The Emperor Tarot Card Meanings

The Emperor tarot card image
The Emperor (Reversed)

Ideas: Exceptions, foundation, modification

Traits: Adaptable, benevolent, considerate, flexible, forgiving, generous, kind, patient

Emotions: Caring, compassion, neglect, sympathy, tenderness

  • Actions:
    • Allowing occasional exceptions
    • Becoming more relaxed with others
    • Building the foundation of a structure
    • Considering other points of view
    • Developing fatherly qualities within yourself
    • Helping others without question
    • Ignoring mistakes without punishment
    • Modifying the ways of doing things
The Emperor (Upright, Balanced)

Ideas: Authority, boundaries, regulation, structure

Traits: Assertive, determined, logical, masculine, orderly, protective, responsible, stable, strong, systematic

Emotions: Contentment, enjoyment, enthusiasm, optimism, satisfaction

  • Actions:
    • Being in control of yourself and others
    • Communicating clear guidelines
    • Defining limits
    • Directing the flow of work
    • Exercising authority
    • Leading others by example
    • Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries
    • Tempering aggressive masculinity with wisdom and experience
The Emperor (Upright, Excessive)

Ideas: Dictatorship, insistence, micromanagement

Traits: Aggressive, authoritarian, critical, egocentric, impatient, rigid, selfish, stubborn

Emotions: Anger, annoyance, disappointment, dislike, displeasure, frustration, grouchiness, grumpiness, irritation

  • Actions:
    • Adhering to rules no matter what
    • Assuming a dictatorial mindset
    • Crushing the creativity of others with a rigid, iron-fisted approach
    • Insisting on getting your own way
    • Micromanaging
    • Shunning others’ codes of conduct
    • Taking care of your own needs only
    • Using overt force to achieve your goals and maintain order

The Emperor’s Advice

Personal Growth

In what ways do your attitudes towards authority seem to be shaped by your relationship with your father? A mature person recognizes that structure and authority are a requirement of civilization. Some resist purely out of habit or stubbornness; when you buck the system, be sure you have good reason to do so.


Without becoming false or deceptive, you can regulate your feelings and reactions. Beware the need to always be in control; a healthy relationship incorporates a fair division of labor. Be on the lookout for subtle (and not-so-subtle) efforts to wear the pants in the relationship.


Efficient groups depend on centralized control. Seek ways to direct the flow without micromanaging the process. Encourage leaders (including yourself) to step up to the plate and embrace their obligations. Control what you can; don’t worry about the rest.


The stereotypical view of religion casts organized faith in restrictive terms. Rather than be constrained by structure, consider how structure and discipline might enhance your spiritual experience. Seek guidance and direction from those who have walked the path before you.

Other Tarot Card Meanings