Astrological correspondence: Aries.
Keywords: Power, arrogance, birthright, respect.
The Emperor beyond tarot: Henry VIII of England, King Robert Baratheon in Game of Thrones.
Shrouded in red, the Emperor sits in a tall, ornate stone throne. He wears his ornate crown, carries a scepter in his right hand and a globe in the left, all obvious symbols of his power. His beard is long, and represents experience; and his boots look like they could be part of an armor he once wore on a battlefield to show off his prowess and worthiness as a ruler.
Following the Empress (is she his partner? his rival? both?), his posture is more casual than hers, because he was born with his god-given power and knows that nobody will dare challenge it. While she’s surrounded by the fruits of her abundance, he chooses to show off his power with the harshness of stone, be it that of his throne, or the mountains in the distant background. Unlike the Pope, who comes after him, however, The Emperor’s power doesn’t come from knowledge or wisdom. People obey him because of his position, not because he has anything to give to them or influence them with.
The Emperor is the idea of power that is taken for granted (he is a male, after all, hah!). He thinks of it more casually than the Empress, who had to work to get where she is now. He confidently considers power his birthright. Now, when the Emperor appears in a tarot spread, it may mean that you need to empower yourself a bit more by believing in yourself and your legitimacy, especially when other people are trying to rob you of it. It can also mean that you need to ask yourself whether there’s a power struggle with someone around you (a spouse? parent? child? friend? employer? subordinate?) and how you can resolve it.
More often than not, you’ll have to overcome any shyness, lack of confidence, or fear of conflict and claim the what is rightfully yours. However, before you act, ask yourself if you might be having feeling of entitlement: the Emperor is often a nudge from the Universe for you to not let power get over your head.