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The Major Arcana

The Emperor Tarot Card Meaning

How can you create more structure for yourself?
How can you claim your space?
The Emperor asks you to KNOW YOUR WORTH. 

The Major Arcana: The Emperor Tarot Card Description

The first thing we see when looking at The Emperor tarot card is an old man sitting on a huge throne - he represent a father figure. As to why he’s sitting there with a stoic, almost annoyed look on his face, we have no idea. But judging by his facial expression – his brows slightly furrowed, lips pursed – we can tell that he’s been through a lot. Fun and games? I don’t think he’ll be all up on that. But try talking about serious stuff like business, leadership, power, success and maaaaaybe, he’ll give you a second of his time. Jk, he lives for those topics. But make it quick, because he’s one busy man.

One of his most striking features is his long, white beard and hair. It’s a tell-tale sign that he’s been here a while. He’s got experience, he’s got wisdom - he probably gives solid advice. Like sunrise on snow, we can see a golden crown on his head. He’s big on authority and the crown perfectly shows his personal power.

Clearly, The Emperor is wealthy. But tbh, aside from the ram head embroidered on his left shoulder, his red robe is actually quite plain. The color red stands for his passion, power, and energy for life.

Underneath it, he’s wearing a full suit of armor. Quite a uniform he’s wearing, but this shows us that 1, he’s ready for battle at any moment and 2, he’s protected from any threat. He’s a strategist, he’s tough, we get that – but is it also possible that he’s protecting himself from being vulnerable or emotional? 

The Emperor’s hands are full – and I mean, literally. On his right, he’s holding a staff shaped like an Ankh -- the Egyptian symbol of life. Kinda extra, but it’s his clever, metaphorical way of flexing his power over life. The golden orb in his left hand represents the world he rules.

One look at the huge stone throne he’s sitting on and suddenly, his facial expression makes sense – while it's a solid foundation, stone is like one of the most uncomfortable materials one can use to make a seat. The only decor the throne has are four ram heads. These ram heads show his strong connection with Aries and the planet Mars.Moving on to the scenery behind The Emperor – unlike the lush forest we saw in the Empress card – it’s…barren. No leaf, not even a single twig. All there is is a wall of impenetrable mountain range – a reflection of his rigid nature and uncompromising position of power.

However, there’s a glimmer of hope: if we look closely, almost camouflaged in the intimidating landscape is a small river – a welcome sight in such a dry land. This body of water shows that underneath his hard exterior, the Emperor has an emotional side. It takes a bit of work to get there, but it’s there.

There’s no denying that the Emperor is a bit intense. Unlike the inviting, nurturing and motherly aura of The Empress, The Emperor has this serious, rigid, fatherly aura. He knows he has power and he’s not afraid to show it. His old age and experiences allowed him to develop a hard exterior that helped him thrive in difficult situations. Used to keeping his emotions at bay, it’s not hard for him to make important decisions. He’s the kinda guy people follow because he’s responsible and wise.

He's the ultimate male ego, personified. The absolute authority figure.

But underneath the hard, intimidating shell, is his heart. Which is a relief, tbh. Just imagine how chaotic things would be if he’s completely lacking in the feels department.

The Emperor Tarot Card Overview

Upright: The Empress Tarot Card Meaning

The Emperor is traditionally known as the ultimate representation of the Male ego. As the father archetype, he represents the old but wiser male energies in our lives. In tarot readings, The Emperor tarot card reflects just how much control we have over different aspects in our lives. Get it upright, and you have great control – you have the power to change or improve your situation. Get it reversed and it shows a lack thereof.

He’s a logical thinker who likes structure. His age and experiences in life made him a wise, strong leader. Ever-ready, you can rely on him for support and is a dependable provider. His stoic outlook allows him to be an objective and decisive ruler.

In the face of adversity, a time when being emotional can cloud our better judgment, The Emperor encourages us to be strategic and logical action takers.

Reversed: The Emperor Card Meaning

In the reversed position, The Emperor shows a lack of that control. There may be a desperate attempt to do so, like micro managing everything or it may be pure chaos. It also indicates someone who may be abusing their power. 

Love  and  Tarot

Love Meaning:
The Emperor Tarot Card Upright

The Emperor is a financially stable, well-established and reliable provider with authoritative power. He can be anyone you view in your life as an older, wiser masculine energy, it doesn’t always have to be in a romantic way, as this card traditionally has a paternal element to it. 

If you have an SO that you think is like a clone of The Emperor, you might feel like they're not showing much emotion, like it’s hard for them to express their feelings. They do love you though, they just prefers to show their love in unique ways – in the form of gifts, support, giving sound advice, etc -- it's not always romantic, but you can usually feel the love.

When the Emperor finds us in a relationship reading, it can signal an Emperor-like figure in our romantic life. Regardless of fender, this person is a stable, grounding and wise force. Prioritize building a strong foundation within your relationship. 

For our folks out there who are already taken, picking The Emperor card upright is a strong sign of stability and commitment – your relationship is highly likely to last. 

Going through a rough patch with your SO? Keep your head up, you might just resolve it soon.

Love Meaning:
The Emperor Tarot Card Reversed

Have you ever been on a date with someone who’s domineering and egotistical? Not v fun. That’s the Emperor card as a person when it’s picked reversed. They’re so out of touch and into themselves you wonder if they’re even capable of empathy. This can be a very overbearing partner who likes having excessive control over others. 

If you’re single and you draw this card, it could be telling you that your unresolved father issues might be what’s causing you to attract such awful partners. Resolving this might help you avoid drawing in people who abuse your kindness because tbh, they don’t pass the vibe check.

