The Emperor Tarot Card Meaning



Authority, establishment, a dominating male, masculine, wise, father, practical, controlling, male from a patriarchal society, experienced and powerful


Excessively controlling, abuse of power, domination, lack of discipline, inflexibility, an abusive male from a patriarchal society, selfish, quick-tempered, daredevil

  • Name of the Card: The Emperor
  • Number: 4
  • Other Names: The King
  • Element: Fire
  • Kabbalistic Letter: He’
  • Meaning of the Kabbalistic Letter: Window
  • Sign: Aries
  • Yes/No key interpretations: Yes
  • Animals: Ram, Owl
  • Stone: Ruby

The Emperor is the 4th trump or the 4th card in major arcana. 4 is the number of structure and stability.

The Imagery of the Emperor Tarot Card

The emperor is sitting on a throne that is made out of stone. This represents his authority and past experiences. He is holding a scepter in his hand with a symbol of “ankh” on it; ankh is the Egyptian symbol of life. There is a globe in his left hand that shows his power and domination. He is wearing armor underneath his clothes, which shows that he is keeping himself protected. The red color of his clothes represents passion as well as anger. He is wearing a crown on his head that shows material success and authority. There are 4 ram heads carved in his throne. Ram symbolizes Aries which is the ruling sign of the emperor tarot card, a masculine sign, ruled by Mars. He has a white beard that represents his mature age, experience, and wisdom.  This card shows some water in the background. Water represents his emotions but they are hidden and very balanced.

Astrology and the Emperor

The Emperor tarot card corresponds to Aries, the fiery sign of passion, adventure, and energy. Aries is ruled by Mars, which is the planet of war, ego, aggression, conflict, and vigor. The Aries makes the Emperor pioneering, courageous, enthusiastic, confident, quick-witted, and dynamic. Aries is a sign of strong leadership.

The Emperor and Kabbalah

In Kabbalah the path of the Emperor is called He’ or heh that means window. This path connects Chokmah (wisdom) with Tipahreth (Beauty). The color of the path is scarlet. The Sefirot Chokmah has the yang qualities in the pillar of mercy on the Tree of life.

The Emperor as a Person

To me, The Emperor is such a person who likes to be the in-charge. If you have witnessed the male father figure from a patriarchal society, you can easily identify the emperor card with him. He is someone strong-willed and experienced, someone, who is not used to listening to ‘no’ on his orders or suggestions. This card represents a person who likes to be in control. An emperor is like the people who believe that they are always right and who do not care much about the fine things and fine emotions. Who are headstrong and very masculine in the typical sense. He is someone who brings security in the life of others but who is also very firm and severe. The Emperor is someone who leads with the head and not with the heart.

In a General Reading

As per my experience, in general reading, the emperor card mostly represents a person, mostly a male who is an authority figure. He can be a husband, father or boss of some organization. If this card appears as an advice card then you may need to bring more structure to your life and need to take some concrete action.

The Emperor Tarot Card in a Daily reading

Today is a day to take lead and bring structure and stability to your surroundings. A day to care for others and to protect them, guard them and also guide them. Make strategy today and bring the things to perfect order.


The Emperor Tarot Card in a Love Reading

In a love reading, it may suggest some established structures and norms will be followed in the relationship. It may indicate someone who is authoritative and rigid. Having an old and matured companion is also possible when this card appears.


The Emperor Tarot Card in a Career Reading

If the Emperor card appears in a career reading, it advises you not to reveal a weakness to others. It can indicate that you are involved with an established order or some authority figure at your work. It can also mean that you should take charge and work with more vigor and vitality.

The Emperor Tarot Card in a Health Reading

The Emperor is someone who can endure a lot. He doesn’t show his wounds to others so they stay strong. In a health Tarot reading, it may show that you need to take your illness more seriously and need to take care of yourself.

The Emperor Reversed Tarot Card Meaning

The Reversed Emperor is such a person who is selfish, quick-tempered, impulsive, and impatient and kind of a daredevil. In the reversed position, he will fall from his throne of authority. He will still make decisions but they will have a lack of discipline.  In the reversed position, the emperor gets very quick-tempered. It won’t take much to irritate them and cause an outburst of their anger. He becomes the abusive male from a patriarchal society who is selfish and doesn’t care about others at all.

It can indicate a demotion in the career tarot reading. It also shows conflicts with the boss or someone in power at the workplace.

In a love reading, the reverse Emperor card is not a good omen. It may indicate someone abusive, over-controlling and very authoritative. Staying away from such a person is advised.

In a health Tarot reading the meaning of The Emperor card could be that you are not taking care of your health the way you should be taking. You have a haphazard routine and have anger issues.

Compiled by katherine mongiello




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