Meaning of the Emperor Tarot card

The Emperor Tarot CardIn the Tarot, the Emperor is quite a traditional representation of temporal power and material power: he represents success, supremacy and power.

The elements of this card are almost identical to those of the Empress: the scepter, the crown, the imperial eagle, etc. In some depictions, the shield may also be present, sometimes resting on the ground, sometimes held by the Emperor.

This card conveys more rigidity and stability, and less action than the Empress card. As well as the possible shield on the ground, in many depictions the Emperor also has crossed legs, a symbol of closure.

The representation of the Emperor with his legs bent, or crossed, is a typical posture of Germanic magistrates and French kings of medieval times. The latter, in particular, were represented with crossed legs when angry.

General interpretation of the card

The Emperor is a very varied figure in terms of possible interpretations. And that is strange, given such an orthodox representation of the Emperor on the card.

Entrenched positions is one of the possible meanings, symbolized quite clearly by the crossed legs of the Emperor (portrayed like this in many, but not all decks). It is an intransigence that can be positive, but I think that in most cases it results in rather excessive rigidity. If limited, it would be positive, but it ends up instead having negative “braking” effects.

The Emperor is however, in all situations, a practical person, dedicated to substantial things and to the concretization of the abstract. The Emperor can make what were simply ideas and desires until now into reality.

It is an excellent card as far as family, work, society and projects are concerned. If the Tarot reading is work-related, the Emperor is often an excellent card, especially if very specific ambitions are involved.

In love, the meaning of the card can either be that of a person who “controls” their feelings, who is restrained in opening up, who does not express their feelings clearly. But the meaning can also be paternity.

Specific examples of possible meanings:

  • Practicality, ambition. In particular, practical reflections, driven by an excellent insight. This is the “purest” meaning of the Emperor card. He is solid, he has dominion over things. Less words, now is the time for concrete actions and demonstrations.
  • Excessive rigidity. This is one of the most negative nuances of the Emperor’s card. All the negative aspects of firmness taken to the extreme are emphasized. It can represent a dead-end situation at work, often with an obstructive boss. Or in love, it might represent a person with incredibly inflexible positions (even against their own interests), who seems unmovable.
  • A powerful person, a person one can ask for help. The Emperor can represent a figure (often a man) who one can ask for help. Sometimes however, after getting the help, a “price” will have to be paid.
  • A person who has the power to decide on a matter that concerns us, and their decision is critical for us. This interpretation applies in all areas, but we often find it in readings on love, when the other person “calls the shots”, or at least we are convinced that this is the case.
Rob Sánchez

Try my

Free Tarot Reading