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Major Arcana Card - The Emperor

Jul 23, 2023

The Emperor is Numbered four in the Major Arcana


Fathering, guiding growth, Structure, Reliability, Creating order out of chaos, Categorizing, Being systematic, Coordinating, Authority, Leadership, Commanding, Exerting control, Setting direction, Regulating, Law and order, Following a regimen

A few opposing cards

  • Empress - Mothering, free-flowing abundance
  • Seven of Cups - Dissipation, lack of order
  • Five of Swords - Bending the rules, breaking the law

A few reinforcing cards

  • Hierophant - Conforming to rules.
  • Justice - Justice and legality
  • Four of Pentacles - Control, structure, order


The figure of the emperor sat facing forward, looking directly at us says much about the essential qualities of this card. The emperor is a stern, commanding figure seated on a stone-slab throne. His back is straight, and his eyes meet ours directly. He is confident of his complete authority to rule.

The emperor represents structure, order and regulation - forces to balance the free flowing, lavish abundance of the Empress. He advocates a four-square world where trains are on time, games are played by rules, and commanding officers are respected. In chaotic situations, the emperor can indicate the need for organization. Loose ends should be tied up, and wayward elements, harnessed. In situations that are already over-controlled, he suggests the need to loosen off the constrictive effect of those constraints.

The emperor can represent an encounter with authority or the assumption of power and control. As the regulator, he is often associated with legal matters, disciplinary actions, and officialdom in all its forms. He can also stand for an individual father or archetypal Father in his role as guide, protector, and provider.

The Message we Take from the Emperor

As the counterpart to the empress, the emperor represents the father figure, reigning through wisdom, order, authority, power, and control. Thus, he personifies the material world, structure, and order, and balances the Empress' abundance and pure instinct.

On an emotional level, the emperor card signifies the confirming of established feelings, tightening of links among beings, and self-respect.

The emperor sits in a hard and cold environment, with a stern expression on his face, which implies his masculine power and fatherly responsibilities. The emperor is a wise man who is well in control of himself. He relies on his own intellect when making decisions and is not easily influenced by others. He is well-respected by others and will probably represent someone that holds a position of power and authority.

The emperor speaks about the quality in a man that pushes him to build a materially solid and stable environment in which to live. He therefore represents the ambition which drives us to strive to make our lives great and ultimately successful. The emperor reflects the essence of masculine energy, the driving impulse to build and create, to follow rules, and structure. His energy is forceful, dynamic, and life-giving.

The emperor is a reliable figure with the natural instincts and abilities to be a loving, responsible father, he is protective, considerate, and compassionate. The emperor is a card that symbolizes fathering and fatherhood. He has strong willpower with the ability to be caringly authoritative.
He is realistic, therefore in many cases drawn to symbolize a successful businessperson, that is generally open to suggestions and advice, that will also gladly give credit to those who work with or for him. The emperor is a kind man, fair in his dealings with others and is very law abiding.

The emperor shows great persistence and tenacity in the face of adversity, and indicates focus, willpower, and purpose, he brings you the energy you need to get tasks done.
The emperor has within him the wisdom from Ancient Egypt, this is shown through the Ankh and the Globe, he has with him, which are the Egyptian symbols of life and dominion.

The staff or globe he holds also indicates his power in the spiritual realm. The emperor sits on a throne which is fronted by two ram’s heads, indicating an association with the astrological sign of Aries.
The golden crown worn by the emperor represents wisdom. The clothes that he wears represent the qualities of strength, authority, achievement, leadership, and self-mastery. The emperor sits on a hard solid throne which represents wisdom.

With the influence of Jupiter, the planet of expansion on all levels, the emperor asks you to look at the future and to be mindful of how you intend to grow and improve yourself. He says draw wisdom from your experiences, learn life lessons through these experiences and these will in turn help you expand and grow.
Scorpio, being related to the emperor, brings in the desire to want to succeed and grow and brings you the wisdom to make this possible. Scorpio’s key phrase is, ‘I seek myself through what I desire’.

The emperor holds the number 4, which speaks about hard work and building solid foundations. The energy of the number 4 propels us forward and quietly, but firmly, to get our own way in any situation. It also asks that you take the time to contemplate the advice that you give to other people because there is a good chance that this advice may also be taken personally.

The combination of the energies of the number 4, coupled with the vibrations of the emperor, promotes one to work towards harmony, responsibility, and discipline. This energy also brings with it structure and an organized plan. The energy of the number 4 also depicts high standards, honesty, and courage.
The symbol of the number 4 is the square. The square is the symbol of law, system, and order.
The emperor asks us to explore the order of higher planes, and to learn how responsibility and discipline affects law and order on the earth plane. The emperor can formulate ideas from a particular standpoint, and to effectively translate them into reality.

The stable leadership and authority of the emperor are not to be questioned. The emperor reminds us of that rational thought, willpower, and fearlessness yield recognition and achievement in general. Through strength he creates and builds, material things, families, communities, and gives them structure, projects are put on a solid foundation.

In a Reading

When the emperor appears in your reading, he may be indicating that it is very important to maintain inner-balance and to be able to rely on yourself.
He also predicts that there is going to be some sort of changes that will be obvious in your life.

The emperor, appearing in a reading, may also be showing that there is a connection to a position or figure of authority. It may also be a signal that you should take control over a situation or in some instances over other people.
The emperor can also be a sign when drawn that this is the perfect time for new opportunities to present themselves and wants you to recognize whether these opportunities are based on solid foundations, because if they are they should bring success. This card therefore asks you to act without delay - but also wants you to be adaptable and to allow for change and be willing to act.

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