Key 4 - The Emperor

Key 4 - The Emperor

A strong leader is present.


  • authority 
  • father figure - paternity 
  • leadership 
  • positive force - strength 
  • war making power or ability 

Here strong leadership and mental activity are shown. He dominates his environment. He has absolute authority and the ability to make war if he so chooses. Fatherhood may be suggested. He rules with a fair hand and a judicious use of reason. Plans of action will be successful.

In-depth Description

Here the Emperor is shown sitting on his throne, which is decorated with four rams heads, that are the symbol of Aries. In his right hand he holds a scepter or Egyptian ankh symbolizing life itself. The circle around the uppermost portion of the ankh represents mental control. The left hand holds what is believed to be a globe of Dominion. Bare red mountains can be seen far off in the distance, possibly suggesting ties to Mars.

This stately figure represents authoritative power, leadership and strength. These things obviously require great intellectual wisdom and insight. He can see both sides of an issue and resolve conflicts because of his wide view.

The Emperor's key number is 4. This indicates that all is stable; 4 equal sides to a square, a foundation for building and maintaining law and order.

In a reading this card typically indicates a person that is very mature, regardless of age. They can deal with authority well. There is a strong dominant side to this person that is usually very helpful to the current situation.


  • emotional immaturity 
  • loss of self-control 
  • overly attached to parents 
  • possible serious injury 
  • possible theft 
  • stubborn 

There could be a loss of control resulting in injury during battle. He may be emotionally immature and overly attached to his parents. The possibility of fraud looms overhead. He has a loss of self-control and an inability to carry out ideas. There may be serious character weaknesses.

Illustrations from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck®, known also as the Rider Tarot and the Waite Tarot, reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Copyright© 1971 by U.S. Games, Inc. Further reproduction prohibited. The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck® is a registered trademark of U.S. Games Inc.