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The Emperor


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The Emperor can be referred to as The Patriarch. As The Empress is representational of the prime maternal energy and the matriarch of the Tarot, The Emperor  is its father, grandfather, judge, jury, and executioner. This man’s authority is absolute. The inclusions of kings and queens and emperors into the Tarot reminds us that it was created in a time long gone, one where kings and queens lorded over all of the other residents of an area, usually under the guise of “protection.”

For complete information on this card including how to use it to manifest your desires keep reading below, or please try out a copy of The Easiest Way to Learn the Tarot—EVER!! and Advanced Tarot Secrets.

The Emperor Description

Quick! What do The Emperor and The Devil have in common?

(Hint: They are both allegories for authority figures and you have probably worked for both of them at one point.)

Okay, so this guy is not “pleasant,” but he is “the boss.” He sits on his stone throne bearing the symbols of Aries (the astrological sign, not the god Ares). He is the prime patriarch in the Tarot. His rule supersedes even the Kings of all of the suits because the emperor in any feudal “empire” is the overlord, not just the reigning monarch of a particular province. This is a man of action: scarlet robes, burgundy sash, armor worn on the throne, and attentive posture that is poised to spring at any moment.

Esoteric Interpretation

The Emperor – The Morgan Greer Black Border Tarot Deck

This card represents the prime patriarchal force: "the boss." It is the law handed down from on-high, or the law-giver, depending on the situation and  question being asked (in your reading). This is the card of authority, and those who wield it. When it comes up, we can interpret that there is a potent bias, strong opinion, or ordained belief about the situation at hand. This card exudes Capricorn energy, with all of the tyranny, gravitas, and elemental weight of Saturn (see: "lead").

While the Wheel of Fortune and Justice deal with matters of "the law," and karma, this card represents the authority figure itself. This could be a person, an event, or an entity (see below). 

Traditional Meaning

Government. Any male authority figure: boss, judge, executive, decision maker, father, Cardinal (priest). This is the card of judgment or command (lawsuit, parking ticket being issued, summons, meeting with a “superior,” etc.) and also of the person or authority behind that command or judgment (e.g., “the IRS”). In still other words: it is the act of being told what to do, and the person who tells you to do it. As harsh as this may seem at first, it is this very structural dominance that makes this the card representational of the person or authority you would go to when you seek grievances against oppression or abuse.

As a quality in a person, this card speaks of leadership ability, resoluteness of mind, capable use of logic and command-decision ability. This is not a person easily swayed by random emotions nor sob stories. A good manager, a reliable person of great character. As an action, this could be the issuing of a decree, or sagely advice. The Emperor implies the experience of age; and if this card is well aspected, then wisdom accompanies that experience.

Traditional Reversed Meaning

Tyrants, dictators, corrupt public officials, vastly overpaid bosses. Also overregulation of a situation, micro-management, abuse of power and authority.

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