Hanson Roberts - IV The Emperor


This is a difficult card to quantify- for me, at least. :)

A man with a laurel crown is sitting on a magnificent chair. He holds a scepter (shaped like an ankh, the egyptian symbol for truth) in one hand and a globe in the other. Golden rams' heads decorate the chair back and arm rests. He is middle-aged, dressed in regal robes.

This card is the essential male--he could stand for the querent's father, husband, brother, boss--some male with authority. This man is the leader/father of the Tarot. He has great responsibility and power and uses it wisely. If the Empress is about emotion, then the Emperor signifies the pre-eminence of the intellect.

To men, it may show the idealized male role model--loving dad, passionate husband, tough successful guy at work--he brings home the bacon! The Emperor is never caught out by an unexpected layoff, or kids that won't behave. He is in control.

To women, it may indicate this figure in their life, or his energy in their life. The emperor shows control and mastery--is the Querent a control freak? ;) Are they developing mastery? Perhaps they have been promoted to a position where they have more authority over others.

In fact, nearly every person has a point in their life where they must excercise authority over others: be it kids, a committee, the PTO, or a regular poker group. Dealing with power over others, and having others with power over us is a universal human experience, even though we may like to pretend that our relationships are free of power plays. This card asks us to consider how we use our power, and indicates when we may need to re-think our strategies.


Hi, Lurea and group! I am going to try to get back into the swing of the HR study group, starting today!

I agree with Lurea. The Emperor symbolizes authority. I'm thinking father and boss, but also the rule of law--a judge or president or government. He is up in the mountains--an EMINENT personage! And look at that expression on his face. This is one serious dude!

Here are some ideas from the book for Cosmic Tribe, which I have been studying. The Emperor is Aries, which is the first sign of spring (the vernal equinox). This links the E with the return of the full force of the sun, a masculine symbol. The E, as the one in charge of law and order, including the order of time. Aries is the first sign in the zodiac, the first time in which time is divided into an orderly procession. The scepter and orb are masculine and feminine symbols. The E uses the fiery scepter/wand of civilization to mold a home for us using the raw materials of earth (the orb/globe).

Just some thoughts. I hope they're not too disjointed. See ya round the study group.


You know I did a Dark of The Moon spread last night and this card came up in the what I have to give up position, now I am an Aries but never really felt like one so I'm not sure what to give up! I see this card as a very masculine card and as there is a lot of red in this card I would say this person is very passionate about what he belives in, but I also see him as some what ridgid one who is not easily swayed. The Anck he is holding shows he is aware of the otherwordly side of life and the orb the world he rules, I think the throne shows he is a stable honest man but don't cross him! I also feel the Ram heads show that he can be quiet stubborn in his ways.


Isn't the scepter also the symbol for eternal life? He reminds me more of a Egyptian Pharoah than an Emperor. It also looks like he has scales around his neck. Like a dragon. What is that on his shoulder?

Astraea Aurora

I find this depiction quite strange. First, it always makes me think of Julius Caesar. And second, I think he's holding a crystal ball in his left hand instead of a globe. I know it's supposed to be a globe but it really looks like polished glass to me, super reflective and throwing rainbow colors all around the room.

What does this tell me about my understanding of the Emperor? *grin*

Astraea Aurora :grin:

Astraea Aurora

Mateo06 said:
It also looks like he has scales around his neck. Like a dragon. What is that on his shoulder?

Looks like scales to me as well. Maybe it's like an armour to him, emphasizing that nothing can harm him. It's blue, the color of loyalty and trust. As an emperor he has to be sure of his men's loyalty, to defend him in any situation.

The thing on his left shoulder could be an embroidery of a ram. The upper bulky part could be one of his horns.

Astraea Aurora :grin:


I thought of the orb as a crystal ball, and related to the ankh possibly in that he can always reveal the truth.

like a father with the authority to make a daughter confess that she really snuck out the night before even though he never even says a word.

absolute authority
judge jury and executioner
the rule of law.

every time this card comes up I feel like i'm in trouble for something.

Ann Yu

He looks so strict.
Opposite with The Empress. Our Mother is sitting among the full-growing nature. He's sitting among rock moutain.
He's old and wearing a olive crown, "saint" and victory.
He's wearing an armour inside (war) but outside is a red coat (power, royalty).

The crystal ball - he knows everything.

What about the key? He has power to open everything!

The two lions have to stay lower than him.