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The Emperor

A description and interpretation of the role of The Emperor in the Tarot

In a nutshell...


  • authority

  • intolerance


General overview

The masculine partner of The Empress whom he faces, the Emperor is the embodiment of the patriarch. A powerful leader, he brings safety and comfort to his loved ones. In the Tarot, the character takes the form of a mature man, with long curly hair and a white beard. This color, of course, refers to the purity of the arcana's intentions, but also denotes its great wisdom. Since he is above all a man of action, the Emperor's knowledge is not purely theoretical, but the fruit of his past experiences. It is not a coincidence that he wears a red robe over a blue one, the character drawing his power from age-old traditions and a certain inertia.

The Emperor reigns over matter and the outside world, as symbolized by the scepter adorned with a globe that he carries in his right hand. Everything about him inspires confidence. For this reason his shield is placed on the ground, as if the character doesn't see any need to defend himself. Also note that the Emperor is leaning comfortably against a flesh-colored throne, his crossed legs forming a figure 4, a figure that refers both to the arcana's number and to ideas of harmony and stability. The power of the Emperor comes from a long tradition with proven success, so he has no reason to show any sign of worry. Does the face seen in profile only suggest that this arcana is hiding a darker side? Strongly attached to the values of the past, the character does not like to be questioned and can show a disturbing brutality if someone dares to oppose his plans.

The price of greatness is responsibility.


  • from an emotional viewpoint

    The Emperor has an extremely positive connotations with regard to romantic relationships. It reflects the existence or the emergence of a lasting relationship, in which tenderness and communication make it possible to consider the future calmly. The card refers to the protective side of the patriarch, whose primary function is to take care of the needs of his family. The character can be associated with the arrival of a happy event, the consolidation of a couple's relationship, or the achievement of a common project.

  • from a career viewpoint

    With his indisputable charisma and leadership skills, the Emperor has no equal when it comes to leading his team. Sure of his strengths and qualities, he is an extremely favorable card for anyone looking to be successful in their professional projects. He can be the herald of the achievement of a major objective, the emergence of a new career opportunity or, more generally, a period that is particularly conducive to change.

  • from a life path viewpoint

    Like his companion the Empress, the Emperor tells us that personal change and well-being necessarily require putting ideas into practice. In this respect, action plays a fundamental role. It makes it possible to achieve your desires and to fully enjoy the fruits of your intelligence. To be productive, however, it will have to be based on a solid foundation of knowledge and meet a clear objective.

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    Its influence

    • short-term

      The action of the Emperor in the short term will be manifested in particular by an awareness of your objectives and the beginning of rapid movement. All the lights are green so you can start acting with confidence and firmness. This could include a clearing the air discussion with your partner or one of your colleagues, a professional opportunity that you will know how to seize, or bringing some material security to your loved ones.

    • long-term

      It is in the long-term that the influence of the Emperor will manifest itself in all its splendor. Thanks to him, a powerful wind is pushing you to the completion of your projects. You know how to be selfless and have a keen sense of planning. All the necessary conditions will be united so you can give your clan the comfort, security and affection they so badly need. After all, your personal growth is also connected with that of your loved ones.

    Full interpretation

    Interpretation of The Emperor upright

    Few experts will dispute it: the Emperor is the most important male figure of the Tarot. Drawn upright this arcana always refers to positive notions of construction, stability and comfort, which can be manifest in the professional field as well as in the romantic life of the seeker. This character should be considered as the guardian of his family, as a wise patriarch whose mission is to take care of his loved ones and friends. Responsible and thoughtful, he is the archetype of the good father, but knows how to be assertive when faced with an obstacle. Confident in his abilities, the Emperor has also been able to learn from his past experiences and will offer advice to anyone who asks for it. As such, he is a charismatic figure in whom it is good to confide. Enlightened by justice and loyalty, an excellent strategist, confident of his strength, this character has all the qualities necessary for material and financial success. He will seize every opportunity to grow his business, boost the confidence of those around him and help them achieve their long term plans. Conservative by nature, the Emperor is the guardian of tradition. Although he may lack in spontaneity, he is there to encourage you to stay focused on what really matters and to push aside anything that could divert you from the path you want to take.

    Interpretation of The Emperor reversed

    As is the case for all the other major arcana in the Tarot, when the Emperor is reversed it highlights the defects of his fundamental qualities. So, self-confidence becomes arrogance, authority despotic power, and diligence apathy. The problem with acting too quickly is you may melt your wings! So you need to take the time to analyze the situation in more detail and opt for a more reasonable, documented and serene approach. Sometimes, this draw reflects the appearance of an ill-intentioned person in your daily life, someone who won't hesitate to take advantage of others to achieve their ends. Abuse of privilege, cruelty and arrogance then take center stage. This could, for example, presage a conflict with a supervisor or emotional problems related to inadequate communication. The analysis of a tarot draw cannot, however, be reduced to the meaning of a single card. To draw some instructive lessons, it will first of all be necessary to contextualize the situation.