Ancient Egyptian Study Group - IV The Emperor


Amun-Ra is portrayed as the Emperor. As the male counterpart to the Empress, he represents the masculine forces of the universe; whereas the Empress is complete without the Emperor, he needs the complementary strength of the Empress.

Amun-Ra was the joining of the gods Amun (seen in the Fool), Ra and Horus (who had already been joined into Ra-Herakhty). He was officially Amun-Ra, King of the Gods, Master of Thebes.

He wears scarlet and gold colored clothing. Scarlet represents lust and encourages excitement. It's the color of sexuality, physical vigor, passion and vibrancy. Gold represents faith, constancy, wisdom and glory. It is solar magic and fosters an understanding and attraction of the powers of cosmic forces. It's also a symbol for persuasion, wealth and financial freedom.

The Emperor is associated with Aries, the sign of the ram, which rules the head and face. Because the ram was considered a symbol of fertility because of its rutting behavior, the ram's head mask that Amun-Ra wears suggests his procreative powers.

The symbol for Mars appears on his garment because Mars rules Aries. Atop the mask is the solar disk, which shows that he's a sun god. His beard shows his kingship and virility.

Also atop the mask is the uraeus, the image of a rearing cobra. The uraeus was a symbol for the sun, the king and a number of deities. The cobra was also called "the fiery eye of Ra."

He sits alone in the desert on his golden throne, which symbolizes the Emperor's authority. The legs of the throne end in animal's feet, each of which rests upon a gold cylinder, showing the stability of his rule.

He holds a Waas scepter and a sword in his hands. Both are symbols of his strength, authority and power. Taking the elements represented by the Minor Arcana suits into account, water is nowhere to be seen (either directly or indirectly) in this card, highlighting the Emperor's lack of emotion.

The throne sits upon a cubic stone; therefore, it's between heaven and earth, just like the semi-divine nature of the god-king. The cube represents the Emperor's control over matter and is the solid foundation of his rule. Although it's mostly covered by sand, it's a symbol of stability, durability and the eternal. Cubes represent truth because they appear the same when viewed from each side.

The dryness of his surroundings highlight his need for the balancing influence of the Empress. (Compare the barrenness of his surroundings with the lushness of hers.)

There is an entrance to a tomb behind him to the right, but I'm not sure of its significance in this card.



Numerically, the 4 of The Emperor linked to the 13 of Death: 1+3=4. As Emperor, he wields the power of life & death over his subjects. & not immune to death himself.

Thus, the tomb seems to allude to the mortality of man; & that of the god-king.

Aside from the karmic, death a leveler of all creatures.


Thanks MeeWah! After I finish my astrological study of the cards, I'm going to study various arrangements of the Major Arcana. Hopefully I'll be able to make some of these connections on my own. :D