Major Arcana of the Tarot - Part IV
0 - The Fool, I - The Magician, II - The High Priestess, III - The Empress
The fourth card of the Tarot is the Emperor. Four is the number of stability: four walls, four seasons, four corners. But while the strength of the Emperor is stability, his weakness is the risk of stagnation.
The Emperor has changed very little through the ages, although in some of the early decks that were subjected to censorship his number was III instead of IV, because of the removal of the High Priestess or Papess card. In some decks he is given the number II because The Magician card was removed as well.
The Emperor is seated on a throne of grey stone that has been adorned with four rams' heads. These heads represent determination, action, initiative, and leadership. The throne faces away from a range of barren mountains along a shore. The sky is orange, but it is unknown whether it's showing sunrise or sunset.
The Emperor himself has a long white beard, symbolizing age and wisdom. On his head lies a crown giving no doubt that he is the ruler. In his right hand he holds the Egyptian symbol of life, an Ankh, while in his left there is an orb that represents the world he rules. We can see under his red and orange robes that he's still wearing his armor, suggesting that although his position on the throne says that the conflicts that put him there are settled, he is still prepared to do battle if need be.
The Emperor is the paternal influence of the deck and most individuals will relate to this card in the same way they relate to any father figure. At his best the Emperor gives his children the structure they need to help them becomes responsible adults, signifying a intelligent, charismatic leader everyone wants to follow. At worst he can be a tyrant, impatient and demanding, imposing his control on those around him. His appearance in a reading indicates the longing to rule over one's surroundings although the subject may need to accept the fact that some things can not be controlled, nor should they be.
The Emperor sometimes represents something that needs to be overcome. It could be a rigid way of thinking that needs a more flexible approach, or it could be there is some external force that must be accommodated. You need to pay particular attention to your organization and follow-through, taking a logical approach. If you're looking for work you need to step outside yourself to see how others see you.
This card can be a warning that the realm you've established has become an unwelcome chore, that you've become a bad leader who's demanding and unreasonable because you're unhappy. It might be time to search for a new realm. Or perhaps you're still in the process of establishing your kingdom and it's time to establish a better plan for the future. Be a leader.
In the past the Emperor represents an authority figure who laid down the law that helped establish your personal code of acceptable behavior. If you're in a secure position right now, you have this person to thank. However, this person could have abused their authority, which is why you now find yourself alone and confused.
The strongest position for the Emperor to be in is the present. It's telling you to have absolute confidence when moving towards your goal. But beware because it could also represent the influence another person has over you right now and you are allowing their way of seeing the world to dominate your own perspective.
The weakest position for The Emperor is in the future. Though the days and weeks ahead are somewhat vague, you should anticipate a change that will happen in a daring manner. New demands will be coming your way in the near future so it's best to be prepared.