What Does The Emperor Tarot Card Mean?

Photo: volkovslava / Shutterstock
Emperor Tarot Card Meanings: Upright, Reversed, & In Love

There are 78 cards within the Tarot deck. The Emperor Tarot card is the fourth of the Major Arcana, and is part of the Fool's Journey.

Emperor Tarot Card Meaning

Whether this card is read as upright or reversed, you can be sure that pulling the Emperor Tarot card means you demand to be heard.

Upright meaning keywords: Security, stability, control, focus, discipline, structure, a father figure

Reversed meaning keywords: Stubborn, reckless, domination, lack of control or discipline, inflexible

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Emperor Tarot Card Description

If you look at The Emperor, you can find him lounging on a stone thrown, wearing red robes and golden crowns, with four Ram heads, signifying the zodiac sign he represents: Aries

The Emperor is a symbol of power and authority, represented by the staff he holds. The staff has two meanings and is symbolic of his reign as well as the kingdom he reigns over.

Photo: volkovslava / Shutterstock

Along with his staff, the Emperor has a long beard that speaks to his wisdom. And with this wisdom, we must also note the symbol of the Egyption ankh in his right hand, or the key of life, and the orb in his left hand, representing the land he rules.

Behind the Emperor is a landscape of a mountain range and a flowing river, which symbolizes his solid foundation that may make him resistant to changes, but also includes some form of hope that appeals to his emotional side.

Where the Empress Tarot card is the Mother archetype, the Emperor is the Father.

Upright Emperor Meaning

If you pull the Emperor card in an upright reading, you have your life together. You are the calm in the storm of life, and have a crystal clear vision of who you are and what you want. 

Simply, an Upright Emperor Tarot card means you are in control.

As a father figure, this card represents providing for the family and protecting loved ones. The Emperor demands respect and authority, and will create a system bound by rules and regulations.

Think about whether or not your authority is working for you. Are you abusing this power? Or, perhaps you are a born leader and are shying away from the role.

Either way, when the Emperor card shows up in reading, it should serve as a reminder to treat your peers as equals.

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Reversed Emperor Meaning

The Reversed Emperor Tarot card means you feel out of control. If you receive the Emperor during a reading, it may mean you are on a bit of a power-trip.

This card is calling attention to your relationship with responsibility and discipline. Usually, these issues of power associated with a reversed reading stem from deep insecurity. This insecurity is often caused by some childhood issues with a father figure.

These issues may make it hard for you to either let go of some of your authority, or take a stand when you're called to action. If this is the case, try to view yourself as an individual.

Be powerful. Be humble. Be kind. It’s never easy making a change in your daily routine and attitude, but try and see how it alters your relationship with the world around you.

Work your way up to creating a better dynamic between you and those around you.

Tell them that you care and are listening. Remind them that you have opinions and desires. You are a leader, so use the voice you’ve been blessed with to help, not hurt.

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The Emperor Tarot Card's Meaning in Love and Relationships

In the Tarot deck, the Emperor is a leader that has a pearl of the age-old wisdom that can only be gained through tons of life experience. The Emperor Tarot card in a love relationship reading pertains to commitment and stability.

Love and Relationships: Upright Emperor Meaning

As a single individual, drawing the Upright Emperor Tarot card in a reading may indicate you are interested in an older man who can change your life in a positive way; it can also mean you need to openly express your emotions.

If you are single, this card is also an indication that it is time to reveal your feelings to someone you are attracted to; don't expect them to read your mind.

Having the Emperor card show up if you are in a relationship means to take a look at your partnership. Is there an equal distribution of power? Is there a constructive dialogue between the two of you when you argue? Is your significant other your partner in crime, or a parental figure?

Because while this card may mean a long-lasting relationship is possible, there may be problems that need improvement.

Love and Relationships: Reversed Emperor Meaning

If the Emperor appears reversed in a reading, and you are single, it can mean you have unresolved father issues that are negatively affecting your relationships. The only course of action here is to resolve your issues so you can seek out partnerships that you actually benefit from.

Reversed, this card can also represent your own lack of commitment, seemingly jumping from one partner to another.

If in a relationship, the Emperor Tarot card signals that your relationship is not making one of you, or both of you, happy. If this is the case, don’t blame your partner for their seemingly controlling or submissive tendencies; instead, look inward and learn compromise.

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Manzi Burns is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.

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