The Spiritual Meaning of the Emperor Tarot Card

The Spiritual Meaning of the Emperor Tarot Card

Getty/Wieland Teixiera

The Emperor represents traditional masculine energy in both its positive and negative aspects. Learn more about what it means to pull the Emperor tarot card.

The Emperor tarot card generally shows a very masculine figure sitting on a throne, holding a scepter and wearing a crown. A bright red robe covers a suit of armor. The Emperor’s throne is decorated with two rams’ heads, associating this card with the energy of Aries, the first of the astrological signs, whose great power kicks off the spring season (March 21-April 19).

Warrior Energy

Aries is the warrior of the zodiac; he is the one who brings fiery energy, ready to get done what needs to be done. The Emperor, as a warrior, has won the fight and claimed his kingdom. His suit of armor indicates he is ready to fight for it at any moment—and he is not interested in settling or softening into this role.

The Emperor represents the archetype of the masculine figure of power. He rules with strength and confidence, and his realm is physical and material. He doesn’t have a lot of time for emotions, and his thinking is direct and relatively black and white.

When this card appears for you in a spread, you may want to ask yourself about your own relationship with these qualities within yourself. How do you connect with the energy of a king, warrior, or emperor in your life and work? Do you need a little more of this energy? Do you like this aspect of yourself?

Systemic Authority and the Patriarchy

In a tarot spread, the Emperor can also speak to larger systems that impact the choices we make. The Emperor is a pretty good metaphor for the systems of patriarchy and capitalism; the Emperor is, essentially, “The Man.”

You may want to ask yourself, then, how systemic authority is showing up in your life, your work, and the question you came to the cards with. How are you impacted by a society that tends to prefer the more traditionally masculine qualities of aggression, intimidation, and power? How easy is it for you to work within the rules that are given to you, even and especially in terms of your gender?

Masculine and feminine are archetypal in the Tarot, which means they represent symbolic truths rather than literal truths. We may very well question what it means that assertive qualities have traditionally been assigned to men and the masculine. The Emperor may even show up when you have questions about sex and gender, masculinity and femininity, and how we relate to these energies within ourselves.

Emperor power is just one type of power, even if it’s the one that tends to be most favored in patriarchal society. More feminine cards like the Empress remind us that there are less visible forms of power, like gentleness, kindness, abundance, even emotional vulnerability, that could also help us to move forward.

A Father Figure

The Emperor also represents the symbol of the father. As you’re looking at the card, ask yourself if you relate to this character or if he reminds you of anyone. That will indicate whether the cards are speaking to an aspect of yourself or a relationship with someone else in your life—including your own father or the father of your children.

The concept of fatherhood may or may not be literal in your tarot spread. You may have some issues to consider around what you think it means to be a father or how your own father may be impacting your decisions now. You may also want to consider whether you’re feeling like you need a father figure or another strong masculine person to come and help you with whatever you’re dealing with.

Overall, the Emperor holds the archetypal meaning of masculine energy and how it relates to power in your life. If you’ve pulled this card, ask yourself how you relate to these energies and how this supports you (or not) in your journey.

Dive into the spiritual meaning of the Empress tarot card.

The Spiritual Meaning of the Emperor Tarot Card

Enjoying this content?

Get this article and many more delivered straight to your inbox weekly.