Upright: Authority, structure, a father figure
The Emperor is the patriarchal figure of the tarot deck, and he is the counterpart of the Empress. He has heavy connections with Aries and the planet Mars, which are represented by the four rams heads decorating his throne. He also holds an ankh, which is an Egyptian symbol, representing life. He wears a red robe and a suit of armor, suggesting that he is not vulnerable to attack (which can also be applied to his emotional state). His crown and beard show his years of wisdom and power. He can find himself to be emotional, but the mountain range in the past, shows he has a strong foundation and there may be some work involved in getting him to open up.
Receiving the Emperor in a reading indicates that you are adopting a dominant role. Whether that be emotionally, being a “rock” for others, providing for your family or protecting others from harm. You may have a role of being a teacher or mentor to others due to your knowledge and wisdom. In a past position, the Emperor can represent a father or father figure who has passed, but in the present or future position, it can indicate that a man is about to come into your life and give you advice that you should follow. If not representing a person at all, this card can signify the importance of using logic over your emotions to solve problems in the near future.
Reversed: Excessive control, rigidity, domination
The reverse Emperor card indicates someone who is not in control. This may be due to a lack of discipline or maturity. It implores you to evaluate the role power plays in your life currently and who is holding it. Are you being easily duped? Due to this being the patriarch, it could also refer to a father figure in your life who may be taking advantage of you or overstepping bounds.
**In a yes/no reading the Emperor is a yes.