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What does the Emperor Card mean in Tarot?
The Emperor, Major Arcana, IV

If the Emperor card appears in your life, whether in a reading, or as a random coincidence, know that life is sending you one big unmistakable signal. And it’s about the way you organize and live your life and experience your relationships.

The Emperor, in his positive aspect, symbolizes law, structure, order, stability, financial viability through budgeting and planning, disciplined relationships, being well-organized and realistic about your life. He stands for the concrete actions you take, the tangible results you receive, and the visible signs of success you achieve.

In his negative aspect, the Emperor symbolizes inflexibility, laws that lag behind the reality on the ground, rules that ignore people’s real needs, a strict budget that kills all the fun, relationships that succumb to expected roles, shallowness that pushes people to fit into gender, class, race and other categories, stripping people of their spiritual connection, spontaneity and joy.

The Emperor is one of Tarot’s most powerful cards – perhaps not as terrifying as the Death or the Devil, or not as mysterious as the Moon – but just as impactful nonetheless. While it’s not a card that deals with the vast subconscious or the collective archetypes, its importance lies in just how much its message affects every hour of your every day, every minute, down to every breath you take. Because the way you organize your life influences every moment. Are you a detailed to-do list freak, or at the opposite extreme, do you never pay your bills on time?

the emperor tarot lovethe emperor tarot love

What Does the Emperor Tarot Card Mean for Love?

The Emperor card in a love life reading indicates a soul agreement whose terms aren’t enriching your soul. You can’t go back and change the imbalances, mistakes, and hurts that happened, but you must recognize how your contract is hurting you in the present moment, and work to renegotiate, resolve or break it.

Identify the areas in your relationship where there’s clear imbalance of giving and receiving. If you are always the giver, or the receiver, you are not in an “adult-adult” relationship. It’s an adult-child or child-adult arrangement where one side takes care of the other. This holds true for finances, emotions, verbal support, sacrifices, compromises and everything else you may be doing to please your partner.

If your contract states, “the longevity of the relationship is more important than my needs,” than you’ll be in a long-term relationship but in a deprived state. If, on the other hand, your contract states, “my needs come first. My partner just has to deal with this,” then you’ll find a very giving partner, someone who’ll do anything to meet your needs but will resent the whole thing in the meantime.

If you don’t know the terms of your contract,
take a pen, sit down and begin to write it.


What would your written contract look like? Is responsibility equally shared? Is love equally experienced? Is it a contract that you and your partner would both consciously agree to? How would you rewrite those subconscious clauses that don’t serve you anymore?

If in your love life reading, you get the Emperor and Empress Tarot combination, it’s an even clearer sign that expected roles mean a lot to you and to your partner. That form means more to you than substance. You may not be ready to change things, and that’s okay – simply start by being aware.

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What Does the Emperor Reversed in Tarot Mean?

The Emperor reversed means totalitarian pressures, perhaps by a strict father figure, an overpowering spouse, or a society or government that doesn’t let you just be. It could also mean your own values – the ones you picked up as a child, from religion, social expectations or other rules, that you internalized as your own. Today, they affect your life joy.

Perhaps you have this deep inner desire to prove yourself and this prevents you from enjoying your day-to-day activities. You can’t just go ahead and paint – you think you have to be a Picasso right away! Or you want to write a book but you think you should be topping the best sellers list asap, otherwise your work isn’t worthy. Others’ evaluations of your work means more to you than simply enjoying these activities.

Let go of your inner critic and just enjoy life!

Zodiacal Association

The Emperor card is associated with Aries. Zodiac’s most passionate, confident, fiery, strong and sometimes stubborn sign.

If you have difficulty manifesting your dreams,
if visualizing is easy but implementing is difficult,
the Aries energy can help you move your
spiritual energies down into the world.

Aries energy is the gate to creating the life you want with purpose. As the first sign of the zodiac, it’s astrology’s first energy manifestation. So, meditate on the Emperor, or observe the zest your Aries friends or relatives have, and you’re sure to kindle some of that fire in you too!

The Emperor card features very little water (emotions and subconscious). It features a lot of fire instead – just look at the oranges and yellows that make up the background. If this card appears in your life, or if you feel particularly drawn to it, then it may be time to work on your solar plexus (third chakra) by wearing gold and yellow, do some ab-work, and breathe into your belly. These exercises will awaken the Aries in you – remember, we have all 12 energies of the Zodiac inside, whether dormant or active.

Aries also symbolizes a child-like energy as the first sign of the zodiac. Find joy in the things you do, rather than trying to prove anything. Put your to-do lists aside and enjoy life.

by Kasamba staff

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