Inverted Emperor


Inverted EmperorThis is an authority figure, turned on his head. This Emperor has either misused his authority or abdicated his throne.

As a tyrant, this person rules with an iron fist. He sticks to what he sees as the facts and is unwilling to participate in any dialogue that might prove his reasoning false. It is his way or the highway. He is self-righteous, petty, critical, and judgmental. This man is out to win and will by any means necessary.

As a coward, he might be absent or change his opinion to match the group around him. He may have given away his power to someone else. He might come across as immature or senile. However this manifests, you cannot trust this man.

If you identify yourself as the inverted Emperor, you might be reacting as a wounded warrior. You could even have PTSD. Now is the time for you to go deeply into yourself and retrieve your authentic power. Giving yours away, or taking it from someone else is the coward’s way out. You have your own power. Learn how to use it.


In a spread, the Emperor can interact with a few cards.

Major Arcana

Hierophant: If the inverted Emperor comes before the inverted Hierophant, wealth and power will be lost through a lack of learning. If both cards are inverted and the Emperor comes after the Hierophant, wealth will be lost through pride.
Devil: If the Emperor comes before the Devil, it may indicate a threat to a powerful leader. If the Emperor comes after the Devil, it indicates national upheaval.
World: If the Emperor is inverted and comes before the World, it suggests conflict, loss of power, or loss of social position.

Minor Arcana

Pentacles: Any cards from the suit of Pentacles can indicate an offer of a position of authority. This position is likely to involved finance and carry heavy responsibilities.
Four of Pentacles (Coins, Diamonds): If the Emperor shows up in a spread with the Four of Pentacles (Coins, or Diamonds in other decks), its energy is stifled.
Four of Cups (Hearts): If the Emperor shows up in a spread with the Four of Cups (Hearts in other decks), its energy is stifled.
Four of Wands (Clubs, Rods, Staves): If the Emperor shows up in a spread with the Four of Wands (Clubs, Rods, or Staves in other decks), its energy is solidified.
Four of Swords (Spades): If the Emperor shows up in a spread with the Four of Swords (Spades in other decks), its energy is solidified.

The Major Arcana

The twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana tend to hold the big lessons. These cards carry powerful messages. If you are reading a spread of cards, watch for the Major Arcana. If your spread contains more than 30% Major Arcana, you are in the midst of something big, or beyond your control. If most of the cards in the spread are from the Major Arcana, you might be trying to exert too much control. You might have trouble expressing your feelings, or you might be near your breaking point. A spread without any Major Arcana cards could indicate you are hiding from the truth of the issue, or are in some deep distress. If this is the case, it is important to find someone you can trust to guide you through this period of time. In a spread, focus most of your attention on the Major Arcana. The other cards will be useful for clarifying the situation.

Number — 4

Four is a number of order, foundation, and stability.

The Inversion

There is nothing to fear with an inversion. Mary K. Greer explains in her book, The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals, that an inverted card may be interpreted in one or more of these twelve ways:

  1. Blocked or Resisted
  2. Projected
  3. Delayed, Difficult, Unavailable
  4. Inner, Unconscious, Private
  5. New or Dark Moon (if you are reading cards from a round deck)
  6. Breaking Through, Overturning, Refusing, Changing Direction
  7. The Opposite of the Upright Meaning, or Lacking
  8. Excessively
  9. Misused or Misdirected
  10. The Upright Meaning Backward
  11. A Rectification or Cure
  12. Magical, Unconventional, or Humorous

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