Monday, May 27, 2024

The Emperor – Meanings & Interpretation – Major Arcana

The Emperor’s Meaning In A Tarot Reading

The Emperor card of the Rider Waite tarot deck is the master of all he surveys, the ultimate masculine principle. This must be that way, that must be this way, and he decides which is which.

He is a creature of absolutes, of utter black and white. He is the penultimate father figure, protecting and caring for those under his command.  The Emperor represents the desire to rule over all his surroundings.

Find out more about what the Emperor tarot card means in various orientations like upright and reversed in a tarot reading.


The Emperor Tarot Card Meanings – Upright


The benevolent ruler, strong and confident. The Emperor of the Major Arcana is without a doubt the ruler of his realm and has all things well in control. His rule is kind and benevolent, and he makes the best decisions he can for those he is responsible for. He is the keeper of traditions and a point of stability for all who know him.the emperor

Past Events:

The past few months have seen you either in control or coming into control of your circumstances. You have kept your head about you and truly can lead benevolently while watching out for those around you.

Present Events:

You have the skills and confidence to handle the situation before you and have reached a point of stability in your life. The situation you find yourself in now is well within your capabilities. Just be certain to keep your focus on being a kindly ruler, lest you slip into tyranny.


Future Events:

Things may seem out of control now, but fear not! The future will find you having everything well in hand. The tarot card in this position indicates that the near future will present you with the need to guide a situation, and you will rise to the challenge.

The Emperor Tarot Card Meanings – Reversed


The tyrannical despot, cruel and heartless. He rules with little care for those around him, only that his will is held to. He holds to traditions long after they have passed usefulness. Thus he also represents stagnation in this position.

the emperor reversed

Past Events:

Have you been slavishly holding to old ways? Forcing those around you to operate under your rules without considering the possibility that others have useful input?

It’s time to re-examine your position and consider loosening your grip. Not all things can be controlled, nor should they be. It’s time to let go.


Present Events:

This is a clear warning that you are currently lording over your current situation. You are trying to control all things when things cannot all be controlled.

This may be forcing you into a kind of stagnation. Preventing things from moving on, it’s time to talk to those involved, give everyone options, and let go of the wheel.

Future Events:

Your current condition will seem to stagnate, remaining unchanged and not progressing despite your best efforts. Whatever you’ve been doing hasn’t been working, but you’re certain it will. It won’t. It’s time to let go and get outside input.


Associated Colors:


Meditation For The Emperor – Upright

This tarot meditation will focus on the positive masculine aspect and the benevolent ruling spirit using the Emperor’s upright card. Prepare for this meditation keeping this in mind.

Set up a gold cloth with a yellow/gold colored candle (the metal-covered ones can sometimes emit unhealthy fumes) in front of it. Once you have properly settled in, meditate on the concept of stability, protection, and the loving touch of a male authority or father figure.

As you slip into this meditation, you will find yourself in the throne room of a well-loved King. The people in attendance will be smiling, happy, and joyous to be in the presence of their well-loved ruler.

You may hear a few people come before him, offering gifts and asking for words of advice. Those he gives will always be balanced and well-reasoned.

Tarot Meditation Techniques For The Emperor Upright Card

He hears the words of all, from the youngest babe to the most wizened elder. Throughout, he listens with equal attention and equal respect. He does not always guide them the way they wish.

But he guides them the best he can, in the best interest of all involved. As the court closes, you will see him descend from his Throne, happily walking amongst his people, chatting with those he passes near.

He will then tour his countryside, be hands-on, and see what is being done firsthand to make sure his rulings align with reality. He will aid those who need it and take guidance from those who offer him their advice.

This Major Arcana card is never too much above them to hear what they have to say and know that aspects of his Kingdom know far better than himself.

He doesn’t let a single one of his people feel as if they aren’t important to the whole, and he recognizes this as being the case.

The Emperor does pay lip service. He honestly knows that for his Kingdom to run smoothly, it is required that all its parts are functioning. Therefore, no single part is of less importance than any other.

When we see him at home with his family, we see him as a loving husband and attentive father.

An Authority Figure

The Emperor is the authority in his home, but he conducts all with love and tenderness. His primary concern is for the happiness of his family.

Throughout this meditation, pay attention to lessons that may be there for you. Are you ruling kindly where you have authority? Are there those in your life who could perhaps do better in being kind in their stewardship of others?

Record this information in your journal, think about these things, and pay attention to noteworthy things as you travel throughout the meditation.

Associated Colors:


Meditation For The Emperor – Reversed

This tarot meditation on the Emperor card reversed will be focusing on the power that is out of control, the tyrannical leader, and the masculine principle out of control.

To this end, we will be bringing the color red to the table, representing war and anger, power-madness, and aggression. Your meditation cloth should be red, your candle as well, and the card placed inverted before you.

Concentrate on this principle, and prepare yourself for the trip you’re about to take. Be guarded but calm. You’re about to take a relatively unpleasant journey.

How To Descend Into The Emperor Tarot Meditation

As you descend into the meditation, you will find a longhouse lined with fire. At its front is seated an angry man with an unpleasant demeanor.

Everyone who comes before him pays obeisance, but their face is riddled with fear. The man at the fire, the King of this place, looks upon each in turn with a mix of suspicion and disdain.

They are less than he, and that much is apparent. He takes all he can from them and gives it without resistance because his power is absolute here. And though he knows they are less than him, he fears them.

They scheme to take his power. They hide the wealth he is so truly entitled to so that they can scratch out their pathetic, meaningless lives.

Tarot Meditation Techniques For The Emperor Reversed Card

You see the face of his advisor and know that he is an advisor in name only. He is a yes man, for he dare not know more than the King, the rightful ruler.

After all, all rules are his, he is beyond contest, and he is omnipotent. The Masculine force has gone mad. Unlike the Emperor upright, you will see that the children hide from him. His subjects avoid his gaze.

He makes his mandates, and he does not listen to the cries of those who try to explain they cannot do so much. They cannot do it this way. He only travels his Kingdom so that those who see him may fear him, and may know that he watches.

He pays no heed to that which crosses his gaze unless it is a thing he decides he wants. Then he takes it with little regard for those to whom it belongs.

His family is ignored and cast off, his wife is only there for his pleasure, and his sons are only there to propagate his family line.

Emperor or Dictator?

Pay close attention to the details of this Emperor tarot card meditation as you walk through the dictatorship of this petty king. Are there lessons for you here? Do you see examples of your behavior, and your rulership style?

If so, take note of them. It might be a warning for you to open your ears and heart to those who look to you for guidance. As always, mark these details down in your journal.

See Also: