Number 4 stands for stability, organisation and foundations. The fourth card of the Major Arcana is the totem of true mastery, the fearless and visionary leader, The Emperor. He is the father archetype of the Tarot deck. Related to the astrological sign of Aries, a Fire Sign, it speaks of strength, male energy, ambition, activity and domination. Representing someone in the position of authority, usually a mature man who is without conceit, The Emperor is perhaps a father figure, a stable individual who can be relied upon to give good advice and who supports your efforts.
The Emperor Tarot represents authority, strength, leadership, worldly power, discipline, father figure, security, wisdom, and, rules.
In the Rider Waite deck, The Emperor Tarot shows a mature male figure seated with his back straight, on a Ram-headed throne (seat of authority and power). Ram (symbol of leadership, courage and aggression) is the sign of Aries, the God of war. There is a lot of red in the image, which speaks of his passion and energy for life. Red is also the colour of Aries, which is a Cardinal Fire sign. His long, white beard and hair are the symbol of age, wisdom and experience. He wears a crown, signifying ruling prowess and authority; he also holds a scepter in one hand, and, an orb in the other. He wears armor that protects and shields him physically and psychologically.
The mountain range seen in the background speaks of his resistance to making any changes unless he thinks it is absolutely necessary. The small river indicates that despite his tough exterior, he can still be emotional.
When The Emperor comes up in a reading, it is suggestive of a strong, stable, mature man who has a structured mind. The card may refer to such a person who is taking away your power, making you feel powerless and that it is now time for you to take back your power. You need to define your boundaries. It could also suggest that you need to be like The Emperor and not compromise with your conscious, in order to achieve what you are aiming for. But before you take any step, make sure what you are fighting for is worth the effort.
The Emperor Tarot card meaning changes when the card comes reversed. It could indicate that there is a loss of power and you get no credit for any sacrifice you make. The decisions you take to defend others may be unwise.
In a Business Reading
In work-related readings, The Emperor could hint at a male figure that is dominating and making you feel powerless. It can also suggest that you need to make your business more structured, stable and efficient. You may need to assume the role of a leader and take responsibility for other people. You have the potential to be successful and you may be entrusted with money or material resources.
Those in jobs would do well in law, finance or management.
For those who are already in a relationship, The Emperor suggests that your partner could be a headstrong, fiery and determined Aries, who could be currently rendering you powerless through lust, domination or control. It could also suggest a partner who is mature and financially stable, but emotionally undemonstrative.
When The Emperor comes up for singles, it may suggest a father figure who is controlling and not allowing you to mingle.
In a health reading when The Emperor tarot card comes up, it is indicative that you are normally blessed with good health, thanks to your strong immune system. But when you get unwell, you really need to work on it by following professional advice. You are reluctant to do that because of your confidence. You need to look out for ‘mid-life crisis’ by keeping stress at bay.