The Emperor (IV) Reversed

The Emperor (IV) Reversed

(Card  Content will be Re-Worked Over The Coming Weeks.  Any Updates Will Be Posted)

The Emperor Reversed


The Emperor when Reversed lacks self-discipline and can be weak and indecisive. You may lack courage and finds it hard to stand up for your principles, backing off when things get tough or difficult decisions have to be made. You may lack the discipline to attain your goals.  You or another may appear to be confident and assertive but behind it are dithering and will back down from an argument very quickly as courage and bravado fail you. Lacking self-discipline you may feel bitter about your lack of success and believe that the world owes you living.

The Emperor Reversed can represent the leader or ruler who has been toppled from his throne or disgraced. It is a time of lack of stability and instead of order, chaos may rule in its place. His reversed presence is a strong indication that some area or areas of your life are out of control.  You may be in a right mess and don’t know how to fix things.  You may have set no boundaries or rules for yourself or others.  Those around you may be overstepping the mark and operating in your territory.  Your failure to chastise or assert yourself leaves you open to abuse and others taking advantage of you.

However with the ever-present flip side of the reversed cards The Emperor Reversed can have the tendency to be extremely harsh and allows no room for error.  His judgements are swift and painful. He is hyper-critical and self-righteous. The Emperor Reversed can be the tyrannical dictator. He may abuse his position of power by using it to dominate and rigidly control others.  He can feel superior to others and stop at nothing to get his way, often using force to subdue his opponents.

The Emperor reversed can represent the absent father or the father who let you down or failed to protect you.  On the other side, he may represent the harsh father or authoritative figure who has mellowed with age, becoming softer and more tolerant.  He may also be a big push over and easily swayed.  Surrounding cards will give you insight into the true nature of The Reversed Emperor you are dealing with in a reading.

If your father was severe and regimental  in your upbringing, you may find he is mellowing with age when the Emperor Reversed appears. Check for the Hermit nearby, or even the Six of Cups. His steel fist may have lost its cold edge as he no longer needs to protect you at such an intense level. For those of us who have experienced a predominately strict Emperor as a father, even as we mature and become middle-aged adults ourselves, it can be hard to shake off the nervousness or anxiety that comes over us when spending time in his presence. We tend to regress back to our childlike state and still view him as the strict authoritarian figure of the past. It can taint our current experience of a father who has softened with time and now wants to sit relaxed and comfortable in the bosom of his family. Old habits die hard and we may find it stressful to get used to this new personality and develop a relationship with it. We still wait for his bark and bite, but he has become gentle, tolerant and all-forgiving. As The Emperor, he never questioned the actions, decisions or attitude that we found at the time impossible to accept. He was only doing what was best. He may think he has done no wrong.

It is often when our Emperor Reversed (father) is no longer with us, that we regret not making a better effort to get to know the real man behind the rules, regulations and discipline. He had his reasons which were more than likely based on his own upbringing and life experiences. We often overlook or fail to acknowledge this and forget that he too was a child once with his own Emperor and Empress.  If this is relevant to you, the Emperor Reversed appearing in your reading could be encouraging you to look past the stern exterior, past the suit of armor, and past the seat of power he has always ruled from. Find the true soul underneath, the personality of the man – not the father. Who was he, what did he think, what drove him, what did he really like/dislike. Ask what his ambitions were and if he managed to realise them? What did he consider his best achievements? Does he harbor any regrets? What were his greatest losses in life? If he had his time again, would he make any changes? When we solely focus on the Emperor Reversed as the wall of steel and hand of power and control, we fail to see the rest. The Emperor will likely be quite open with you should you ask. Stop being the child. Meet and converse with him as the adult, and his equal. The Emperor Reversed may actually be the Upright Emperor but we have difficulty viewing him in that light.

 When it comes to relationships, The Emperor Reversed lacks discipline and commitment to his partner. He can have a tendency to have several partners. He needs a strong woman to look after him and in a relationship it will certainly be his partner who wears the pants. On the outside it may look like he is in charge but this will most certainly not be the case. The reversed Emperor can represent the mother-son relationship in a marriage. The reversed Emperor in a relationship usually has issues from childhood and repressed emotions.  By returning to The Empress he can learn to access and feed his senses and express his emotion. He needs nurturing from a strong but gentle woman.

On the other hand, The Reversed Emperor can exert negative control in his relationships.  He may treat his partner like a child and take full control over what his partner should wear and who she is allowed meet or socialise with.

When reversed The Emperor can suggest the breaking with tradition when it comes to  masculine characteristics and their may be a tendency to unconventional sexual orientations. However he may just suggest that you are altering the perceived traditional male role due to choice or circumstances.  Instead of being the material provider you may choose to step into the mothering role and stay at home to rear the kids.

Back to Lesson 3


The Fool Upright  The Fool Reversed

The Magician Upright  The Magician Reversed

The High Priestess Upright   The High Priestess Reversed

The Empress Upright   The Empress Reversed

The Emperor Upright    The Emperor Reversed

The Heirophant Upright    The Heirophant Reversed

The Lovers Upright     The Lovers Reversed

The Chariot Upright   The Chariot Reversed

Strength Upright     Strength Reversed

The Hermit Upright   The Hermit Reversed

The Wheel of Fortune Upright   The Wheel of Fortune Reversed

Justice Upright   Justice Reversed

The Hanged Man Upright   The Hanged Man Reversed

Death Upright     Death Reversed

Temperence Upright     Temperence Reversed

The Devil Upright   The Devil Reversed

The Tower Upright     The Tower Reversed

The Star Upright     The Star Reversed

The Moon Upright    The Moon Reversed

The Sun Upright     The Sun Reversed

Judgement Upright      Judgement Reversed

The World Upright     The World Reversed

Lesson 1   Lesson 2


Copyright © 2006-2016 Vivien Ní Dhuinn

1 reply »

  1. The Kim dynasty; the Turkish President; Donald Trump; and so on. They all bear the image of the Reversed Emperor.


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