Emperor Tarot Card Meaning

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This post covers the Emperor Tarot Card Meaning in the traditional tarot deck. Featured card is from the Tarot of the Ages deck

Planet: Mars energy

Astrology: Aries – Dynamic manifestation, energetic growth, birth of new potential

Element: Fire

Hermetic Kabbalah Element: 15 – heh

Emperor Tarot Card Meaning


  • Aries energy
  • Authority, assertiveness, confidence, vigor, structure, authority, rules and control
  • Mind over heart, mind over matter.
  • Experience and knowledge.
  • Forge ahead.
  • Rules without emotion and not easily influenced.
  • If The Empress is about the organic positive forces in life like creativity and passionate rule; the Emperor is about structure, logic, stability and authority. “The Father” – masculine energy.

Emperor Tarot Card Meaning In a reading:

  • This card asks what world are you building and why? Who is in control?
  • The querent should step into their power, take charge of their life and do what is needed to achieve the thing.
  • Get serious and practical about budgeting, organization, goals, planning etc.
  • It can mean that the querent’s rational mind is in charge instead of intuition or it can mean the need to take better control of one’s life.
  • Finding pleasure in order. Helps understand purpose of rules.
  • Responsibility for sharing wisdom with the world.
  • Confidence, stamina, knowledge.
  • Often comes up when there is a need to reorient to authority or if dealing with authority currently. Or the need to see the kingly power within themselves.
  • Confirmation that the querent has what it takes – they have the courage and stamina- time to take that seriously. Permission granting card – “its your time, you can do it.”
  • The querent is receiving validation to do the thing.
  • If 5 of swords or 7 of wands (combative conflicted energy) also out – definitely refers to shadow side of the emperor.

Symbolism in the card:

  • Ram Head – Aries / Mars
  • Armor – protected / war / emotionally shut off
  • White beard – wisdom
  • Ankh – eternal life / virility
  • Orb – ruling his world
  • Red Robe – passion, power, masculine energy
  • Crown – authority
  • Mountains – resistant to change / solid foundation
  • The number “4” – stable cube but it can also be brittle
  • Older man – gained wisdom or absolute power has left him corrupt (we don’t know for sure)

High expression

  • Navigating positive structure
  • Authority in a collective (in a positive way)
  • The alpha Wolf that makes the pack feel calm.
  • It is an energy of practicality, taking stock, strategic thinking and is decisive action

Shadow side

  • Patriarchy, master/ servant dynamic.
  • Lack of control and the need for self-discipline.
  • Positive direction is needed.
  • Controlling and / or stuck in ego.
  • Using others as a means to an end.
  • My way or the highway.
  • Authority messing with you. Domination. Inflexible. Narcissism.

Magical Uses

  • Fire magick.
  • Cultivating will (Mars).
  • New moon – set intention to strengthen will.
  • Include structures on your alter
  • Dress in a way that makes you feel powerful
  • Stand taller.

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“The Emperor” card from the “Tarot of the Ages” Deck (1988). Illustrated by Mario Garzio

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