General Interpretation and Meaning of The Emperor - Upright & Reversed

by astrology valley Oct 25 2021

The fourth trump of the Major Arcana is the Emperor  Tarot card. It is the symbol of the ultimate Male ego, and he is the absolute ruler of the world, topping the societal hierarchy. It is associated with rules, regulations, systems, and order in one's life. He stands for an old man who is certainly powerful and wealthy. 

He reflects rigidity and stability. He is seated on a throne adorned with four sculpted ram heads, reflecting his association with the astrological sign, Aries. He is the authoritarian father figure holding the position of sole protector and stoic ruler who is wise and of worth. His wisdom is reflected by his long grey beards. The long grey beard of the Emperor signifies his vast experience and learnings of life, through these, he has managed to rule and establish power, authority, and order for the benefit of his children and people.  

On one hand, he is holding a scepter or ankh, the Egyptian symbol for life. Here it represents his reign and right to rule, and on the other, he carries an orb, which is a symbol of the kingdom that he protects. He is wearing a red robe representing his power and passion. Under it, he is dressed in full body armor to show that he is fully protected. There is nothing that can pierce through him and make him vulnerable. And his gold crown establishes his royal worth and stature. 

In the background, we can see high altitudes of barren mountains, representing his ambitions and expectations, as well as determination and rigidness. There is a small water stream flowing from the mountain range, which shows that despite his stern and tough outside, on the inside he is an emotional being. But that side cannot be easily penetrated. 

The Emperor is the archetype of a father figure, protective, egoistic, and stubborn. 

General interpretation and meaning of the Upright Emperor Tarot Card 

When The Emperor is picked in an upright manner, it can reflect many significant things about your life, especially your personal life. It can show that you are guarded by a protecting father figure who is grounded yet stubborn. It can be someone with whom you are romantically involved and who is much older than you. You are attracted to them as they are capable of managing you and your problems while providing you with a secure and stable shelter. This card can also suggest the parental issues with your father due to differences in age, thoughts, and opinions. He is a man of discipline and strictness. So, fun and frolic would be kicked out of your life. And this will hamper your self-worth and self-esteem. 


The father's issues might keep you away from accepting who you truly are. The upright Emperor can also show signs of fatherhood in a native. The Emperor card shows the importance of logic over every other thing, be it relations or emotions.  

He stands, rather, sits sternly over his power. He commands and handles your every step. This card is all about the power of The Emperor as it reflects his authority, ability, and fatherliness. 

His wisdom and thinking skills make him stand apart. He can see through you and show you the path. He is the paternal figure who cares and creates the rule, who teaches and imparts knowledge, and who reigns and serves his kingdom. He wants to be heard and obeyed, but he is also rational. 

Love & Relationships (Upright) 

The upright Emperor card shows your inclination towards older men. It reflects that you get into a romantic relationship with someone older than you as he is in a stable position in life. This person may not be the romantic kind you aspired for. But their logical mind and responsible nature are enticing for you. You feel safe and reliable around them. 

It also suggests that you should be vocal and stern about your feelings and emotions. This card is also a sign of long-lasting stable relations and monogamy. 

Money & Career Interpretation (Upright) 

In the context of a career, the upright Emperor shows good things. It is a sign that your hard work and efforts will be acknowledged and appreciated. It will fetch you bonuses and rewards. It shows that your courage, confidence, and consistency will finally pay off. It can be a sign that you will receive guidance from a phenomenal old person, or you will get a chance to assist them and learn new things in life. 

It will show that money and success are flowing your way, and you have to handle it practically. 

​Health Interpretation (Upright) 

In the context of health, the upright Emperor reflects that you are pushing yourself too hard. It is hurting your body to the extent of giving up. Your rigidity and enthusiasm for toughness cannot always help you. You need to relax and rethink your ways of life. You can follow a strict physical regime even without over-stressing your muscles. 

It warns you that you should not neglect your doctor's advice. 

​Spiritual Interpretation (Upright) 

The upright Emperor Tarot can suggest that you were neglecting your knack for spirituality to show your rigidness. It is your call to pay attention to your spiritual inclinations. It asks you to not let your logical side of the brain take up all your emotions and sensitivity. It is your inspiration to follow spiritual ways of life. 

General interpretation and meaning of the Reversed Emperor Tarot Card 

The reversed Emperor, on the other side, is your call to resolve your issues related to power and authority. It suggests misuse or abuse of power against you. It can suggest that you are being dominated by an authoritative figure, perhaps a father figure, older male relative, boss, or partner. They are trying to impose their beliefs and perceptions on you. It also hints at your deeply troubling father issues that root back to childhood. It can also indicate your misuse of power over others. 

It is your signal to reassess what power means to you. And what is its significance in your life? If your power is making others powerless and vulnerable, then you need to change your way of exercising power. Exercising power does not always need to be dominating. Furthermore, it can also reflect that you are giving up your power and authority to please someone undeserving. 

The reversed Emperor shows your incompetence to rule. It reflects that you are weak when it comes to exercising your control. And when you do, you overdo it. It comprehends that a powerful authority can overrule you and your actions. The authoritative figure in your life will be trying to give you life lessons, but their nature of dominating you will restrict them from imparting knowledge. They have no place for emotion in their heart, only logic and reasoning can pursue them.  

The reversed Emperor can also signify that the father figure in your life was absent or is about to abandon you. They will disappoint you. Sometimes this can be a metaphoric sign that tells you that you are allowing your heart to overpower your head. You lack self-control and resilience. It is your call to refocus on logic and practicality in life.  

Love & Relationships Interpretation (Reversed) 

In a relationship, the reversed Emperor shows the power imbalance between you and your partner which is the sole cause of all your quarrels. It can show that you are being dominated by your partner, and at the same time, it can show that you are imposing yourself on your partner. It shows that you are transforming into a crazy control freak.  

If you are not in a relationship, then the cause of your singlehood is your deep embedded father issues. You need immediate counseling, or else you will lack your faith in monogamous relationships. 

Money & Career Interpretation (Reversed) 

For your career, the reversed Emperor is a sign that shows your lack of determination and consistency. Your inability to focus will hinder your work efficiency. It suggests that you need good guidance or else you should lookout for a new job full of freedom. It can also suggest your disinterest in following orders or assisting a dominating boss.  

Your finances lack organization, so this card is a sign that you need professional guidance in money matters. 

Health Interpretation (Reversed) 

The reversed Emperor indicates your compulsion to follow a strict lifestyle full of difficulties, which is ultimately causing stress and pain. It reflects that you are pushing your body too hard to get the desired results. The stress is disrupting your sleep cycle and causing more nuisance in your head. This card will suggest that you need to relax your rigidity and mold your routine life a bit to make space for a healthy lifestyle. It can also indicate the need to involve discipline in your lifestyle. 

Spiritual Interpretation (Reversed) 

The reversed Emperor represents your knack of following an alternative spiritual goal. You are eager to explore new perspectives of life, and you are in dire need of meeting an eminent spiritual guru.  



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