The Emperor – Tarot card meaning

Rider Waite Major Arcana - The Emperor

The Emperor is a serious, masculine card. A bearded man sits on a throne, grasping an ankh and holding an orb. The Emperor as depicted here echoes images of medieval Kings; stern, strong, resolute.

The Emperor reflects paternal values; standing for authority, time-tested methods, conservative values and fatherhood.

The Emperor can be seen as the paternal counterpart to The Empress. Male and female balance each other out, as a well balanced family raises a balanced child.

You should be able to associate the Emperor with a strong paternal influence in your life; a father, older friend, a strict teacher for example. You should look to take these qualities into your own life to grow as a person.

black nubian king tarot card emperor

At a glance

The Emperor is a tarot card that is associated with leadership, authority, and the ability to take control of your life. It typically depicts a man seated on a throne, holding a scepter in one hand and an orb in the other. He is surrounded by the symbols of his power and authority, representing his ability to rule and control his kingdom.

The Emperor card suggests that you are a strong and confident leader, and that you have the ability to take control of your life. It indicates that you are capable of making important decisions and taking charge of your own destiny. The Emperor card can also represent stability and structure, indicating that you are able to create a solid foundation for yourself and others.

In some readings, the Emperor card can indicate that you are being supported and guided by a father figure or a strong, authoritative man. This man may be a paternal figure, a mentor, or a trusted friend who can help you to navigate through challenges and obstacles. The Emperor card can also suggest that you are being called to use your leadership and decision-making abilities to help others, and to make a positive impact in the world.

Overall, the Emperor card is a reminder of your own inherent strength and leadership abilities. It suggests that you have the ability to take control of your life and make important decisions, and that you are supported and guided on your journey. It indicates that you have the potential to create a stable and fulfilling life for yourself and others.

Card meanings


The Emperor when placed in the past position can represent a strong masculine influence in your life. Treat The Emperor as the masculine version of The Empress here. Masculine and Feminine are two powerful energies that influence us, and a balance of both is desirable.

The Emperor is somewhat conservative, so it’s likely that you may hold some traditional views to heart now, based on how you were raised or your recent influences. It’s likely that you were brought up in a strict household, compared to others.

Conservatism and traditionalism are not a bad thing, and should not be held as opposites of liberalism. We can honour and venerate traditions and culture of the past and still make them compatible with culture today.

Look to the past, not just your own past, but the past of your family. Would they be proud of you? Is there a particular tradition that runs in your family? Look to continue it.


The Emperor when regarding the present represents our need for rules, regulations and control. It can also relate to somebody, likely the querent, who likes to be in control on most situations.

There is a need to realise when rules are required and when we should treat them as self-applied boundaries and ignore them. Don’t let your own rules ruin your life, or that of others.

Things can’t be controlled forever, however if the situation is getting out of control, then take up the mantle and lead others.


The Emperor in future can represent mastery; an Emperor rules over, and so will you. The Emperor is strong and powerful in his field of choice. This may represent the querent, if they continue down their current path.

If you’re in an especially childish period of your life, expect to grow into a more mature position soon enough. This is neither a good or bad thing, though you may have to think what would be the reason causing this. You may be thrust into a position of responsibility because somebody else steps down.

The Emperor in the future position can show your ambition applies to the future. You should never lose sight of what you want in life, even if you are doing something completely different right now.

Work, careers and education

The Emperor represents a stable period of employment, possibly a job that you are able to stay at for a long time in either currently in place or on the horizon. Take logical steps, do what is expected and go further.

The Emperor in regards to work as a whole is a good sign. You should be taking your job seriously, and it should be paying off in kind. Like it or not, most of us will spend most of our lives working, so you should look for new avenues to improve constantly in work.

If you were your boss or teacher, think about how you would react to a student or worker acting like you. It might be hard work, but in the long run it’ll pay off. Understanding delayed gratitude is a large step on the road to control, as is one of the most mature things you can do in life. A child wants something immediately, but an adult can wait.

Love and Relationships

The Emperor isn’t the most romantic of tarot cards, though there may be a chance for you to experience a more traditional relationship. In case you’re single and looking, presently isn’t the best time to search for a totally new individual.

The Emperor in regards to love can suggest that you focus on yourself at the moment. Exercise some discipline in your daily life; perhaps it is exactly what you need.

Maybe somebody you already know is interested. If you’re in a relationship, then The Emperor isn’t at all a negative card, just expect a continuation of your current relationship. It may be up to you to take the lead in your relationship, but relationships are all about a good balance.

anime emperor tarot card


The Emperor is a good sign for finance. A good ruler is neither corrupt or bad at handling things they are in control of and responsible for.

The Emperor reminds you to take control of your money. You should know exactly where your money is coming from and going. It can be easy to ignore money problems but sooner or later, you are going to have to face them. Better now than later.

Look for ways you can improve your wealth, especially if you have a sum of money which is currently doing nothing. Money should be treated as a separate entity, something you borrow from and give to.

Health and well-being

The Emperor represents stability in regards to health, both mental and physical. A leader must appear in good shape to be an inspiration to others.

Take care of your body as if it is somebody else. If you aren’t feeling well, stick to proven methods that are guaranteed to help you improve.

The Emperor reminds us not to shy away from the problems that are facing us in life. A problem ignored is one that grows larger. When it comes to health, it is rare that a problem will simply go away on it’s own. This is especially true when concerning your mental health.

Other associations

Element: Fire

Astrology: Aries

As a Yes or No question:  Yes

Crystal: Red Carnelian


Fatherhood, masculine, authority, conservatism, tradition, ambition, leadership, action