A Lesson in Power with The Emperor in Tarot
There is quite a bit of psychological, metaphysical, magickal, and medicinal wisdom we can gain from using tarot cards. Let’s take a look at and study The Emperor in the Major Arcana. Take a few moments for yourself to get acquainted with our next archetypal figure—the divine masculine counterpart to The Empress. The Emperor leaves the immediate impression of stability, strength, dominance, and decisiveness. He may seem even a bit rigid at first glance. But it’s not that rigidity you’re sensing—it’s a sense of confidence in himself. If you're sensing an overwhelming amount of rigidity, it may be something mirroring back at you that you could look at further. Something you may feel you lack, but can also have?
The Emperor represents our greatness and what we’re capable of. But he also calls us to find discipline within ourselves to achieve the greatness and success we seek. The Emperor knows that with great power comes great responsibility. He does not squander his power, he knows his value but doesn’t boast or use his power recklessly. He wields his power and strength carefully, decisively, and intentionally.
The Throne of Rams
As you can see, The Emperor sits upon a throne decorated with ram heads. Rams are connected to the astrological sign of Aries, which The Emperor is also connected to. Aries rules the warrior fire within and gives this card’s energy one of independence and personal power. The Ram symbolizes power with wisdom intact. Therefore, it’s safe to say that The Emperor does not represent overnight success—but got to where he is with time and experience. He had to come into contact with his own powers and abilities and learn how to use them effectively. That is how he earned the throne. The gray color of the throne also stands for balance and sanity—which connects well with this archetype in that he is rational and thinks deeply before making a decision or taking any sort of direction.
Golden Crown & Scepter
The golden crown and scepter also represent knowledge put into action, and actions creating experience. That experience overtime lends to this figure's wisdom which is golden and valuable to him now. More so than he ever knew before! The scepter being in his right hand (the masculine side) represents the strong masculine energy of this archetype. Strong, healthy masculine energy is confident, responsible, focused, logical, stable, and moves with direction. It is protective, clear thinking, and assertive. The crown and scepter are representations of all he’s gained and worked towards in his experiences!
Red symbolizes vital energy, action, assertiveness, life force, and masculine energy. It is dominant and dynamic, warming, and stimulating. All the good, healthy energy that this strong masculine figure brings with him.
Combining Gold and Red
Gold is the color of the “God” or divine masculine, whereas the red is symbolic of the earthly masculine. This combination of Gold and Red represents the connection between the God-self and the human self. The connection between divine masculine and being a man. Gold on a magickal and holistic level also brings transformation and light to the darkness within us. Red activates and stimulates us to get going during times of procrastination, indecision, and sluggishness.
This is the fourth card in the major arcana and represents stability, building, fitting in, making sense, home, structure, and discipline.
The planet connected to The Emperor is Mars—the planet of courage, passion, strength, breaking negative cycles that hold us back, and assertiveness.
The Emperor’s Magick and Medicine
The magick and medicine of The Emperor in tarot is that of power. Knowing our power, rediscovering what power is and means to us, and patiently cultivating it rather than expecting immediate or fast results. Power is something we all have, but how we use it will greatly be displayed in what we continuously manifest in our lives and how we go about our lives as a whole.
Working with The Emperor
What does power mean to me? How do I personally define it?
What negative beliefs do I have that I need to clear about power?
What positive beliefs do I have about power that I need to build on?
Meditate with The Emperor
Sit, stand, or lie down (whichever feels most comfortable for you), and light a red or black candle. Gaze upon the imagery of The Emperor for about five minutes (you can go longer if you desire). See him sitting on his stable throne. Clad in red material, bathed in gold. Observe the way you feel The Emperor would observe, place yourself in his energy. Keeping the answers to your contemplative questions in mind, ask for the wisdom you need on how to heal, cleanse and redirect your power as needed so that you may use it wisely. You may remain in this meditative state as long as you need to in order to receive the guidance you’re looking for at this time. When you feel ready to leave this space, give thanks for The Emperor's wisdom, count backwards from 10 and record the messages and impressions you’ve received. Write out a solid, doable and practical plan for yourself moving forward.
This piece was written and contributed by:
Jennifer Pennington PhD.
Holy Shift! Tarot
Jennifer Pennington is a registered Minister, Metaphysician & Holistic Educator in the state of Pennsylvania. She has traveled all throughout the tri-state area and wherever else the divine Mother & Father have guided her so she can share her love of EveryBody Wellness Practices.
In her free time she enjoys visiting her local bookstore, farmers markets, thrift shopping, cuddling her kitties and watching supernatural horror movies with her husband, Brian.
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