The Emperor: Are you Ready to Wear your Crown?

Think of a male figure in your life that you respect and honour. The first person that pops into your head embodies the energy of The Emperor in your life. 

A woman can be represented by The Emperor, too. Don’t let gender roles limit you. A woman can have more masculine energy than feminine and likewise for a man. I have learned to let go of gender stereotypes and think of people more in terms of masculine and feminine energy. For example, if you are a woman, you may need to tap into the energy of The Emperor to bring structure and stability into your life or assist you with being a strong leader.

From teaching the Tarot for close to a decade, I’ve realized that people, especially women, can have a strong reaction to The Emperor because the card traditionally represents a masculine authority figure, such as a Father. I personally love the energy of the Emperor, but understand why this archetype’s energy can trigger people negatively, particularly if issues from the past have not been resolved. When you witness a person having a strong reaction to The Emperor or any other card, please know in your heart space that the emotions and memories being triggered are a gateway for healing.

What careers are associated with The Emperor? Perhaps firefighters, police officers, CEO’s of multi-national companies, entrepreneurs, mangers or Presidents & Prime Ministers of countries.

The Emperor doesn’t always have to be a person! Step outside of the box and think about The Emperor in more modern day terms, and you’ll find a connection to transnational corporations. The world is no longer controlled by Emperors that rule over kingdoms, but instead by corporations that cross international boundaries and have the power to control the economy and even the political atmosphere in certain countries.  Nowadays, Kings and Queens do not truly rule the land like in the past, as most are head of state figurines (yes, I meant figurines, not figures) with little to no power. Therefore, The Emperor card can also indicate a connection to an international or large business, in which a person might be climbing the corporate ladder. Depending on the position of the Emperor in your spread it, may indicate that a person is or will be employed by a large corporation in the future. Always keep in mind that the position of the card in your spread determines if the energy is from the past, present or future.

The number four represents strong organizational skills, stability, and structure. The Emperor has all these qualities, thus he is the number four in the Major Arcana. Being a leader isn’t about giving out orders, instead it is about knowing how to motivate others to get things done to achieve long-term goals. Leadership requires a high level of organizational skills in order to foresee any challenges or weaknesses in the future, a skill set that The Emperor has mastered.  He is not only a symbol of structure and stability, but also perseverance and confidence which are qualities required for any empire or business to grow successfully.

Rider-Waite Smith Tarot

The Emperor isn’t like any of the Kings from the Court Cards in the Tarot. He’s a wise man that has worked hard to achieve his goals gotten. He wasn’t raised with a silver spoon in his mouth and has never had anything handed to him on a silver platter. All you have to do is look at the armour on his feet to know that he’s fought battles and overcome challenges to be in this powerful position. He wasn’t born with the world in his hands, but had to hustle to create opportunities for himself that now come effortlessly, signified by the golden ball in his hands.

In the Rider-Waite Smith Tarot, the crown that the Emperor wears is adorned with diamonds and rubies, which were worn by many rulers, especially in the Middle East and in India. He holds the Egyptian Ankh in his left hand, as he is protected and knows his legacy will live on long after he has passed over to the other side. The Ankh is also seen as a phallic symbol, therefore a sign of procreation.

The Emperor is an alpha personality, who isn’t afraid to take a bull by the horns. In other words, The Emperor does not do well being a passenger in most situations, as he loves to be in the driver’s seat because he is able to steer the direction he and others are headed in. The ram heads on his throne pay respect to Aires, which is the first sign on the Astrological Wheel and ruled by the Element of Fire. As you can tell, he’s a natural born leader much like the astrological sign, Aries.

The Emperor is not short on life experience that is for sure, as that long white beard of his didn’t grow over night! He is also confident, powerful, and passionate and perhaps a bit fiery, thus red is the perfect colour for his garments. The energy of The Emperor is of a man that people respect as not only a leader, but also as a well trusted adviser.

The landscape in the background is of a mountainous terrain with a desert climate. The Emperor isn’t afraid of a harsh environment, as he is able to use his skills and experience to make even a desert bloom with abundance and life. The Emperor has the power to push through any challenge that life throws his way!

