The Emperor Tarot Card Meaning

Reading Time
- June 25, 2022
Written by Aimi Davis 
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Key Facts

  • The Emperor has achieved authoritative power. He has journeyed from his original position as The Fool, then The Magician, and now after his union with the High Priestess, whom he changed into the Empress, he has become the emperor and father that rules. 
  • The Pythagoreans believe the Emperor is the fourth Major Arcana Tarot card. In numerology, the number four represents stability and order. 
  • Pythagoreans believed that the number four was the perfect number.

The Emperor Tarot Card is a universal father figure. 

He is a success and is wealthy, this is not to say that money is his only form of wealth.

You will recognise his wealth in whichever form it takes. 

He may represent a father or a father figure in your life.

The Emperor’s appearance generally indicates that you require advice and role modelling. 

This is because you may be struggling to come to terms with specific life lessons.

The Emperor appears to let you know that there are authoritative figures in your life whom you trust. 

Lean on them for support and wise counsel.

They have walked a path similar to yours and learned from the lessons you might still be grappling to understand. 

The Emperor can also indicate that fatherhood is on the horizon.

Meaningful Assosciated Keywords


  • Domination
  • War-Making Power
  • Authority,
  • Paternity. 
  • The Fruits Of Toil
  • The Results Of Action
  • Controlled And Directed Sexual Drive.


  • Abuse Of Power
  • Excessively Controlling
  • Rigidity
  • Stubbornness
  • Lack Of Discipline
  • Lack Of Control
  • Absentee Father
  • Paternity Issues

The Emperor Upright Meaning

The Emperor, in the upright position, is a powerful ally.

It speaks to your success and your ability to achieve your goals. 

He sits on his throne, ruling over his subjects with order, structure, control, and consequences for those unwilling to conform to his standards and rules. 

In a traditional masculine fashion, integrity will earn you a seat at the table with The Emperor. 

The Emperor's appearance can suggest that your goals are within your reach.

How you work towards achieving them will define your level of success. 

If you choose to journey with honour and discipline, as this authority figure does, you will be rewarded with success. 

Here, you may also seek guidance.

As the father archetype, The Emperor may represent a man in your life for whom you have deep respect, a paternal figure. 

This is possibly a sign that you should turn to this person in your life to help you on your journey. 

How to interpret this card in the upright position?

The Emperor sits on his throne, symbolising his supreme authority and control over the material realm. 

However, his actual power lies in the solid foundation upon which he built his empire. 

He has mastery over both feminine and masculine energies.

But unfortunately, his tough exterior doesn't soften.

He does feel love and passion, but he does not let it show because he is a person in authority.

When interpreting the meaning of The Emperor Tarot Card, it is essential to consider where your inner and exterior turmoil comes from. 

The seemingly impenetrable mountain range in the distance behind The Emperor suggests a struggle.

Perhaps you have avoided dealing with those problems productively. 

Now is the time to admit that there are barriers that are stunting your personal power. 

Until you overcome them, you will not reach your full potential. 

Love and relationships

The Emperor can indicate a possible romantic relationship with an older man in love and relationship reading. 

His influence on you will be positive, but don’t expect to be wined and dined.

Instead, he will be your rock and shelter you from any storm. 

For those interested in women, his appearance suggests that you are pretty closed off emotionally and if you wish to start a relationship.

You will have to confront your crush with your feelings if anything is to develop. 

If you’re in a relationship, this is a positive sign. 

The Emperor stands for traditional values and honouring commitments.

A good omen for those enjoying a committed relationship. 

You can also expect any disharmony within your union to evaporate.

Then, things will return to normal. 

Money and career

In the upright position, your hard work will be rewarded.

It has not gone unnoticed, continue to build on this foundation, and success will be yours. 

But to do this, you will have to embody the characteristics that The Emperor personifies actively:

  • Discipline
  • Determination
  • Perseverance
  • Order

In your professional life, there are undoubtedly men who can provide you with guidance and wisdom from their own experiences. 

You will cross paths with a man who can impart wise counsel if one isn't present. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn from him. 

Financially, you could be doing better. 

You need to be more active in your finances and understand where money is going and why. 

Control is what it boils down to, essentially. Becoming more responsible with your money is key to your financial success. 

