Hanson-Roberts: Emperor and the Hierophant

mike gorth

Is it just me or does the Emperor look like he is supposed to be the Hierophant? I just get the feeling by looking in the picture because it doesn't have the rough feel to it you know what I mean? The Hierophant looks like the Hierophant but that Emperor looks like him or maybe a bishop with the red that he's wearing.

Anyone else get that feeling?

Mike Gorth


Pictures may help get the conversation rolling :)

The Emperor doesn't remind me of a Heirophant in this deck. But the Heirophant does remind me of Santa Claus :D I like the Emperor well enough in this deck. He's not as excessively pretty as some of the court card guys.


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mike gorth

thanks for downloading the pictures. I don't know how to and I don't have a digital camera. It's not that I don't like the Emperor card, I just find it confusing because they seem so similar. Yes the Hierophant does look like Santa Claus to me.

I wish it showed him more on a throne, then I think it would convey the meaning more than it does without it. Of course, most of the people cards in the Hanson have people shown close up.

Mike Gorth


Hello Mike

I think its the first chance we've had to chat - welcome to the forums!

Images for the whole deck are available online here. Cards such as the Emperor can be linked to externally. The syntax, which is not obvious, is as follows: http://www.tarot.com/images/decks/roberts/full_size/4.jpg - the middle part of this string should read "/decks/roberts/full_size/". Each jpg of the deck is numbered from 0 to 77, starting with the Fool and concluding with the King of Coins.

Perhaps you have the RWS Emperor in mind? He has the battle worm look of a veteran general and does remind me of the Hanson-Roberts Hierophant.

But I am also comfortable with the image of the Hanson-Roberts Emperor. This is an Emperor who is less martial but more calculating, an intelligent and refined authority figure who acts with benevolence but is potentially much more dangerous. He looks like and reminds me of a senior Vulcan, he has a strict code of ethics which he has finely crafted for the common good. He has a heart and feels mercy, but yet he feels he must apply his rules fairly and impartially. As with many of the Hanson-Roberts cards, there is a wistful sadness to the Emperor's face, and in this case I can see it as a result of regret and inner conflict.

The Hanson Roberts - IV The Emperor thread also discusses this card.



I feel comfortable with The Emperor also, the fact that he is wearing the laurel crown and red robes, makes me think in a Roman Emperor, as a matter of fact I think his hair is also styled the roman way.


The Emperor seems fine as an emperor to me as well. I think he commands authority and he does seem to be sitting on a rather elegant, comfortable high backed chair, which I did take as a throne. It seemed to me it was an upholstered red back, but while I look at it more, maybe it's wooden?


This Emperor is indeed very stately and Roman-looking; I like him because his expression seems to blend authority with compassion.

As for the Hierophant, he's different from any other one I've seen. He has all the Papal symbols, but that beard gives him a very down-home-wisdom look. And the trim on his robe (or his ecclesiastical stole, if that's what it is) looks like plant life rather than the usual stylized designs. (This makes him just as far from the rigid cold figure in the Robin Wood tarot as one can get!!)


I like the Emperor who reminds me of Julius Caesar, in that aspect he may make more sense to you. Caesar took an active role in running his empire. However if the red is what is throwing you off, you may need to ask yourself what the color red means to you. What it symbolizes for you. This is from the online dream dictionary Dream Moods, but it gives you an idea of how someone else's view of a particular color may not match yours because of your own thoughts of what it is suppose to mean.

Dream Moods said:

Red is an indication of raw energy, force, vigor, intense passion, aggression, power, courage and passion. The color red has deep emotional and spiritual connotations.

Red is also the color of danger, shame, sexual impulses and urges. Perhaps you need to stop and think about your actions.

Now the Heirophant looks like Santa for me too, and not a card I have an easy time connecting to in a read most of the time, so in that way it is harder for me to figure out what he is trying to get across to me.