The Emperor

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The Emperor (Ⅳ)
RWD 04 Emperor.jpg
Type Major Arcana
Position 4 (Ⅳ)
Symbol The Emperor symbol.svg
Letter hei ה
Color Red
Direction Northeast
Astrology [[astrological sign::Aries]]
Note C

A tarot card. Position 4 in the Major Arcana.


Rider Waite deck

He has a form of the Crux ansata for his scepter 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 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 will in its embodied form, but this is only one of its applications, and as an expression of virtual realities contained in the Absolute Being--but this is fantasy.


self consciousness, reason, sight

Accept the wisdom and authority of the superself.

Reversed Meaning

Immature emotions, obstructions to plans.


  • Links Chokmah to Tiphareth as path number 15 of the Tree of Life
  • Yetziratic Intelligence - the Constituting intelligence
  • Organic Time - Deoxyribonucleic Acid The linking of hydrocarbon chain molecules into a divisible and replicating spiral form. The original architecture for evolution. In Time, acknowledge the awareness of the immanent Self.

External Links


  • Waite, A.E. (1911) The Pictoral Key to the Tarot: Being Fragments of a Secret Tradition Under the Veil of Divination. London: Rider.