The Emperor Tarot Card Meanings


Tarot card - The EmperorThe Emperor Says: “I Am Empowered”

Embrace your authority and leadership qualities and strive ahead! That’s the message you are receiving from The Emperor. He embodies the archetype of the Divine Masculine in the Major Arcana, and is the counterpart to The Empress.

Much like a father figure, he represents structure and control. This tarot card reminds you that you have the power and mastery needed to achieve your goals in the physical world. Structure and discipline will serve you well right now, so move ahead confidently and don’t give up!

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    The Emperor Tarot Card Explained

    The Emperor uses power and organization to accomplish his goals. He is wise and powerful in his ways, and in the upright, can act as a protector. This card in your reading can represent your current energy, or can also represent a boss, father figure, spouse, or system of authority that is prominent in your life.

    When he appears in the reverse, The Emperor is tyrannical. He is overly rigid, lacks empathy, and won’t think twice about using force to get what he wants, even at the expense of others. The energies of this Major Arcana card are a powerful influence for good or for bad.

    The Emperor Tarot Card in Your Past

    You grew up in a home that was very stable and structured, or perhaps you are recently coming from such a relationship. With The Emperor in the upright position, your home environment was organized and rules were clearly laid out, which created a sense of stability and security for you.

    The Emperor in Reverse in the Past

    If your childhood was influenced by The Emperor in reverse, things probably looked a lot different! You likely had a domineering and controlling energy in your home, and rules were enforced by force or the threat of force. Rigidity and schedules were an underlying theme.

    Alternatively, The Emperor in reverse in the past position could indicate that you did not exercise enough discipline in your own life, and lacked the structure and organization you needed to gain mastery over your life.

    The Emperor Tarot Card in Your Present

    It looks like your life is pretty well under control and you have found a way to create an organized and structured environment for yourself. Whether it’s your home life, your community or your workplace, the rules are predictable and life is relatively stable. There may be an authority figure in your life who is guiding you. In the upright position, The Emperor reminds you that authority is on your side.

    The Emperor in Reverse in the Present

    Be careful of someone who might be wanting to take over in your life, at home, at work, or in your social circles. When The Emperor shows up in the reverse, it puts you on notice to stand your ground and hold your boundaries firm. Don’t allow yourself to be swayed or walked all over by anyone, especially those in positions of power!

    Alternatively, this Major Arcana card could represent your energy, in which case you might need to self-reflect to see if you have become too overbearing or controlling with others in your life.

    The Emperor Tarot Card in the Future

    Brace yourself for a big change! You’re going to have to adapt to a new set of rules and regulations in the near future that could throw you for a loop. But if you face these challenges boldly, this new system will provide you with extra security and you’ll wind up feeling like you have more control over your life.

    The Emperor in Reverse in the Future 

    The Emperor in the reverse is never pleasant, and if he’s turning up in your near future, you’re headed for some conflict and confrontations. You are likely to find yourself in a struggle with someone in a position of authority. Or you might have to deal with a bad boss, lots of bureaucracy, or someone who is lacking focus. Whether The Emperor expresses in excess or lack, always look to regain balance.

    The Emperor Tarot Card in Love and Romance

    The Emperor isn’t the most romantic of cards to get in a love reading, but he does bring a sense of stability and common sense. It’s a relationship led more by the mind than the heart, so romance won’t be at the top of the agenda. However, The Emperor is long term and traditional.

    The Reversed Emperor in Romance

    You might be in for some power struggles in your romantic life. The Emperor in reverse is stubborn and rigid and can lack empathy. If you’re in a new relationship, be careful that it doesn’t develop into something that is domineering and controlling. This archetype can symbolize a person that is driven by their ego who tends to bully others.

    The Emperor Tarot Card and Your Career 

    Your career is pushing ahead at full steam. Efficiency is high and productivity is streamlined. The Emperor’s organization and discipline make the workplace run like a well-oiled machine. If your workplace has felt a bit chaotic, then utilize the strategies of The Emperor to improve collaboration with teammates and to get projects back on track! You might also find good advice and guidance from your superiors. If you have a boss who is mentoring you, take advantage of the opportunity.

