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How to Read the Emperor Tarot Card

Learn how to read the Emperor tarot card from expert Ellen Goldberg, M.A. in this Howcast video.


Hello, I'm Ellen Goldberg and I welcome to you to a Tarot Moment from the School of Oracles. In this segment, we're going to take a look at The Emperor. The Emperor is the divine consort of The Empress. One might say that they are the Magician and the High Priestess once they have become a wedded pair. Look how similar the names are, Emperor and Empress. The word emperor means "he who sets an order" and where the empress represents imagination, he represents reason and seeing things as they really are and having a really firm grip on the world as it is. He is ruled by Aries, look at the redness in this card, look at the rams on his throne. He is power, but he's not in uniform, he's not wearing, uh, steel armor, and he doesn't have his court with him. He's out there in nature by himself because he rules by inner power. Of course, as Seneca tells us, "to rule is really to serve", and this is who he is. In his highest form, he is divine reason, the Logos. He is the great father, whereas the Empress is the great mother. The Hebrew letter that is associated with this card is "hey" and hey means "window". Look how is he combined with the Empress, she's the door, he's the window.

And a window is something that puts a real boundary on what we see, it constitutes things for us, our vision is focused through it and yet, it lets in light and air. It also shows that you have outlook, a way to view the world and in its way, "hey" intonates that divine reason and order is the basis of the universe. When you get the Emperor in the high polarity, why, you know that you are seeing things as they really are. That you are taking care of things, that you are using power in a good way. Lao Tzu, in the Dao teaching, advises us that when a leader has done his work and the people have followed him, when the work is complete, they think that they have done it all themselves. The Emperor in his finest form is not power mad, but truly helps the people.

When he's in his lower form, then certainly he is not seeing things as they really are, he is deceived by appearances, and then all of the negative, masculine, archetypal associations, they're right there: machismo, making war, anger, being irrational. When you get the Emperor in a reading, ask yourself "What kind of inner emperor is ruling my world? Is it calm? Is it stable? Am I seeing things in accord with reality?" You know, that's another definition of sanity. This card is a very excellent card to meditate on when you want to put your own house in order. Of course, without the Empress, he is sterile and barren, and she without the Emperor is just a wild mother nature run amok and overgrown. They are always best, operating in an alternating current. Through the School of Oracles, this is Ellen Goldberg. Bye for now.

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