If the Empress is the Divine Mother here in the physical realm, her counterpart is the fourth numbered card, the Emperor. Interesting to note that in Tarot the masculine spiritual energy of attraction precedes the feminine spiritual beacon (Magician/High Priestess), but the tangible source of nurturing and creation arrives before the masculine representation of power, authority, and structure. First creativity is given life and nurturing, and then one encounters the essence of more masculine physical power, the domain of the Emperor. It is as if the Empress nurtures the potential for success and abundance and the Emperor awaits the arrival of such abundance in order to begin to establish the structure and authority necessary to wield power with integrity. The Empress represents growth and profit, the Emperor provides the backing to make sound decisions, protect one’s hard earned territory and assets, and establish authority in a mature responsible way. The Emperor is the archetypal father figure. He is generous but not doting. His role is to provide and to counsel. He has the ability to defend those who need his intervention, but will not bestow his resources lavishly upon those who have not earned his respect.
The Emperor is the essence of power, authority, and stability. He is a grounding force but is also a leader, a warrior and a seasoned and wizened guide. He wears the appearance of a confident, stern ruler who shows evidence of his experience in battle, but currently rules from his throne. He has earned his place in his kingdom and waits patiently to see if you are earning your place as well. He has resources to spare when needed, but does not give in lightly to any requests for aid. In modern cultures we do not look to an Emperor for the final say, for protection or opportunities to work for our families and homes. We do however seek the opportunities to show our integrity, to prove our work, to obtain intervention and guidance when new tasks are beyond our scope of experience. The Emperor is the energy of developing stability and protection and learning to handle your own personal power without unfairly crushing others (even if you can) but also without holding back out of fear or insecurity. It is through the Emperor that we learn to develop in our careers, set boundaries with our children and families, protect our homes, and assert ourselves in all relationships. The Emperor helps us rise to the challenge of recognizing our own power and knowing how and when to use it. He is not a warrior for the sake of dominion, and warns against overpowering others out of greed or conquest alone. He brings the influence of the stern, but fair ruler.
If the Emperor appears in a reading, issues of power, authority, discipline, resources, territory, protection and assertiveness are at play. The Emperor may represent issues with one’s own father or dynamics that evolved from the relationship with the father, but extend beyond just this one individual into a pervasive response, a pattern that emerges when we are confronted with authority, restriction and power. For some this will mean accepting the lack of control in situations in which one must collaborate with others, or managing confidently when dealing with a boss or other authority. For others this may mean tapping in to your own sense of confidence and authority, to assert yourself rather than turning unspoken concerns into anger, depression, or self pity. This is a card calling you to action as the Emperor brings the energy of Mars and Aries, and commands attention and motivation to work toward achieving what you want, but perhaps in the confines of an already established hierarchy. Whether the message is to bring a voice to your needs and assert yourself or to recognize the value of allowing those in power to assist you by appealing to mutually beneficial goals, this is a crucial card for developing independence and navigating through issues of power assertion. There may be the need to appeal to an individual or organization that holds control over resources crucial to your goals. The Emperor stands as an ally to those who are able to find their voice and assert their needs.
Article by: Angela Kaufman. Angela is a Priestess for the Dragon Warriors of Isis Coven in Upstate, New York, and the co-author of Wicca: What's the Real Deal? She is a professional tarot reader. For more information about Wicca: What's the Real Deal? visit http://www.wwtrd.webs.com.