The Emperor

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about The Emperor Tarot Archetype.

The Emperor Tarot Card Meaning

Part of the tarot archetypes, The Emperor is the fourth trump card in most traditional Tarot decks.

Checkout this detailed breakdown of the meaning of The Emperor tarot card.

Upright Meanings

The Emperor represents an older man, often wealthy and talented in business, who is a powerful protector for others.

He is defined by his solidness, stability, stubbornness and rigidity. He works hard and expects the same of others, with little truck for fun. His children often feel he sets high expectations which they do not meet, suffering with self-esteem problems as a result.

The card’s appearance in the present or future can indicate a wise older man who will act as a mentor, putting one on the right path.

The Emperor can also represent the power of logic over emotion and the mind over the heart. It warns that concentration, stability, focus and structure are needed to make dreams come true.

The Emperor can mean the recipient is neglecting the spiritual part of themself and needs to make more time for this aspect of life.

For single people interested in men the Emperor indicates a romantic relationship with an older man who will provide a good influence but little romance, instead proving practical, protective and reliable.

For single people interested in women it represents the need to be open about one’s feelings. For anyone in a relationship it signifies monogamy and stability.

In the case of those having relationship problems it means things will soon improve.

The Emperor indicates career success is imminent.

Hard work and perseverance will be rewarded. If you are searching for work don’t give up – good opportunities are on the horizon. An older male figure may provide guidance. Financially, be practical and responsible with money to keep control of your finances but don’t be too frugal.

​The Emperor can indicate a need to relax regarding your health, reducing activities which are too punishing on the body and being kinder to yourself.

Be logical in how health issues are treated, including making sure you get sufficient rest and seek medical advice which you then listen to.

Reversed Meanings

The Emperor reversed warns of an older man or authority figure abusing their power, causing the recipient to feel powerless or even rebellious. Stand up to authority if practical, using a logical manner in doing so, and this will get results.

If any of their advice is useful then take it, but don’t be afraid to ignore anything which is not. It can indicate the individual is listening to their heart over their head and needs to restore balance between mind and emotion.

The card can also represent paternity issues and questions.

In a relationship the card indicates a power imbalance bringing unhappiness or conflict, perhaps with one partner acting in a stubborn, controlling or possessive manner which makes the other feel trapped.

The card indicates the need for compromise and balance. For single people it indicates that problems with father-figures are leading to bad choices of parner which need to be resolved or the individual will continue to attract those who want to take advantage of them.

It can also indicate unfaithfulness, lack of commitment and constant changing of partners.

​The Emperor reversed represents lack of career focus and perhaps the need for a career change where work restrictions are causing problems. Consider changing career fields to something with more freedom.

Lack of control over finances may also mean professional help is needed.

​Health wise, the card may mean rigidity about health is causing too much stress which is manifesting in physical symptoms.

Prioritise relaxation where this is the case. Increase your discipline if, by contrast, you have been neglecting your health altogether.

The Emperor Keywords

  • Older man
  • Stability
  • Dependability
  • Fatherhood
  • Father-figure
  • Structure
  • Protectiveness
  • Authority
  • Logical
  • Practical
  • Abuse of power
  • Excessively controlling
  • Rigidity
  • Stubbornness
  • Lack of discipline
  • Lack of control
  • Absentee father
  • Paternity issues

Learn About the Other Tarot Card Archetypes

The Major Arcana is made up of 22 cards (or trumps). Explore the other tarot archetypes here:


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