Upright: Authority, father-figure, structure, solid foundation
Reversed: Domination, excessive control, rigidity, inflexibility

The Emperor is the complement to the Empress. He is the Masculine Principle, the Animus and the Patriarch. He represents power and authority, and his stern attitude is quite a departure from the sensual beauty of the Empress. The Emperor has a long, white beard, a symbol of his experience. As an archetype, it is common to see masculine figures of authority or father figures with long white beards. It suggests that this man has acquired years of wisdom and experience and he is worthy of listening to because he has seen first-hand the consequences of his actions.
Behind his throne are barren mountains and the throne itself is decorated with four rams’ heads, representing intellectual heights, determination, action, initiative and leadership. The ram is also a symbol of Aries, the astral ruler of the Emperor. In his right hand, the Emperor holds an Ankh, the Egyptian symbol of Life, and in his left is an orb representing the world over which he rules. The orange background and the Emperor’s red clothing symbolise his passion and energy for life and the challenges it offers.

The Emperor is the father figure of the Tarot deck. He is the ‘provider’ and protects and defends his loved ones. He has established a solid family line and is often seen as the patriarch of a wide network of family members. He offers guidance, advice and wisdom to others and in doing so, demonstrates authority and grounding. His wisdom is obtained through worldly, life experience. He has ‘been there, done that’, and has the battle armour to prove it. He takes what he has learned, and passes it on to the next generation, so someday they can be as wise and powerful as he is. He brings security and comfort to those around him.
The Emperor is also representative of structure and stability. He is able to create order out of chaos by carefully categorising his thoughts and mapping out what needs to be done to solve the problem. He is a systematic and strategic thinker and is highly organised and coordinated in his approach. He sticks to a plan and ensures he sees it out until the end. Thus, this card indicates that you have a strong desire to see your ideas manifested on the physical plane in the form of material gain or accomplishment. An opportunity will arrive that could be the foundation of a very successful future.
The Emperor reflects rules and regulations. He establishes law and order by applying principles or guidelines to a specific situation. He likes to operate within a defined structure with set boundaries. He respects routine and follows a specific regimen or discipline.
Domination of the mind over the heart is sometimes unwanted or best avoided but with the Emperor, it is necessary and even welcomed. If you are facing difficult choices, you must maintain your concentration and focus. Enjoy the assertiveness and confidence that this self-control and focus brings. Push ahead and do what you know is best. Know that if you can master yourself then you should have little problem mastering the world and everything in it.
The Emperor is a powerful leader who demands authority and dominance. He is most comfortable in a leadership role where he can command and direct others. He likes to be in a position of strength, where he can exert control and bring a sense of organisation to his activities. He often represents a solid establishment that is built on strong foundations. As a leader, he rules with a firm but fair hand. He will listen to the advice of others but he will always have the final say. He is not afraid of war and/or conflict and he will not hesitate to use his force and power to protect those he cares about. The privileged few whom he favours always repay him with the loyalty and respect he deserves.
The Emperor heralds status, success and recognition. You will have an earnest desire to be recognised as a strong figure of unquestioned achievement and authority. You will want to be known as the dominant force, the leader and the ‘expert’. Focus your attention completely on your goal and be very careful not to reveal any weaknesses or personal doubt.
If you come across the Emperor in your own life, then you will need to be ready to impress! The Emperor administers and governs the area you wish to enter. You cannot achieve your dreams and goals without this person’s blessing. With the Emperor’s support, you will have a much better chance of actualising your dream and you can begin to benefit from the established structure he has formed.
Sometimes, the Emperor can represent the power of the government or a decision-making body. Within yourself, there is also a force that governs your actions. These forces are will power and self-control. You may have discussions concerning contractual agreements, profit sharing, subsidies or management.

