the emperor tarot meaning

The Emperor Tarot Meaning For Love, Money and Career

The tarot card meaning of The Emperor is about being an authority, being in control, and having power. 

The tarot cards are a deck of 78 images that have been used for centuries to provide insight into many topics, including love, money, and career. While tarots are not considered to be fortune-telling cards, they can help you gain more knowledge about your life and make decisions based on what you learn. 

In this guide, we will discuss the Emperor tarot meaning of this card.

The Emperor Tarot (IV) Card Numbering

There are 78 cards in the tarot deck, and The Emperor, the authoritarian of the pack, is the fourth card (IV) of the Major Arcana

Did You Know?

Whether you pull The Emperor card as a Past card, a person card, or in pole position in a Celtic cross, it is always connected to masculine energy, power, confidence, and authority. No matter where and with what card combinations, The Emperor is always drawing our attention to these themes. 

Emperor Card Imagery Description

The Emperor is the strong father figure in the Tarot deck. While this imagery description is based on the Rider Waite card deck, this archetype is prevalent throughout all decks. In the Rider Waite, we see the Emperor perched on a stone throne. The throne itself is impressively decorated with four (the tarot card’s number) ram heads (indicative of the Aries sign). The emperor is holding an Ankh, the ancient symbol of eternal life, in his right hand while his left hand is clutching an orb that shows his ruling over the world.

As far as his clothing goes, this too adds to his image as the Aries Emperor in a red robe. The color red is always associated with passion, energy, and power. But that’s not where the symbology of his clothing ends- he wears a suit of armour underneath the robe, indicating he is always prepared and protected in the event of trouble.

The suit of armour is also understood to be indicative of his lack of emotional response. Instead, The Emperor uses logic and reason to govern his world and the understanding thereof. His head is crowned with a golden crown, just in case you forget that he is, indeed, the Emperor. He has a long white beard, which we all know is a symbol of either wizardry or wisdom (in some cases, both). But in the case of The Emperor, his energy is wiser and less wizard (we’ll get to the wizardry with the Hermit and the Magician). 

Emperor Card

All in all, the Emperor is depicted as a strong authority figure that will always be heard, demands respect, and will give you wise counsel (if you yourself are wise enough to listen to it). 

Behind the Emperor and his throne, there is a tall mountain range that fills the background. Like we see in many of the cards, these mountains symbolize solidity. In this case, we can also see the mountain range as something that backs up the emperor and gives us the sense that the emperor’s energy is standing on solid ground.

But with all these masculine elements, we also see a flowing river gently moving below the peaks. This river shows us that even though the Emperor protects his emotions, there is a softer side beneath the tough exterior (this is helpful when drawing The Emperor card as a person).

The Emperor Tarot Meaning for Upright Keywords


  • Leadership
  • Boundaries
  • Authority
  • Father figure
  • Establishment
  • Hard work
  • Someone to look up to
  • Respect
  • Discipline

Strength, power, and control are all attributes of the tarot card meaning for the Emperor. The tarot cards can have many meanings depending on what is found in the accompanying tarot spread. But the strength, leadership qualities, and masculine energy represented by this tarot card mean it typically represents a person who has authority over others or an individual who feels they have control over a situation.

The tarot card of the Emperor is symbolic of the male energy. This card represents a strong, guiding figure that can be seen as either spiritual or political depending on its placement in the tarot spread. The tarot card meaning for this tarot deck has everything to do with power and control, but also responsibility and leadership.

Upright Emperor Card in a Love Reading


  • Stability
  • Grounded
  • Guidance
  • Trustworthy
  • Masculine

What does The Emperor Tarot card upright in a love reading tarot spread mean? It may represent a person who provides stability and guidance that is needed to help their partner grow. They could be seen as an authority figure in the relationship or someone with power over the other—the Emperor tarot card meaning which can be linked to either gender perspective.

This person may provide stability, guidance that is needed to help their partner grow. They could be seen as an authority figure.

