The Emperor

The Emperor in the Tarot of Marseilles

Sign: Aries - Youth, energy, sewing seeds

Card description: 

A crowned man sits in profile on his throne. A phoenix decorates the base of his seat. In his right hand, he holds a scepter of sovereignty which is topped by a globe and cross. From his neck hangs a green pendant on thick gold braid. The mantle of state is draped over his shoulders. Mountains rise behind him against a clear blue sky.

His crown is also a helmet, indicating he has seen battle. His scepter represents his authority. The globe and cross on top of it indicates that his power reaches to all corners of the globe.

The phoenix at the base of his throne is a symbol of rebirth, resiliency, and a fiery will. The pendant around his neck is green to symbolize health and heartiness and to hint that this ruler sees over a productive and happy kingdom, since his health is linked to the health of the land.

The mantle of rulership on his shoulders indicates that his rulership is accepted as fact. His legs are crossed, in an approximation of the glyph for Jupiter, representing expansion and growth.

Card meaning:

The Emperor symbolizes the generative powers. He plants the seeds in the fertile soils of the land. He is the land’s defender and life source since if his health fails, the land will fail with him. He also reaps what he sows.

He is seen in profile, looking towards the Empress, his partner in creation. He is the penetrative half of the creative act.

Like the Empress, his authority is absolute, and his stewardship results in the smooth functioning of his domain.

His rule is strict yet fair and he comes prepared to right wrongs and distribute justice.

By his very nature, the Emperor expands and expounds upon everything he encounters. The plants growing at his feet are evidence of his success. He is physically strong and unafraid to fight for what is his.


Set your boundaries and defend them. Get out in front of the situation and take a leadership role. Don’t hesitate to let your expectations be known. You can be the initiator that gets things moving through willpower alone. You may be called upon to defend your opinions or decisions, but you have the authority and internal strength to do be a success. Learn to think on a larger scale. Be aware of how your actions set the example and impact others.

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