What does the emperor tarot card mean?

Main image for The Emperor

The emperor is part of the Major Arcana deck of tarot cards.

Card IV

The Emperor is a powerful, stoic figure who exudes confidence. He is clearly somebody of great authority and his stern patriarchy is the complete opposite to the attitude of the Empress.

He is a father figure with years of wisdom and experience to impart on those who ask for it. His throne is decorated with rams heads, representing the astrological sign of Aries, a strong and powerful fire sign.


The Emperor represents authority and control. He is a symbol of masculinity and could symbolise an actual male figure in your life who you can go to for help. Or, it could symbolise your desire to be somebody with his status and authority.

You are ambitious and determined to succeed.

If you are facing a difficult challenge, you need to have confidence and focus, and you will push through and come out on top. You have the ability to achieve your goals if you put your mind to it.

Reverse Meaning

Reversed, this card suggests that there is an abuse of power or authority in your life at this time. This could be from somebody like a parent, boss, or partner.

You may feel powerless and like things in your life are out of your control. Perhaps you are dealing with a difficult situation with a governing body or people in authority.

This reversed card suggests that you should stand up to the person with the power and challenge them.

On a personal level, this card in reverse represents your own lack of confidence and self-control, and these are things you need to work on so that you can take back the power and control in your life.

Other Major Arcana Cards