Tarot Card Meaning: The Emperor
His majesty sits on a stone throne in golden mountains, as the sky turns red, as if the world is on fire. Carved into his thrown are ram’s heads. The Emperor wears a crown of gold and jewels that look almost like a helmet. He has a long, white beard that flows down to his red robes.
He wears armor underneath on his bottom half and blue clothing on the upper half, though slightly hidden. The scepter in his right hand, the path of righteousness, is gold and looks like an ankh, the symbol of life. In his left hand, the path of the profane, he holds a gold orb.
The emperor represents masculine energy. He is old, wise, and determined. His world is one of passion, energy, and moving forward. He achieves. Though he is still intuitive and spiritual, as shown by his hidden clothing, he is tough and ready to fight, as indicated by his armor. His world is not one of fruitfulness. His world is barren, but it is his, and he protects it.
The Emperor card signifies where the client or querent is strong, stern, and decisive. A king becomes and emperor when he has an empire, which he gets when he conquers other lands. This card shows conquest of something or someone. However, it isn’t a love-em-and-leave-em card. Here, The Emperor takes and takes care of what it acquires.
Likewise, this is where the querent earns or achieves something and continues to foster it. It’s where the querent may be a leader, the breadwinner, or the wise counsel. They may be the patriarchs, or the eldest and wisest among some group they’re part of.
The Emperor imposes order where there was none before. This card shows where the querent puts things in order and maintains their focus, keeping their eye on the prize. It can thus indicate where the querent is competitive for material gain.
It can also show men or authority figures in the querent’s life that either support the querent or somehow dominate the querent. Since The Emperor has all the gold (and power), the querent may be jealous and want to get it all back.
When reversed, The Emperor shows his dark side. When this card shows up reversed in a reading, it can indicate an area of life in which the querent is a tin-pot tyrant, a person who acquires power and abuses it.
Because the card is reversed, the querent may act as if they have much more power than they truly do. They lack security in their ability to lead, and resort to power plays.
It may also show where the querent cowers and gives up control.
The Emperor leads by example, but when reversed it, it’s a hypocrite. The querent may lack self-discipline but expect others to have it. They may lack respect, but expect others to show it respect. This card reversed may show where they’re a hypocrite and a bad role model for others.