For someone who’s in a relationship, this card can mean a number of things: a lack of commitment, an imbalance of power, an overbearing and possessive partner, or doubts about your partner. It’s honestly the recipe for an unhappy, toxic romantic relationship.

Now, a little structure in the relationship is welcome, but there’s a stark difference between simply wanting structure in a relationship, and being a jerky control freak.

If you get The Emperor card reversed, it might be a good idea to communicate your concerns to your partner. Just remember that it's important to have agency over one’s self – to never repress who you truly are to please a partner. Is your partner not ok with you being yourself? It might be high time to say thank u, next.

MONEY and Tarot

Money Meaning:
The Emperor Tarot Card Upright

The Emperor is wealthy, but it doesn’t mean that he’d part with his money that easily. Let’s remember that The Emperor gained everything through experience, hard work, and discipline and that’ll most probably apply to you too. What this card is suggesting is that you got the smarts and the grit to make it just like The Emperor – you just have to focus, strategize, and take action.

When the Emperor shows up in a reading about money, it’s highly likely that your money moves are on point. Your cash flow isn’t causing you any stress – to put it simply, you can afford things. Just be careful not getting too caught up in your financial situation rn tho, as it may cause an ego imbalance. It also wouldn’t hurt watching how you spend your money even if things are ~comfortable~ right this moment. Maybe set aside a budget, or at least be responsible and intentional about the businesses you support when spending.

Speaking of business, The Emperor tarot card is suggesting that you go for it. You may already have a clear picture and a plan about the biz you want to start + you got the leadership skills to make it work. While you’re at it, if you’re into investments, you may want to set aside a little extra, you know, just to be sure.

If you feel unsure about money matters, feel free to consult with people who embody The Emperor’s persona in your life – they’d probably be happy to guide and give practical advice.

Ultimately, just remember that you’re the one in charge and that you have everything you need to manifest success. Stay grounded, plan, have grit, and work hard. Success – however you define it – will follow.

Money Meaning:
The Emperor Tarot Card Reversed

Getting the reversed Emperor card in a money reading reflects an imbalance. It suggests something that’s being overdone or something that’s lacking.

Do you watch your spending habits? Are you in charge of your money? Are you consistently working on your biz or side hustle you wanna start? If your answers are a resounding nope, the reversed Emperor tarot card suggests that you’re lacking control over your money.

Introducing some sorta structure in your life might help. Start simple, like listing expenses or even setting a budget (and sticking to it, v important). These are small actionable things you can do to regain control.

Now if you answered 3 yesses, then it might be worth contemplating whether or not your ego is being overstimulated. Are you maaaaybe discounting your success too much? Is there a chance that you *might* be obsessing over money? Or worse, have you maybe gotten into this unhealthy hobby of comparing incomes with a frenemy? More than poverty, it’s really insecurity that takes the fun and sense of satisfaction out of ANYTHING.

career + work  and  Tarot

Career Meaning:
The Emperor Card Reversed

You don’t have to be high up the supposed ~ladder~ at your job for the upright The Emperor tarot card to mean something in a career context. You can be the newly-hired waitress or the head chef at the restaurant – no matter your position in the workplace, this card simply says that you have the leadership skills, discipline and grit to move toward your career goals. Along the way, you might even meet a superior who’s willing to mentor you to success. When you meet that mentor, the Emperor card suggests that you take the opportunity.

The Emperor archetypes in the workplace are very efficient – they are most likely to get a promotion, be trusted with a leadership role, or be given a pay raise. If you get this in a career reading, it just might be the divine sign from the universe that you’re on the right path in your professional life. 

Career Meaning:
The Emperor Card Reversed

Picking The Emperor tarot card reversed suggests that you’re in a work environment where you feel like you lack control, or worse, are being controlled. You might be feeling unsatisfied, uncomfortable, or even helpless at work and it’s starting to really get to you. 

Feeling stifled and stuck at work can be so incredibly frustrating. You may be struggling with those in positions of power or maybe even those who exercise an abuse of power. 

However, if you have a dictator for a boss and you feel like you're stuck working in an environment where there's a focus on adherence to rules - there’s likely red tape everywhere. It may be time to move on. Make sure you explore your options…perhaps you can find another job in the same field that offers you more freedom. Or perhaps it’s a sign for you to start that biz you’ve been thinking about - just be mindful of your choice of business partners!

HEALTH and  Tarot

Health Meaning:
The Emperor Tarot Card Upright

If you get The Emperor tarot card upright in a health reading then you’re probably in good health or have good control over your health (especially true for peeps who’s got health issues). You’ve found a routine that works for you and perfectly complements your lifestyle and energy levels.

You’re somebody who’s in tune with your body, and unlike most, you listen to it. You give it rest when it needs rest, and when it comes to working, you respect its limits.

Health Meaning:
The Emperor Tarot Card Reversed

Reversed, the Emperor tarot card implies that you may be over-exerting yourself.

Be nice to yourself by cutting back or stopping activities that are overly taxing on your body. Exercise is good in moderation, but continuously stressing your body with rigorous workouts may do more harm than good. Besides, our bodies need rest. Remind yourself to work with, not against, your energy levels.

Alternately, if you have neglected your health for a while, The Emperor reversed may mean that you need to have more self-discipline in order to improve your health.

Be reasonable in how you approach treating your health problems, if you have any. “Toughing it up” most likely won’t work this time. Be kind to yourself and rest when you need to! If you're sick, the Emperor suggests that you go to a medical doctor and follow their advice.