss, partner or family.

You yourself may take on the qualities of the Emperor, and go through a period of greater restriction and responsibility, which is not a bad thing in your life. This is a time for greater commitment and stability, for order and for rules rather than for chaos. You may step into a position of power and have to learn to use it very wisely indeed! This is a time to be structured and planned rather than creative and flowing.


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