The Emperor


“No one is free who has not obtained the empire of himself.”

- Pythagoras

The Emperor - Waite Smith
The Emperor - Thoth

Associations / Attributions

Hermetic Title
Son of the Morning, Chief Among the Mighty
Hebrew Letter
Heh (Window)
Tzaddi (Fish Hook) - Crowley
Sephirotic Path
Chokmah (Wisdom) to Tiferet (Beauty)
Netzach (Victory) to Yesod (Foundation) - Crowley
Potential Uses
Bringing great energy to a situation, for growth or destruction

Card Meanings / Keywords

Golden Dawn

War, conquest, victory, strife, ambition.


Stability, power, protection, conviction, a great person. Reversed: Benevolence, compassion, obstruction, immaturity.


War, conquest, strife, ambition, megalomania, energy, vigor, stubbornness, rashness.


Desire, the application of worldly power, father, unchecked masculinity, divine power and protection (if guided).


The Emperor is traditionally associated with Aries, and through that the manifestation of will. Though he sits on the throne of the Earth, his expression is that of Fire. This trump is a source of directed power and dominion. If guided and tempered by Air and Water in their wise and compassionate aspects, he can be a tremendously powerful ally in securing Earthly boons. If, however, he sets his desires upon some magical sensation the Earth offers and is left to impulsively go after his desires, he will likely take the most direct route to that treasure with no thought of burning through every obstacle in his way, using every resource—and person—at his disposal to do so. Thus he can also be a narrowly-focused tyrant and a force of unchecked destruction. It would be best to see that he has a balanced advisor or three; with trusted counsel, the Emperor can be a force for positive change in the world and set the stage for prosperity.

When this card appears in a reading, look for where a great source of energy or power may be coming from, and whether or not there are tempering influences to that energy. If allowed to run unchecked without those advisors--or possibly with selfish or misdirected advice--the Emperor can cause a great deal of destruction. However, he can be a great aid as a protector and benefactor if he is directed with wisdom and compassion.

The Emperor can be a representation of the energy of our desire, and directed toward our goals.


Far across the horizon where Aries meets the Sun
A fiery bird takes flight
Grazing the earth, razing the earth
Seeking to fuel the charge without end
The touch of Venus quells
The sulphur yet shines and swells
A greater light, a frater’s light
The light without heat
Whisper to me my counsel,
Guide me to my kingdom
The will to see, a protector to be
Where rises a new dawn

What is it that I desire to have and to hold? What am I willing to do to get there? Who do I trust to give me more perspectives on the path to my destination so that I do not harm myself or others in order to manifest my desires?