    The Reversed Emperor in Career

    In the reverse, The Emperor’s qualities are either lacking or on overkill. Either you need to step up your strategic game by employing discipline and strategic planning. However, if you feel like you’re stuck in a rigid bureaucracy, try exploring more efficient ways of reaching your objectives. If you have a tyrant for a boss, The Emperor tarot card is advising you to start looking elsewhere.

    The Emperor Tarot Card and Your Friends

    It’s not the best time for big social adventures. The Emperor is a solitary and serious figure who prefers to stick to a schedule and work on projects. Take this time to get your ducks in a row and wait for the energies to shift so something a bit more carefree and celebratory!

    The Reversed Emperor and Friends

    Are you noticing that one of your friends is taking up all of the oxygen in the room? Or is someone always having to be in charge without regard to what others want? The Emperor in reverse is stubborn and dominating, so it’s not the best energy to have in your social circles.

    The Emperor Tarot Card and Your Money

    Your money situation is likely to be stable with The Emperor appearing in your spread. Organize your finances, budget, and plan as The Emperor does, and you will have a reliable and predictable money flow. If this tarot card is presenting in the reverse, then you will need to be careful to embody the responsible and structured nature of this archetype. Think ahead, make financial plans, and stick to them.

    The Reversed Emperor and Money

    Your financial situation is making you feel out of control right now. Are you lacking structure and discipline in your financial planning right now? Is stubbornness and rigidity preventing you from adapting to changes in your financial situation? Temper the negative energies of The Emperor in reverse and support the positive ones. Exchange force and control for discipline and leadership, and your financial situation will improve.

    The Emperor Tarot Card and Your Health 

    Stick to the tried and true when it comes to your health at this time. The Emperor represents traditional medicine and a conservative approach to your wellbeing. You shouldn’t have any surprises or sudden changes for the near future. This Major Arcana card brings stability and structure to all areas of your life.

    The Reversed Emperor in Health

    Are you stubbornly pursuing a lifestyle even though the results are not positive? Or are you pushing yourself so hard in terms of exercise and diet that you are actually hurting yourself? Try to balance the energies of The Emperor in reverse with the sensitivity and intuition of The Empress. Listen to your body, not just your will.

    The Emperor Tarot Card and Your Spiritual Journey

    Wisdom and tradition are backing you in your spiritual journey at this time. The Emperor is the wise father, the experienced leader, and when it comes to spiritual practice this tarot card indicates staying on your current path.

    The Emperor in Reverse and Spirituality

    True spiritual ascension involves balancing our divine masculine and divine feminine energies. We need both structure and surrender. The Emperor in reverse indicates masculine energy that is out of balance and has become destructive to your spiritual journey. Strive to add the lessons of The High Priestess to your spiritual practice.

    The Symbology of The Emperor Tarot Card

    The Emperor is the archetype of the Divine Masculine in his benevolent presentation. This typically masculine card indicates that leadership, authority, ambition, and structure are playing an important role in your life. Reversed, this tarot card indicates that there is either too much control which is leading to domination and power plays, or a lack of his strengths altogether. Every person, whether male or female, embodies all of the archetypes of the Major Arcana throughout their lifetime. The journey for us is to strive to bring these energies into harmonious balance.

    Keywords for The Emperor Tarot Card

      • Power
      • Control
      • Structure
      • Authority


    The Emperor Card Associations


    Element: Fire

    Astrology: Aries

    As a Yes or No question:  Yes

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    Article Info

    Date: Jan 11, 2015
    Amelie Rose Estrela is a gifted psychic and lead author for tarot-explained. She has written many articles on a variety of topics within the spirituality niche, including Psychics & Mediums, Tarot & Angel Readings, Love & Relationships, Spells & Magic and Astrology & Horoscopes (the topic of her e-book).