THE EMPEROR

The fool’s journey

The Fool has now been given his options by The Magician, chose one with The High Priestess, and learned to develop his chosen path by The Empress. Just like all great ideas, he finds himself overwhelmed by the complexity of his realized ideas. He needs to learn how to manage them better.

The Fool approaches a great Emperor, amazed at the efficiency in which he runs his kingdom. All of the Emperor’s commands are obeyed.

“How do you do it?” The Fool asks. “How do you manage such a large empire so successfully?”

The Emperor responds, “The mind is a powerful tool, capable of processing large amounts of information while still making informed decisions. While a dreamy and creative mind is all part of the process, to get something done you must focus that mind by will. To be in control, one must always observe with alertness and bravery. In a world where your mind and empire must be ruled, aggression can be a useful tool.”

The Fool watches The Emperor and develops a strong skill for leadership and purpose, and leaves ready to lead instead of being led.

Card Meaning

The Emperor’s story is a story of the Divine Masculine. He represents the second arm of the body-mind-spirit triad, that of the mind. The Emperor is the great ruler, representing structure and regulation. He is organized and strong, strict and protective, but has a powerful heart—the archetypal father figure.

He wears a suit of armor under his robes, ready at any moment to jump into battle to protect those over whom he governs. He is quick to remind us that the rules he has exist for a reason. Without laws and orders, the world would fall into anarchy.

The Emperor listens to others, but the final decision is always his. His greatest power lies in his ability to make swift and just decisions. He is not afraid to make tough decisions, including the use of violence, to defend and protect those who reward him with their loyalty.

Like all good rulers, he does not keep secrets or leave people wondering how they stand with him. He is also an exceptional teacher, willing to pass on his experience to the next generation because he wants those who follow him to also be wise, honest, and good.

It may be obvious to say that The Emperor can represent a person, a father or leader, when he appears in your readings, but he can also represent government, legal, or other bureaucratic systems. When he appears, look for those in your life who are in the process of assuming power, and if that person is you, take it as a reminder that you use that power wisely. Be as incorruptible as The Emperor as you discover your own personal power.

While The Emperor teaches the importance of logic ruling over our emotions, it’s important to note that it is not a card of pushing your emotions away. Doing so could result in an imbalance that in our recent culture has been given a name: toxic masculinity. Make sure that you understand the reasoning behind the rules and structures you follow, or it may be time to set aside those rules, or even time to seek understanding outside of the traditional structures in your life, often bending or breaking the rules as you go. Rules that exist for no reason, and that a ruler will not explain are often signs of oppression. A good ruler will not be domineering or inflexible.

Once you master yourself, you can master the world around you. Only then will others give you their loyalty, and look to you for guidance and advice.