Just as we have all had a mother at one point or another, none of us could have come into this world without a father. A father may not have carried us in his womb, but he was still responsible for a very important part of the process – creating your new life. When this energy is missing, we find a lack of structure and direction in our lives. If we have the wrong kind of fathering energy, we find that our lives have been guided by policies that were too strict and paths that were too narrow. Like any energy, it's important that fathering energy is kept in check and in balance. This fathering energy is what drives the Emperor card.
The man in the Emperor card sits upon a rigid throne of stone – unyielding and strong. The throne upon which he sits has the visage of rams carved into it, four in total. His crown is adorned with small jewels – it is more practical than flashy, serving only to help establish his royal presence. His sceptre is simple, but it's reach is long and sturdy. Most symbolic of all, he wear armor under his royal robes, ready to do battle (or be struck) at any point.
The Emperor is the perfect king archetype. He can create peace and prosperity out of chaos through one thing alone – order. Things are structured carefully, and the structure is created through his tireless exertion. His will is law, and the land lives beneath his authority. Each day he works endlessly on driving his kingdom into prosperity, wealth, and happiness. He sees it as his duty and nothing more. The Emperor card asks you to review this energy and see where it is in your life, whether it's lacking or gone far out of control.
A king can be either a good king or a bad king. A good king doesn't oppress his people with his demands – he makes certain that happiness is attainable through the regimen he provides. The authority he exerts is only to maintain his kingdom, and nothing more. But what about a bad king? A bad king will use his power to manipulate his people, or will exert too much order and structure. He will not allow anything that he does not see as fitting his rule, even if it is not something that is harmful to the kingdom. A good king maintains his rule of the land – a bad king oppresses the land until it breaks under the pressure.
Just as the Empress stands for feminine, mothering energy, so the Emperor stands for masculine, fathering energy. A father is confident, for the sake of his children. He wishes them to have a great life, so he works to guide them towards it. A king and a father are very similar in many ways.
The questions you should ask yourself when you pull this card are as follows: As the “king of your life”, are you a good king or a bad king? How do you deal with other people in your life? Is your word law? Do you follow through on your plans? Do you even make plans? Are you in control of your life? Do you need more regimen, or less? When approaching the Emperor card, always ask yourself how you can bring balance to these masculine energies in your life.
The Four of Pentacles can showcase some of the negative aspects of the Emperor card – a “bad king” will grasp on to ideals and structure like the figure in the Four of Pentacles grasps on to his coins. The Three of Wands, however, can showcase some of the more positive aspects of the Emperor card – it radiates a feeling of leadership, and being able to blaze a trail that others might follow.