The Emperor

the emperor tarot card meaning
Card image is from The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck published by U.S.Games Systems, Inc.

Meaning: Structure, Stability, Rules and Power

The Emperor is the fifth Major Arcana card in the Tarot (but his number is four) and he is confident, courageous, grounded and knows exactly who he is. While he enjoys the structure of a well laid plan and the stability of a strong will, the Emperor isn’t as boring and rigid as one might initially assume. The Emperor is a rebel at heart, one who may go against the grain of society and make his own rules to follow, rather than someonelse’s.

The Emperor is here to awaken your inner rebel and remind you that ultimately you do not have to follow anyone’s rules but your own! He has strong boundaries and a clear, rational mind. He knows what he wants in life and knows he can achieve it with clear intention and determination.

At times he may be stubborn and have difficulty seeing the big picture, or others viewpoints, feeling that his way is the right way. He sometimes forgets that true power does not come from forcing others to submit to his way of thinking. While The Emperor is the original maverick, a true pioneer and trailblazer, his major challenge is remaining powerful and true to himself while allowing others to be as they are.


  • It is time for you to honour your rebellious spirit and channel your inner Emperor
  • You may be trying to impose your will on another
  • You are coming into your own power and developing a strong will


  • Where in your life are you like The Emperor?
  • Do you truly allow others to be as they are? Or do you judge them and feel that they would be happier if they were more like you?
  • How can you feel more safe, powerful and comfortable in your own skin today?


  • Write down your deepest values and the impact that you want to have on your community (or the world!)
  • Practice allowing yourself to be who you are and others to be who they are, without worrying what others are doing or how they may react to you
  • Get organized! Develop a plan – get clear on your intention and write your goals down.

More Tarot Card Meanings…

12 thoughts on “The Emperor”

  1. I just found out about Tarot birth cards. I’m always looking for information to understand and help myself. I’m a woman and was put off that the Emperor is my card. The overview and explanation of the elements of this card have helped me feel better about this influence. I have been stubborn to my detriment but also for protection. Thank you.

  2. Thank you for this description! I pull a card everyday to see where I’m at. The emperor is me to a T and yes, the struggle is real! Thankfully before I even pulled the card I acted in the highest form of the emperor, Yay!

  3. Dear Kate (I saw your name on an above reply – you are the Daily Tarot Girl?)
    Thank you so much for this post. I really needed confirmation – or at least, peer support – for my contention that The Emperor is a rebel, activist, anarchist. The only other major arcana card that is like him is the Hierophant reversed. The Emperor can become a dictator in his zealousness if he’s not careful. He can end up being just as tyrannical and totalitarian as those he seeks to – or does – overthrow. Nevertheless, your post has given the Emperor back to me and for that I am grateful. I also love how you describe his major challenge, which is not easy for The Emperor, but necessary.

    1. Hi Freda!
      Yes, I am the Daily Tarot Girl (for some reason my website won’t let me change my username to that!)
      Anyhow, I am so glad that this interpretation of The Emperor really spoke to you – I was very much inspired by the Osho Zen Tarot deck and book in this regard – it helped me see the emperor in this new light 🙂

      1. Hi Kate

        thanks for the reference – Osho Zen is gorgeous, I’ve never seen it before but I’m going to get a copy now.


  4. Emperor is connected with Mars and is ruled by Aries. Aries is the first sign of the Zodiac and denotes leadership and initiative. Mars energizes all other planets in the zodiac. Mars governs the masculine element and is known as the warrior planet, it covers sexual powers, courage, energy, action, protectiveness, and valor. Mars also governs sharp instruments, fire and anything combustible, and if Mars is too energetic, emotional outbursts could erupt. If harmonious, Mars assists with endurance and determination. Mars is also connected the Tower.

    Love Ingie

    1. Hi Pam, sorry I don’t know much about astrology. But I will leave your comment up and maybe someone who is an astrology/tarot expert can give you some insight.

    2. A Pisces who is immature can only see how the world affects them and gets very emotional when the harsh truth of how their actions affect others comes out. Often a Pisces “can’t handle the truth!” haha. A mature Pisces can look in the mirror and still love themselves and others despite where they are and realizes they tend to be emotionally driven and allow the emotions without creating walls of division.

      A mature Leo is very much like the emperor in his/her highest form when dealing with people and tough situations. A mature leo can see their own faults, others faults and let them go. Leo is always down to rebel!

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