The Emperor Reversed

by Barbara Moore

Tarot Reversals for Beginners by Leeza Robertson

For those of us who calculate such things, 2020 is the Year of the Emperor. The digits in 2020 add up to 4, which is the number of the Emperor. Many of us have a challenging experience with this card because it is associated with political leadership…and many of us have a challenging relationship with political leaders, or at least some of them. The Emperor is an important and necessary energy and we definitely need to heal it by knowing that human examples of Emperor energy are not always the best examples. Maybe reflecting on our ideas of the Emperor reversed will help us understand the upright Emperor better.

Leeza Robertson’s Tarot Reversals for Beginners is a great place to start. Let’s see what she has to say about the reversed Emperor. First, let’s look at the Emperor reversed from the Steampunk Tarot by Barbara Moore and Aly Fell. Even just looking at this card makes me feel anxious. How about you?

The Emperor

This card could not fit into the energy of the four more amazingly. Structure, leadership, and an eye for detail—that’s the energy of the four and the way of the Emperor. When the Emperor is upright and the four is in its power, treaties are formed, contracts are negotiated, and worlds are created. But when the Emperor and the four are out of power or reversed, things start to become a little disorderly and chaotic, and the details start to eat themselves from the inside. The fiery energy of the Emperor needs structure. Without it, things liter- ally start to fall apart, stop, and even explode.


There is nothing worse than allowing yourself to get bogged down in details. Sure it’s nice to have a plan, and, yes, some- times we all need to read the small print. But this is not how things actually get done. In order for you to achieve some- thing and get things moving, you need to move beyond the micromanaging energy of the four out of power. In order for the Emperor to get back to doing what he does best—lead, create, and rule—he needs to be free from tasks that can easily be delegated. If the Emperor has shown up in the blocked aspect, you may need to step away from everything you are doing right now and start delegating. Emperors were never meant to do it all on their own. In fact, their empires would crumble if they had to fill their days with endless facts and figures. In order for you to unblock this energy, you need to find what it is you do best and stick to that. Delegate or minimize anything that takes you away from what you and you alone can do.


If you have drawn this card in the protection aspect, be grateful because right now you are not able to go charging off into a situation, project, or goal that will only suck up all your time, energy, and money. Not all goals are meant to be conquered, and not everything needs to be accomplished right this second. Instead, you are being asked to take a step back and really see the bigger picture. There is a chance that you have been too close to your target, and you have lost not only perspective but also objectivity. Pause now instead of charging forward into a disaster.


The Emperor in the upright position is not just a leader but also a builder of visions. He sees things others are incapable of seeing and turns them into physical tangible things. He can draw from his imagination and make it manifest into his experience. This is a twofold process. First, you have to be able to hold a vision. See it from all angles, like looking at it through a mirror. Then you have to be able to see it reflected in the physical world of things. This is what manifestation is—imagination combined with deliberate action. If you have received the Emperor in the mirror aspect, you are being asked to check in with what it is you are trying to manifest. Are you seeing it in all its visual glory? And most importantly, are you taking strategic and deliberate action to draw your vision out of the mirror of your mind and into the physical world of experience? Take some time with the Emperor and allow him to show you how to complete all the steps you require to master this important mirror aspect.


Have you ever known someone in power to abuse their position of privilege? Maybe even used their power to enact revenge? It isn’t hard to bring someone to the forefront of your mind who fills this description. Just keep them in your mind, because this is the Emperor in the shadow aspect. When power corrupts the shadow part of who we are, it dominates our experience. It clouds our judgment and interferes with our ability to find compassion. If you have received the Emperor in the shadow aspect, you are being asked to explore how you use power in your life. Are you using it to benefit those around you? Or are you using it for personal gain, control, and selfish, egoistic means? We have all tasted the high of power, but it takes a true leader to understand that power and force are not one and the same.


The Emperor is connected to the planet Mars, which in the direct position is a fabulous thing. The energy of Mars is industrious and is known for taking great risks for great gain. But when the Emperor is retrograde, not only does Mars lose its power, but the need to take action may be diminished. When Mars is in retrograde, his consort Venus tends to be more dominant. This means that the Emperor may be more heart-centered and more emotional during his retrograde cycle. This in and of itself can be a good thing, for there is nothing wrong with bringing in more heart energy and less aggressive force. Just be mindful that the Emperor is not used to using his heart over his head. In fact, navigating the emotional world is not his preferred operating system. This means things may take more time and more focus than you are used to. Be patient and get used to how you feel. Mastering this retrograde cycle will only make you a better leader.

Share this

Explore more

Popular posts