Upright Emperor Card Career Meaning


  • Responsibility
  • Accountability
  • Stability
  • Leadership

The meaning of The Emperor tarot card in a career tarot reading may represent an individual who is able to take charge and lead. This person might be seen as someone with power or control over the other people around them at work, but they also have responsibility and leadership qualities that are needed when it comes to their job.

The Emperor tarot card in a career tarot reading can represent an individual who is able to take charge and lead. This person might be seen as someone with power or control over the other people around them at work, but they also have responsibility and leadership qualities that are needed when it comes to their job.

Upright Emperor Card Financial Meaning


  • Disciplined
  • Spending
  • Control
  • Financial Stability

The tarot card, meaning for the Emperor tarot card in a finance reading, may represent someone who is financially stable and has power over their own working life. This individual might be seen as an authority figure when it comes to money, or they could want more control of how their finances are handled.

Emperor Card

The Emperor Tarot Meaning for Reversed Keywords


  • Rigidity
  • Domineering
  • Too much control
  • Inflexibility
  • No discipline
  • Overbearing

In finance and romance readings, it’s important to note how you’re feeling about your relationship or feelings at work. Reversed tarot card meanings can represent the individual’s feeling of vulnerability and insecurity because they feel like their partner has too much control over the relationship, while in career tarot readings, it could signify an individual feeling vulnerable or insecure.

An individual who feels they are in charge or has authority may find themselves feeling out of control when The Emperor tarot card turns to reverse. This can lead to feelings of insecurity and vulnerability. This tarot card meaning also represents someone who is stubborn, emotionally detached from others, and stuck in their ways.

Reversed Emperor Card Love Meaning


  • Emotionally unavailable
  • Imbalance
  • Overbearing partner
  • Suppressed feelings

The reversed Emperor tarot card has similar meanings when for many questions and different readings. An individual who feels as though they are not in charge of what is happening financially might also feel like their partner has too much control over the relationship. The tarot cards represent a person who might be stubborn, emotionally detached from their partner, and stuck in their ways. 

If you are in an existing relationship, drawing a reversed The Emperor tarot card is an indication of overbearing qualities and someone who is too controlling. This could be either you or your partner- this depends on your question as well as the other cards in the reading. 

While the reversed Emperor card is not necessarily an awful omen, it does indicate an imbalance in control, suppressed emotions, or relying too heavily on an authority figure. 

If you’re inquiring about where or how you can work on yourself to be more emotionally available or trying to understand the root cause of issues in love and relationships, the reversed Emperor card could indicate that you or someone in the relationship may have father figure issues that are being projected into current relationships. Remember, healing our inner trauma and hurt helps us to have healthy and wholesome relationships. 

Reversed Emperor Card Career Meaning 


  • Unsettled in career or at work
  • Insecure about skills
  • Stubborn
  • Loss of control at work

The tarot cards can represent someone who might be stubborn, emotionally detached from others, and stuck in their ways. The tarots may also signify an individual’s feeling of vulnerability or insecurity because the individual feels like they have lost control at work. It could also represent a feeling of insecurity in work or a lack of needing to work.

Emperor Card

Reversed Emperor Finances Meaning


  • Vulnerability
  • Insecurity
  • Lack of mindset
  • Feeling a loss of control over finances

An individual who is symbolizing the Emperor tarot card could feel as though they have lost control of their finances, and while this tarot reading might represent someone who doesn’t work because they’ve been paid enough or has ample support, it can also represent a situation where an individual feels like they are not in charge of what’s happening financially.

This person feels as though they have lost control over their finances. The reversed Emperor tarot card also signifies an individual’s feelings of vulnerability and insecurity when it comes to finances. 

Emperor Card for a Person

When pulling The Emperor card for a person, it could indicate a personality that is competitive, ambitious, and highly regarded. This person is most likely a logical thinker, making decisions from a basis of realism instead of emotion. This person might be a tough nut to crack, but inside there is a river flowing of emotion.

As the Emperor card carries strong masculine energy, you would be forgiven to assume this is a card for an Alpha-male. While this may be the case, it can also denote a woman that has a strong masculine, protector, and warrior energy. A person typical of The Emperor card is ambitious, competitive, confident, honest, and always ready for a confrontation should the need arise. 

