Although they might seem to be somewhat unsophisticated, the cards of the Tarot of Marseille hold secrets and mysteries. Even though, at first sight, the images that make up the 22 major arcana seem to be simple, they are not void of meaning and complexity. This is what we will notice by analyzing the card of the Emperor.
How is the Emperor pictured in the Tarot?
The Emperor is leaning against the throne (he is nearly standing up) and there is an escutcheon at his feet. Just like his partner the Empress, his eyes are oriented towards his scepter. But, unlike her, the Emperor is pictured from the side, in a more assured and firm posture. He forcefully holds his scepter in his right hand, which suggests his authority is unquestionable.
He is endowed with all the attributes of power. However, the embodiment of this power is temporary and terrestrial. It is interesting to note that this arcanum bears the number 4. This number connotes the material world but also stability and some kind of rigidity.
The picture does not represent the absolute model of a man. The Emperor depicts here the father beset by doubts and some weaknesses, just like any human being.
What is the meaning of this arcanum?
The Empress embodies intellectual power while the Emperor personifies material power. He is oriented towards order and the fulfilment of his goals. The character pictured in this tarot card has a broad view, one that is meant to last. He is the keeper of tradition. This characteristic goes hand in hand with his protective role, the one that may be linked to his paternal image.
Unlike his feminine alter ego, his legs are crossed. This shows he is less willing to open up. It can thus be deduced that he is less flexible than the Empress. The Emperor develops an intelligence of a more practical and concrete nature. He is more oriented towards organization and efficiency than conceptual reflection.
Positive aspects of the Emperor in the Tarot of Marseille
- Practical sense
- Organizational skills
Negative aspects of this card
- Lack of openness
- Abusive authority