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The Emperor According to A. E. Waite

The Emperor

The Meaning of the Emperor Tarot Card in Divination


Here is what the occultist Arthur Edward Waite, co-creator of the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, had to say about the Emperor Major Arcana card in divination.





The Emperor Tarot Card

4. The Emperor, by imputation the spouse of the former. He is occasionally represented as wearing, in addition to his personal insignia, the stars or ribbons of some order of chivalry.

       I mention this to shew that the cards are a medley of old and new emblems. Those who insist upon the evidence of the one may deal, if they can, with the other.

       No effectual argument for the antiquity of a particular design can be drawn from the fact that it incorporates old material; but there is also none which can be based on sporadic novelties, the intervention of which may signify only the unintelligent hand of an editor or of a late draughtsman.


Inner Symbolism of the Tarot Emperor Card

He has a form of the Crux ansata for his sceptre and a globe in his left hand. He is a crowned monarch - commanding, stately, seated on a throne, the arms of which axe fronted by rams' heads. He is executive and realization, the power of this world, here clothed with the highest of its natural attributes.

       He is occasionally represented as seated on a cubic stone, which, however, confuses some of the issues. He is the virile power, to which the Empress responds, and in this sense is he who seeks to remove the Veil of Isis; yet she remains virgo intacta.

       It should be understood that this card and that of the Empress do not precisely represent the condition of married life, though this state is implied.

       On the surface, as I have indicated, they stand for mundane royalty, uplifted on the seats of the mighty; but above this there is the suggestion of another presence. They signify also - and the male figure especially - the higher kingship, occupying the intellectual throne. Hereof is the lordship of thought rather than of the animal world.

       Both personalities, after their own manner, are "full of strange experience," but theirs is not consciously the wisdom which draws from a higher world. The Emperor has been described as:

       (a) will in its embodied form, but this is only one of its applications, and

       (b) as an expression of virtualities contained in the Absolute Being - but this is fantasy.


Divinatory Meaning of the Tarot Emperor Card

Stability, power, protection, realization; a great person; aid, reason, conviction; also authority and will.


Reversed: Benevolence, compassion, credit; also confusion to enemies, obstruction, immaturity.


More about the Emperor Tarot card



The Major Arcana Tarot Cards According to A. E. Waite

  1. The Magician

  2. The High Priestess

  3. The Empress

  4. The Emperor

  5. The Hierophant

  6. The Lovers

  7. The Chariot

  8. Strength

  9. The Hermit

  10. Wheel of Fortune

  11. Justice

  12. The Hanged Man

  13. Death

  14. Temperance

  15. The Devil

  16. The Tower

  17. The Star

  18. The Moon

  19. The Sun

  20. Judgement

  21. The World

  22. The Fool






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