Tarot of Prague Café Club – IV The Emperor

Bean Feasa

Like the Empress the Emperor card shows a colourful, solid-looking figure in the foreground and a more shadowy alternative depiction blooming behind him. I really like this dual visual effect, as I think it gives depth to both cards. In the case of the Emperor, the book tells us that the background image, which seems to be of a Roman emperor suggests a more relaxed, at-ease way of ruling than the rather uptight posture of the statue in front.
The book also suggests that the foreground Emperor is stern-looking, but on first glance I thought him quite benign, in fact he seems rather Christ-like, or at least saint-like to me. I like the colours of his robes particularly his warm-looking salmon-coloured cloak edged with gold fleur-de-lys. He wears a heavy gold crown and holds a gold sceptre and orb in each hand as if balancing them against each other. Certainly he looks every inch the accomplished ruler, calm, authoritative, someone who thinks before he acts but then acts decisively.
The image of the Roman emperor behind him is intriguing – an Art Nouveau-like design of swirls and spirals – somehow curves are not something we associate with the Emperor, (doesn’t he usually sit on a square plinth in the traditional Rider depiction?) which seems to suggest a welcome ‘rounding out’ of this figure. The background figure is about to pluck a round red fruit from a selection that stands on a pillar. There’s an interesting, rather-primitive-looking drawing of a woman on the pillar – I wonder who she can be – a hint of the Empress perhaps, of how she and the Emperor need to interact for balance. Any thoughts on this?


Hi Bean Feasa,

When I think of the Emperor, I think of authority, rigidity, structure, power, ambition, success and boundaries. This card is a little different to what we expect because not only do we see the authoritative figure complete with orb and sceptre to symbolise his status, but we have all this activity going on in the background! The background is awash with folds, curves, spheres and activity and I think this accentuates the fact that the world is dynamic and carries a warning against sticking too heavily to the rational world and all of its rigid structure.

The pillar reminds us that he is a pillar of society and also represents strength and stability and boundaries. Notice the background has a heavy outline, a reminder again that the man in the background also depicts someone with authority but he has a more flexible approach to it. In the real world isn't this a better way to be? My own management have one or two rules which are completely unrealistic and will eventually drive people to take drastic measures which will be deleterious to the department in the long run.

The Emperor covers up his emotions (the blue of his robe) with the reddy coloured cloak, which shows that he hides his emotions well and his concerns are mostly material.

I don't know about the woman on the pillar. She appears to be about to cover her eyes with her hands, so I can only think that she may be a message to look for your feminine side and to balance the two energies.

The more I look at this card, the more I like it.

J :)


The interplay between the Empress and Emperor cards is very interesting. I see the Empress as playing a Goddess of Sovereignty role here. Its her job to convey kingship.

Notice how she has stars around her head (indicating divinity?) while he does not. Notice how she is holding the crown (as if to bestow it) while he wears it. She is shown as flat with the background -- almost an eternal part of the landscape and the tapestry (of life?) that she weaves. The Emperor stands out very much in the foreground as the current ruler.

In this light, I see the pillar with the woman on it as indicating the state of the land. Under his able rule, the land and the Empress (they are the same) bear fruit at the top of the pillar/tree.

-- Zagone


The Emperor sits and observes the world from above, seated comfortably in his throne. He holds a golden orb in one hand and a scepter in his right. I see a connection between his crown, the orb and the scepter, all in gold, all representing his position of authority and power. The crown symbolizes his role as leader and ruler...it also reminds me of one who uses their mental abilities--both intelligence and wisdom--to attain a higher position in society. The scepter is also symbolic of authority; it may represent his ability to manifest creative ideas into actual form (as a wand of sorts). Finally, the golden orb makes me think of power and confidence, influence over others....having the "world in your hands" in a sense. He is a widely respected, though not necessarily well-liked figure, and he is unafraid of using his influence for the greater good. He is perceived as being calm, stoic and rigid, not easily swayed by emotions, and very confident in his role.

:) Luna


The Roman Emperor of the tapestry and the Emperor with the sceptor and globe are symbolizing the continuity of rulership. I don't say it is a physical one (as in a royal line). It is more in a mental sense. Both asume responsibility to carry duties and priviledges due to their rank. It is the way I see that particuliar card.

The woman-pillar seems to do the transition between the two emperor. It's like acknowledging the generations that had passed between the two.


I just got the deck a few weeks ago and I am thrilled to see the study group!

with that said... my DH looked at the cards with me and we noticed how the emperor's hands have some kind of bump that look like stigmata! just by seeing that it gave me a whole different dimension of the emperor. anyone else noticed his hands and the 'stigmata' markings??



Yaraluna, i've just came across this post ( i don't get e-mail notifications anymore so i am a bit lost here) and i am amazed by your observation; i just looked at the Emperor and he does have something on his palms that looks like stigmata! ToP Emperor is the one i like the most, he is somehow wise and more... human to me; this makes me like him even more :)
I also got this deck quite recently and i am still very excited about it :)
mdr xx