The Emperor

The Emperor


Rules: Aries

Exaltation: The Sun

Planetary Association: Mars

Color: Red, Scarlet

Upright: order, structure, establishment, management, business, father, male figure, authority, power, boss, autonomy, ownership, dictatorship, 

Reversed: bully, dictator, temper, combative, explosive, emotional abuse, tyranny, abuse of power, the extreme end of being too powerful, dominating male figure, abusive partners

The Emperor Symbolism

An older man with a long white beard sits at a stone throne. His throne is gray with rocks from the Earth. There are four ram heads, which form the four corners of it. He sits but is ready for action. He doesn’t relax as he surveys what is before him. Behind him yellow and red burn the sky. The mountains that tower before him are also red. This is because he rules the color scarlet. There is one small blue stream that trickles down the base of the mountains that runs laterally across the image.

The Emperor is wearing a red cloak with the symbol of Aries on it. A small amount of blue can be seen on the sleeves. We see armor poking out from under his red scarlet robes. He is holding the symbol for male and an orb both upright and rigid. His crown is large and gold with jewels running around the circumference.

He is a good ruler, who is very disciplined. The Emperor is a strong leader and a paternal archetype. He rules over his kingdom with discipline, law and order, and in absolute control. Everyone obeys him. His foundation is solid and balanced. He takes great care at ruling methodically and meticulously. He rules with his head not his emotions.

The Emperor needs his Empress, for without her he becomes cold and his logic turns tyrannical. The love of his Empress is what gives him the strength of compassion.

The Emperor Upright Summary

The Emperor in the upright position, begs of you to assert your authority and inner power. If you have been feeling meek, or like you’ve become a doormat, this is your sign to speak up and speak out. If you get the Emperor in a reading, it could mean that you need to exert self-control and discipline in all matters. You may even meet a very successful, older businessman who can help you build a business. Look to the father figures in your life, and how they either would deal with a situation, or even look to them to handle it. The Emperor is the opposite of the Empress, and he needs her to soothe and nurture him. He is rough and tough and needs her delicate touch. 


The Emperor in the Past position represents a strong past paternal presence. A good teacher or father who guided you who taught you lessons that still come in handy today. The Emperor is conservative with traditional values. Maybe you were brought up in such a household, or taught by somebody who paid attention to the rules.


The Emperor in the present position represents a current paradigm of rules and regulations or a strong and well-known person. Look to somebody who can guide you down a new way of organization and thinking. It’s also possible you may meet somebody famous, or somebody you used to idolize as a role model.


The Emperor in the future position suggests a level of stability or a change of mindset to perceived stability. Your political views may change, or you may consider working ‘by the book’ instead of trying new techniques. You may also be working in the same field for a long time, but this isn’t a bad thing; you’ll learn a lot and becoming an expert at the techniques you use.

Reversed Summary

When reversed, the Emperor is an extreme version of its upright self. When upright we look at him as being a rough father figure. When Reversed, he is tyrannical and abusive. If we get this in a love reading, we consider it to be one of the gas-lighting partners who need to go. The Emperor may not be physically abusive, but he is definitely emotionally and verbally. If the reading is for yourself, its time to check yourself and the attitudes you put in the world towards those around you. Without realizing it, you may have become a bit of a jerk. 

Don’t have your own Tarot Cards yet? Follow the link to find some that suit you, and follow along!

Cover Artwork by Brandon Duffy


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Twenty Something. Wife. Cat Mom. Vegan Brat. Junkfood Enthusiast.

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