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 »  Home  »  Tarot Reading  »  De-coding The Tarot Card - The Emperor

De-coding The Tarot Card - The Emperor
By TarotReadingSecrets Admin | Published 03/24/2007 | Tarot Reading |
De-coding The Tarot Card - The Emperor

The EmperorThe classic Tarot card  depicting the Emperor shows him sitting on a throne decorated with ram’s heads, which are the symbols for the gods Aries and Mars.

In one hand, he holds an ankh, the Egyptian symbol for life. In the other he holds a globe, representing his control of the physical world. When the Emperor shows up in a reading, he represents authority and self-control, particularly regarding that which is concrete. If the subject’s goal was based on something solid, it will be achieved, says the Emperor.


When this card appears, it means that what comes the subject’s way ought to be accepted as it will bring great success.

The classic Tarot card  depicting the Emperor shows him sitting on a throne decorated with ram’s heads, which are the symbols for the gods Aries and Mars.

In one hand, he holds an ankh, the Egyptian symbol for life. In the other he holds a globe, representing his control of the physical world. When the Emperor shows up in a reading, he represents authority and self-control, particularly regarding that which is concrete. If the subject’s goal was based on something solid, it will be achieved, says the Emperor.


When this card appears, it means that what comes the subject’s way ought to be accepted as it will bring great success. 


Virile, strong and enthusiastic, the Emperor – the ram, Aries – is an enthusiastic, willful child in many ways. He’s energetic and direct in his dealings, and can trample people’s feelings with his inpatient, demanding behavior. In a positive light, the Emperor represents a strong, irresistible leaders whose throne is a foundation for strength and wisdom. But it also represents responsibility, and the restless, demanding personality that can emerge when one feels trapped by circumstance.

The Emperor’s symbol is the sun, which illuminates and energizes all that it shines upon. In fact, in some ways the Emporer is a sun, with everything else orbiting around him. As a child of Aries, the ram, he is the primary mover-and-shaker of the Tarot.

Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, the original segment of the division of linear time. On most cards, he sits on a stone throne with his arms and legs at an angle that creates a triangle, which the alchemical sign for sulfur – known to ancient people as “the stone that burns,” and referred to in the Bible as brimstone. His position also forms the number four, the order of his card in the Tarot and considered by numerologists to represents stability and order.

Connected inexorably to the Empress, his feminine counterpart, the Emperor looks back towards her, protecting her and honoring her. He’s all about order and control, whereas she represents sensuality and abundance.

The Emperor is the part inside each of us that organizes and guides us responsibly, channeling our animal nature into that of a civilized being. Peace among humans only exists when there is order, but that doesn’t mean that his job is an easy one.

Making decisions is wearying, and spending so much time trying to be rational and fair can be frustrating. The Emperor sometimes becomes petty, reckless and self-serving because he is, after all, a tyrant. The Empress must always remind him that she is his equal, not his subordinate, and that he needs her intuition and intuitive wisdom to help hism rule compassionately.

When the Emperor appears during a reading, he should not be seen as a threatening figure. He’s the strongest authority figure in the Tarot, and one way to interpret him is as a father figure. The subject should take a moment to think about their relationship with their own father, if it’s positive or negative, if he was kind or domineering. The Emperor could also represent an important authority figure in the subject’s life, an employer or a mentor.

The message sent by the Emperor is that no one becomes successful in life by themselves. Ambition is good, particularly if you strive for worthy things, but you must balance the needs of the world with your own needs, the spiritual with the material. Remember that there’s as much value in beauty and chaos as there is in order and control, and wield your power wisely. Don’t allow the pressure of decision-making to make you self-centered and tyrannical.

Many Tarot experts

associate the Emperor with the Hebrew letter Tzaddi, which literally means “fishhook” and symbolizes an entity that produces.  The word is believed to come from Sanskrit, and is the root for the words Tsar, Caesar, Senate, Senior, Signor – all of which describe male authority figures.

This card represents power and achievement, seen as contrary to individuality and creativity. There are many fine things that can be achieved under the Emperor, but his rule is that of old-fashioned leadership and order.

Inverted, it can represent that one aspect of the subject’s personality is overly dominant; it also often points to a subject who’s neurotically attached to a parent or other authority figure, or who has “daddy issues” that need to be resolved. It can also represent a dislike of authority, or the inability to take responsibility, lack of discipline or self-control.

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