Reversed, the Emperor can suggest that there is an over-use and abuse of authoritative power surrounding you at this time. He can be incredibly domineering and rigid in his thinking. It could be originating from you or from another person, often a boss, partner or a father-figure. There may be an insecure man throwing his weight around who has a need for control.
You may feel powerless when the Emperor reversed appears in a reading. Dealing with authority is fraught with difficulties at this time and whether this manifests as a dominant partner, problems with your father or battles with officials, you do not seem to be making any headway. Paradoxically, freedom lies within such structures now. This is not the time to rebel, instead try to get in touch with your own need to control events and deal with any problems logically.
Sometimes, the reversed Emperor asks you to stand up to authority and to know that you do not always have to go about matters in the most traditional way. You may be fed up with an over-bearing boss or a hierarchical organisation and you will be compelled to enter a more flexible and adaptive environment. You may also be inspired to work independently, perhaps even starting up your own business in order to be free of corporate life and oppressive bosses!
If the reversed Emperor comes up in a career reading, you may be at a point now where you want to avoid having to deal with this type of person and you are now ready to embrace something new. You may also be seeking a career where you can have greater flexibility and creativity in how you complete your work. You are sick of having to always work within the confines of a particular structure or way of doing things and you want to break free of this.
As a career aspiration, the Emperor reversed indicates that you are trying to avoid the energies of the Emperor in your future career direction. You may find that having to take an authoritarian role every day just does not sit well with you anymore. You want to free yourself from the routine and the structures that have permeated your life and held you back. You want to provide yourself with greater freedom to explore your creativity, rather than getting bogged down in the detail and the routine.
On a personal level, the reversed Emperor can indicate that you lack self-control, ambition and the ability to deal with any kind of authority. In fact, you probably show contempt for any kind of order. However, you may need to bring more structure into your life at this time. Things may have gotten quite chaotic recently and now it is time to bring about order once again.
In a relationship reading, the reversed Emperor suggests that you may be in an unequal relationship and this is making you unhappy in the long-term. Your partner has become over-bearing, possessive, dominating and authoritative. While you may have been looking for a partner to take care of you and provide a stable foundation for the future, it has gone too far now and you feel as though much of your independence and freedom have been taken away. Your partner has become stubborn, rules-based, argumentative and highly structured. This is putting strain on the relationship and preventing a creative flow of energies to flow between you. He/she feels benevolently toward you but has inflexible expectations of you.



The Emperor Tarot Card Key Meanings:
Older man, stability, dependability, fatherhood, father-figure, structure, protectiveness, authority, logical, practical

General meaning and interpretation
As a person, The Emperor represents an older man who is good in business and usually wealthy. The Emperor is a solid, stable man. He is a powerful, grounded protector but he also can be rigid and stubborn. This can be a father or father-figure type or an older man you are romantically involved with. The Emperor is a hard task master and has little time for fun and frivolity. Children of The Emperor can struggle with father issues as falling short of his high expectations can affect their self-esteem. If The Emperor Tarot card appears in a past position, this Major Arcana card can indicate that the father figure in your life was authoritarian and that, while he had your best interests at heart, he may have struggled to show affection. If it appears in the present or future it’s a much better omen as it indicates a wise older man who will give you solid advice which, if you follow it, will lead you in the right direction. Generally, if not representing a person in your life, The Emperor signifies the dominance of logic over emotion and of the mind over the heart. It signifies that concentration, structure, stability and focus is required if you want to make your ideas and dreams a reality. The Emperor upright can represent fatherhood.

The Emperor in a health context can mean that you may be being too hard on yourself. Reduce or eliminate activities that are too harsh on your body, avoid punishing exercise regimes and be kind to yourself. Work with your energy levels not against them. If you are having health issues, be logical in your approach to treating them. The “suck it up and get on with it” approach will not serve you well this time. If you need to rest, rest! If you’re ill, seek medical treatment and listen to your doctor’s advice.