As I connect with The Emperor card from The Wild Unknown Tarot, I notice that the energy is different from the traditional Rider-Waite Smith Tarot interpretation, as a coniferous tree represents the traditional male authority figure. The coniferous tree is hardy and does not typically shed unlike a deciduous tree, which loses its leaves during the fall. Thus, the coniferous tree is a constant in nature, remaining the same despite the seasons changing.

The Sun is beating strong behind the tree representing the connection to the Sacred Masculine, as the Moon and the night are traditionally associated with the Divine Feminine as in The Empress. I adore Kim Krans interpretations of both The Empress and The Emperor as the two compliment each other, as does the Sacred Masculine and Divine Feminine.

The Wild Unknown Tarot

Trigger words & phrases:

  • Strong male figure with alpha qualities: Father, Boyfriend, Husband, Boss (lady bosses included)
  • Embrace the yang energy in your life and within yourself
  • Employment opportunity at a corporation with opportunities
  • Divine Masculine or a God, such as the Green Man or Shiva
  • Asserting healthy boundaries
  • Structure
  • Stability
  • Authority
  • Leadership
  • Protection
  • Power

How you view the cards is subjective and is influenced by what is happening or has occurred in your life! Other valid meanings for the card do exist, and I believe the best way to connect with the Tarot is to understand the energy of each card and how it triggers your intuition. So, what energy does The Emperor represent for you? What are your trigger words & phrases?

How does The Emperor mingle, move & shake with the other cards?

The Emperor brings the energy of confidence, protection, and other traits connected with the Divine Masculine to a Tarot spread. For example, if the Three of Pentacles appears in a spread with The Emperor then you are being given the seal of approval, as you are on the right track in regards to financial and employment opportunities.

The Emperor’s energy is much different with the Three of Swords, as you are being given guidance to take a leading role in finding the inner strength to move forward regarding a difficult situation that is causing too much chaos and grief in your life.


Affirmations for The Emperor . . .

“I make decisions based on my gut feelings and heart space, not from my ego.”

“I assert healthy boundaries with respect and gentleness.”

“I accept my power in order to embrace the Divine Masculine within me.”


Crystal Medicine for The Emperor

The Emperor appears to be strong, secure, and stable despite the weight of the world on his shoulders. The man is confident and relies a great deal on the wisdom that he has earned through the years as leader of his tribe. The Emperor knows from the past that he needs to drop into his heart space before making any final decisions, as what may seem logical is not what is always right. To assist him with connecting to his Heart & Root Chakras, he uses Ruby in Zoisite, a powerful crystal that blends the energies of the two Chakras. When he need strength to stand in his power, he relies on garnet, ruby or any red crystal.


Embrace The Emperor . . .

  1. If you are struggling with organizing your schedule or another area of your life then ask yourself how would The Emperor handle your current situation? Be open to receiving your answers and then taking action to resolve the situation.
  2. Connect to the fiery astrological sign of Aries by lighting a candle to honour the Element of Fire. Contemplate about how you can tap into the energy of The Emperor, as you gaze into the candle. Perhaps, do a little research to find out more about the traits associated with Aries.
  3. Spend time with a masculine figure that you respect. The person does not need to be male, as females can embody the energy of The Emperor as well. Does the person that you chose have a similar attitude to The Emperor? What traits do you admire in them? How can you develop those traits within yourself?
  4. Hold The Emperor card between your hands and connect to the archetypical energy of the card and take note of what intuitive impressions you receive. Don’t dismiss any feelings, visions, or thoughts that you experience as Spirit often communicates with us through signs and symbols.
  5. Wear the colour red and connect to red crystals, such as garnet, ruby, red jasper when you need to bring in the energy of The Emperor into your life. You can also create a crystal grid using stones that are associated with power, protection and confidence.



Download The Emperor Tarot Spread to dive deep into what this card means for you!

You are invited to join The School of Gypsy Arts Online Community to continue the discussion and connect with other Tarot enthusiasts!

Love & Blessings,

About The School of Gypsy Arts

Sharron weaves together her personal experiences and teachings from Paganism, Core Shamanism and other traditions to create unique experiential workshops & events. She is a six sensory intuitive guide, meditation facilitator, certified crystal healer, reader of the Tarot & Tea Leaves.


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