Emperor Card

Emperor Card for Past, Present, and Future

Emperor Card for Past

If you draw The Emperor card in the past position, it could mean that you have had a positive male influence in your past. By showing up in the present as the past position, the message is encouraging you to make the most of the lessons this positive masculine influence showed you and use those lessons along your current path in life. 

Emperor Card for Present

Did you have someone you looked up to when you were a kid? If you draw The Emperor card in the present position, the chances are high that you’re about to meet someone that carries the same symbolism as a childhood hero. It could also indicate that you are being guided by a fairly new person in your life, someone that is helping you shift your perspective into one that is more aligned with your highest good or one that feels more aligned to your passions. Although this type of energy can be embodied by anyone of any age or gender, it is likely that this is an older person with years of experience transmuted into wisdom. 

Emperor Card for Future

If you receive The Emperor card in the future position, then you might be on track towards a new shift in your mindset. There may be an inclination towards a more traditional and conservative approach to life. Whether or not this is deemed positive is irrelevant to write here because you will have to see for yourself and decide how it will impact your life and your relationships. There is also a strong chance that these developments could have political connections given The Emperor’s archetypal role.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Question: Is The Emperor Card a Yes or No card?

Answer: We can typically take The Emperor as a Yes card, indicating a strong guiding presence for the decision. This is particularly true when the question concerns career, finance, and relationships. 

Question: What does it mean if I keep seeing The Emperor Card?

Answer: If the Emperor card keeps popping up, then you could be on the precipice of a major breakthrough. Basically, you’re about to level up, so buckle up and enjoy it! This is typically prevalent in a career context. 

Question: What Zodiac Sign is Connected to The Emperor Card?

Answer: The fiery Aries sign is connected to the Emperor card. This comes as no surprise since the Aries zodiac carries strong masculine energy, much like the Emperor card. Both the Aries zodiac sign and The Emperor card are connected to strong leadership tendencies. 

Question: What important card combinations are there with the Emperor card?

Emperor and the Four of Wands

Wands are one of my favourite suits of the minor arcana. The Four of Wands is particularly joyful, as it is symbolic of being close with family and happy celebrations. But when it is combined with the Four of Wands, there is the possibility for a different kind of joyous occasion. The Four of Wands and The Emperor, especially in a love reading, could indicate a connection with a powerful man. And yes, by connection I am subtly referring to marriage. IS marriage on the cards? Well, if you pull the Four of Wands with The Emperor card, then it could very well be!

Emperor and the Six of Pentacles

The Pentacles suit is an interesting suit connected to wealth, abundance, finances, and other things of the sort. When the six of pentacles is combined with The Emperor, it indicates that there is a connection to a donor or a donation for a charity organization. This combination could indicate that a substantial donation of some sort is on the horizon. 

Emperor and the Two of Swords

The Swords suit can often be an indication of conflict, but this doesn’t always have to be a negative thing. The Two of Swords is a beautiful card (although it might send shivers down some readers’ spine) as it indicates a balance of both positive and negative forces. The secret to this balance? Well, that can be found with diplomacy. And who better to accompany and lead with diplomacy than the political father figure of the Tarot deck, The Emperor himself. When you receive this two-card combination, it indicates that you should err on the side of cautious wisdom. You or someone in your immediate circle might come head to head with some conflict, and you should think carefully, be diplomatic, and act wisely if you want to resolve it. 


The Emperor is the father figure of the Tarot deck and can shed a calm and wise light on situations. I have a rebellious heart by nature, so my relationship with The Emperor is wry, and I find myself smiling at the lessons this card brings. The Emperor can help you remember diplomacy and teach you the value of following the rules (especially if you’re a rebel like me).

The Emperor also has a strong protective energy and teaches us how to use armor to protect ourselves and our emotions- but don’t get out of touch with the emotional nature. And if you have been going through a deeply transformative and emotional period, then The Emperor is here to show you how to protect yourself and that it’s okay to be strong, and maybe even to keep an eye open for a wise elder. 

Either way, I hope The Emperor tarot card encourages you on your path like it does for me. 

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