I’ve written interpretations for every card in the Wild Unknown Tarot. As the box of the deck states, there are no rights or wrongs. These are simply my perspectives on the tarot card meanings. I hope you find them useful!
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The Emperor :: Wild Unknown Tarot
Deck Creator’s Keywords: the father, protection, logic, stability
Carrie’s Keywords: structure, discipline, order
The Emperor Tarot Card Meanings in the Wild Unknown
In all decks, the Emperor and the Empress form a pair. In the Wild Unknown Tarot deck, this pair is represented by a pair of trees. While the Empress is portrayed by an always in flux deciduous tree, the Emperor is an evergreen tree. Whatever rough weather, whatever time of year, the evergreen tree remains solid. The Empress will grow new leaves, blossoms, fruit, and go through cycles. The Emperor will remain consistent.
The Emperor has a solid, stable energy. As the father archetype of the tarot, the Emperor’s approach is that of structure, logic and rationality. This card speaks to the power of consistency, and the importance of order in our lives. In order to complement the more free-flowing approach of the previous card, the Emperor brings self-discipline to the proceedings. Remember that discipline is not the same thing as punishment. A healthy level of discipline is necessary in order for us to learn, to create, and to thrive. The Emperor reminds us that discipline can be a positive thing.
There is a black sun (possibly an eclipse) in the card’s background, radiating gentle orange and yellow, the only color in the card. The colors are a throwback to the Magician – but instead of emanating widely, this sun is a concentrated ball of energy. The Magician’s energy is expansive and creative; The Emperor’s energy is firmly rooted, sensible and logical. The Emperor applies his energy in very specific ways with an explicit structure in mind. This might seem quite overly regimented to some, but it this ability to create structures can pave the way for incredible results.
While the Empress was surrounded by the night sky, the Emperor’s domain is the clear light of day. He has a vivid understanding of where he is and where he wants to go. He is a natural authority figure, and may sometimes come across as overbearing. But at his best, the Emperor is an effective leader. The Emperor is not just about fathering or leadership for your own gain. The Emperor is about leading by example, and taking into account the best interest of the whole.
This Emperor is a commandeering tree who dominates the landscape and can see all that is around him. He offers shelter and protection from the stark surroundings. While the Empress offered protection in the form of nurturing and loving care, the Emperor offers protection by offering logical guidance. The Emperor gives you a chance to catch your bearings and find an orderly path out of the wilderness.
The Emperor shows us the power of structure and consistency. He is a masculine (yang) balance to the feminine (yin) energy of the Empress. He may come across as harsh, and she may come across as soft. They work together to show us ‘the middle way.’
The Emperor Tarot Card Meanings in General
The Emperor is often portrayed by an older man with a long white beard, nodding to his association with fathering. It’s important to note that while the Emperor can be associated with fathering in a literal sense, this card often speaks to a more symbolic type of fathering: creating structures, systems and rational approaches.
The Emperor is card four of the major arcana, and this has an important numerological significance. Four is a stable, solid number: a table has four legs, a square has four equal sides. Four-ness is associated with structure and form, the domain of the Emperor.
Like all cards, the Emperor has a shadow side which can manifest itself in an egoic desire to forcefully control oneself and others. This card asks you to find the place where order is beneficial and creative, instead of controlling or stifling.
In a reading
The Emperor might ask you to consider where the themes of structure, control and order are at work in your life. Are these energies helping you thrive, or are they boxing you in? At times this card can speak of external authority figures, but it often speaks to your internal sense of authority. When this card appears, it may ask you to consider how you can further step into your role as the CEO of your life. It may be time to step up and take control. If you want your life to go in a particular direction, the Emperor asks you to ensure you are steering your ship that way.
Self-discipline can be a form of self-love if administered correctly. The Emperor asks you to develop healthy self-discipline. Stay accountable but do not set unrealistic standards for yourself. Setting up boundaries for yourself might can be restricting, but if done right the boundaries you establish for yourself are the very things that will lead you to a greater sense of freedom.