Health and spirituality

Your health and physical well-being may be taking a bit of a knock at the moment, and you bear some responsibility to some extent. 

If you’re pushing yourself too hard, your body needs to take a break.

You may feel that you can endure and push through the pain, but sooner or later, that mindset will catch up with you, and you will break. 

Don’t tough it out. It's not going to work. 

Rest, recover and recuperate. Then, visit a doctor and heed their advice. 

Spiritually, you aren't consciously seeking to make a connection with the cosmos. 

You live in the material world.

You prefer to investigate the concrete and think that you are satisfied with your level of growth in that sphere.

However, logic and reason needn’t be your only strength. 

You must establish and foster a connection with your spiritual side. 

The Emperor also speaks to balance. 

Therefore, through spiritual pursuits, you need to find harmony between the two worlds and explore what that means to you. 

The Emperor Tarot Reversed Meaning

In the reverse position, The Emperor signifies an abuse of power and authority. 

There is a person in your life, most likely a man, who is overbearing and leaves you feeling overwhelmed and powerless. 

Be conscious that they may not be acting in malice, and this may just be their way of showing care and trying to help you. 

You might be giving more time to your heart and less to your head. 

Being ruled by emotion will negatively impact all your decisions, so be cautious and work on including logic and reason in your response system. 

As the card represents paternity, you may also be experiencing issues with your father or a father figure. 

How to interpret this card in the reversed position?

Two significant elements must be considered when interpreting The Emperor Tarot Card in reverse. 

Someone in your life is taking away your sense of agency and making you feel insignificant. 

There is a definitive imbalance in power, and you need to seek a remedy.

Standing up for yourself may be the first step towards achieving this goal. 

You need to exercise more restraint and self-control.

An emperor who lacks control cannot rule effectively, giving way to acts of tyranny, abusing their power and hurting innocents. 

Atone, and be mindful of your impact on others and your reputation. 

Love and relationships (reversed)

In reverse, your relationship lacks stability, perhaps a poor foundation has been built on, and this has caused a negative power dynamic between you and your partner. 

Being overbearing, stubborn and possessive will not foster growth or happiness in your relationship. 

Communication and compromise are key here.

Allow for vulnerability and create a space where both parties feel they can be heard. 

For those that are single, unresolved issues with your father are negatively influencing your ability to connect with a potential partner. 

You also might have issues with commitment, choosing to jump from one partner to another. 

Take some time out if you’re looking for a relationship, sort your commitment issues out, get to the root cause and heal those wounds before engaging in the dating game. 

Money and career (reversed)

In your professional life, the reversed meaning indicates that you have lost your solid work ethic. 

Your level of inconsistency is creating issues for you in the workplace and damaging your reputation. 

If it's the work itself that causes you to lose motivation, consider a change. 

You might be tired of working under someone else’s authority and need to set out and march to the beat of your own drum. 

Your finances are in disarray, your bank balance may not reflect this, but your attitude towards money needs to change. 

If you cannot control yourself financially, it may be time to consider professional intervention. 

Health and spirituality (reversed)

In a health reading, your inability to compromise may be causing you unnecessary stress. 

Try and find a way to look at things with a little more lenient towards your needs and wants. 

If your health has not been a priority, The Emperor is a sign that you must exercise more control over your physical wellness. 

A more disciplined approach will help you become healthier and happier. 

Spiritually, you’ve reached a point where you’re open to exploring your spiritual path. 

Don’t rush into anything.

Instead, explore the waters, and use your intuition and judgement when making spiritual decisions. 

Is The Emperor A Yes or No Question?

It is a yes.

With focus and determination, you will achieve your goals. 

The question is always answered in the affirmative.

Your decision will lead to positive outcomes if you honour the ideals that The Emperor represents. 

What does this card mean for marriage?

For those in a relationship, it does present as a good omen for marriage.

This is because the Emperor represents commitment and monogamy. 

What kind of person would this card be?

The Emperor is a person who has both their feet planted firmly on the ground. 

Everything that they involve themselves in receives their full attention.

As a result, they take responsibility and honour every commitment in the same fashion. 

This is a factor that largely contributes to their success. 

But, they can also be quite stubborn and rigid in their principles and ideals.

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