Love & Relationships
If you are single and interested in men, The Emperor in a love Tarot context can indicate a romantic relationship with an older man. He will like structure, order, logic and routine. He will be a good influence on you but romance is not his strong point. He is however practical, dependable and protective. If you are single and interested in women, The Emperor Tarot is a sign that you need to be more open with your feelings. If you have feelings for someone in particular you need to bite the bullet and tell her. Don’t expect her to guess! For those already in relationships, The Emperor is a good omen of monogamy and a long lasting relationship. If you have been experiencing relationship problems they begin to improve and stability will return to the relationship.

Money & Career
The Emperor in a career context indicates that your hard work will be noticed and you will reap the rewards of status and success. Concentration, focus and perseverance will get you where you want to go. If you are looking for work you will need to be persistent and logical in your job search. Good opportunities are coming that will bring structure and stability to your career. Again, it can be a sign that an older male colleague or boss will provide guidance and support to you. Financially, The Emperor is a sign that you need to be responsible and practical with your finances. You need to keep reasonable control of your spending and be aware of where your money is going. At the same time, you don’t need be a tyrant when it comes to controlling spending.

The Emperor Tarot in a spirituality context can indicate that you are neglecting the spiritual part of yourself for the more physical/material side. Make time for spiritual pursuits and try not to let the logical rational part of your mind take over and stop you from exploring your sensitive side. If you are currently engaged in spiritual pursuits, The Emperor can be a sign that you need to ground and protect yourself.
The Emperor Reversed Tarot Card Key Meanings:
Abuse of power, excessively controlling, rigidity, stubbornness, lack of discipline, lack of control, absentee father, paternity issues

General meaning and interpretation
The Emperor in reverse as a person signifies an older man or person in authority in your life who may be abusing his power or being too authoritarian leaving you feeling powerless or rebellious. This person may actually be trying to give you solid guidance but the message is lost due to their domineering behaviour. The best way to handle this person is to remain calm and logical. Take the advice that works for you and throw the rest away. Don’t be afraid to stand up to authority but do so in a practical and logical manner which will get you the results you want. The Emperor reversed can also indicate a father figure who let you down or abandoned you. If not representing a person in your life, The Emperor Tarot reversed can indicate that you are letting your heart overrule your head too much and need to balance your mind with your emotions. This Major Arcana card shows that you may be lacking self-control and need to get more structure in your life. The Emperor reversed can represent paternity issues or questions over paternity.

In a health context, The Emperor reversed indicates that you may be being too rigid with your routine and causing yourself undue stress. This may be manifesting in physical symptoms like headaches or poor sleeping patterns. Pushing your body too far can also cause injuries. Don’t be afraid to loosen up the routine and give yourself time to relax. Alternately, if you have not been taking care of your health, The Emperor reversed can show you need to increase yourself discipline to bring yourself back to good health.

Love & Relationships
If you are in a relationship, The Emperor Tarot card reversed in a love Tarot reading can indicate an imbalance of power in the relationship which is causing conflict or unhappiness. It can signify one partner controlling the other, being possessive, stubborn or overbearing. This type of behaviour will lead to the other partner feeling trapped. The Emperor reversed shows that there needs to be balance between wanting structure in a relationship and being a control freak. Learn to compromise! If you are single, The Emperor reversed can indicate that your father issues are leading to destructive patterns in your choice of partners. You need to resolve these issues to avoid attracting those who would seek to take advantage of you. It can also indicate a lack of commitment, flitting from one partner to another and a lack of monogamy, in essence rebelling again what The Emperor represents.

Money & Career
In a career contact, The Emperor reversed shows a lack of consistency, focus and organisation leading to problems at work. If you are finding the restrictions work imposes on you are really starting to bother you, it may be time for a change. Perhaps there is another job in your chosen field that would give you greater freedom. Perhaps you are tired of following orders and want to be your own boss. These are options to consider. Financially speaking, you may be lacking control of your finances if The Emperor Tarot card appears in the reversed position. Consider getting the help of a professional.

When The Emperor appears reversed in relation to spirituality, it can indicate wanting to explore alternative spiritual paths. While it is good to allow yourself to explore these paths, it is important that if you come into contact with new spiritual advisors, you still remember to still think for yourself and only take in what works for you.