The Emperor – Tarot Meaning Deep Dive

Welcome to part 5 of my 22 part Tarot Meanings Deep Dive series – each week we explore ONE major arcana card and uncover it’s secrets, symbols and messages.

Today we’re diving into The Emperor – perhaps one of the most misunderstood figures in the Tarot. Everyone thinks he’s a stuffed shirt, but he’s actually quite the rebel!

Have your pen and notebook handy, grab yourself a drinky-poo and get comfy….

Keywords

Father archetype, authority, sovereignty, power & control, stubborn, maverick, rebel, trailblazer.

Symbols

Ram’s heads (Aries- aggression, war), Throne, long beard (wisdom, experience)

The dark side of The Emperor

Being overly stubborn, inflexible and rigid. Wanting power and control over others, to compensate for feeling powerless and out of control on the inside.

1. Sovereignty

The Emperor, in his highest, most positive expression, has complete power and authority over himself. He lives by his own value system and set of rules – always doing things his way. Forging his own path, he becomes a trailblazer and some may even see him as a bit of a rebel.

Journalling questions:

♥ Where in your life have you been a bit of a rebel?

♥ How comfortable are you with self governance? Are you always looking for a set of rules or a formula for doing things?

♥ What values and rules do you use to “self-govern”?

2. Stubborness

There’s a time and place to be stubborn and dig in your heels, but sometimes this can be a fault if you’re totally inflexible all the time. The wise Emperor knows when to be stubborn and when to be flexible. The unwise Emperor derives his sense of self from maintaining a “my way or the highway” attitude at all times, closing himself off from people, experiences and growth.

Journalling questions:

♥ How stubborn are you? How has it served you?

♥ How has it stunted you? (Think of an example of when you were stubborn and later regretted it).

3. Power & Control

The Emperor is all about stability, power and control. A wise and healthy Emperor is a master of himself who practices self control and cultivates inner power. A dysfunctional Emperor lacks self control and inner power and so he seeks power and control over others, becoming an oppressive dictator who is obsessed with draconian laws and mandates.

Journalling questions:

♥ What is your relationship with power and control like?

♥ When you are put in a position of authority, how do you feel?

♥ When someone else is in the position of authority, how do you react?

The Wisdom of The Emperor

The Emperor advises you to turn your desire for power and control toward development of your self, not the control of others. If you notice yourself wanting to change or control others, it’s time to check in with yourself and observe how you’re using your own power.

The wise Emperor tells you that when you focus on developing the power within, as opposed to power over others, you become empowered and sovereign. This makes you capable of walking your own path, charting your own course and being a wayshower to others – becoming a powerful figure in your own right!

Tell me your thoughts!

Did you enjoy this exercise? Did you learn anything new about The Emperor? Or about yourself? Let me know in the comments below…

♥ Join me next week as I dive into The Hierophant – stuffy and uptight on the outside, but a fascinating wealth of knowledge on the inside!

4 thoughts on “The Emperor – Tarot Meaning Deep Dive”

  1. Hi Kate,
    Great insight into The Emperor. I get the feeling that you know all of the Arcana archetypes personally like your family members. I love the way you explain how reflective the cards are to the reader as well as the person being read to. I think this the most important aspect of this series of videos, helping us seeing and understanding ourselves.

    1. I’m so glad you’re enjoying this series, Greg! As I prepare to do each video, I’m getting an even deeper understanding of each card and I do feel like I really know them personally 🙂 I think the neatest thing that happens when we start to study the cards is that we learn things about ourselves in the process -that’s the beauty of studying Tarot!

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