Men and women whose soul card is the Emperor are leaders, doers, builders and achievers. They are often masters in their chosen field of endeavour. Structure, order, facts and reason are important to Emperors; they find such structure reassuring. Emperors do not tend to be introspective types but are focused on the world around them.
The central themes of an Emperor's soul path are power and authority. If an Emperor exercises those qualities well, she or he will be a source of strength, protection and benefit to those around them. But if an Emperor gets lost on their soul path, power and authority can be misused and instead become aggression, bullying or abuse. Emperors need to guard against this.
There are two other major arcana cards in this constellation which influence an Emperor's soul path: Death and the Fool.
The Death card seldom refers to the actual death of people. Instead, it represents profound and irrevocable transformation -- endings and beginnings, destruction and renewal, decay and new growth. If the Death aspect of this constellation is integrated into an Emperor's soul path in a positive and beneficial way, the Emperor will be a transformative force of good in their own life and in others' lives. The Emperor will easily be able let go of old ideas and outdated ways of living in order to embrace the new, the innovative and the progressive. The Emperor will lead "onwards and upwards."
But if the Death aspect is suppressed and falls into the Emperor's shadow, the Emperor will resist change and will cling to their existing power and success instead of living life. Sometimes an Emperor will have a literal fear of death so that they will try to ensure (through children, monuments or self-aggrandizement) that "their name will live forever."
[Robin Wood Tarot]
In this soul path constellation, the Fool is the exact opposite of the Emperor -- spontaneous, open, often kind of scatterbrained, usually carefree to the point of carelessness, subject to no rules. Thus, there is a paradox at the heart of every Emperor. Often when they are young, the Fool aspect seems to dominate their existence. But as they age, the Emperor aspect takes over and then they settle down and make something of themselves. But even as serious, mature, rule-making Emperors, they often believe they are personally exempt from those same rules which can, of course, lead to trouble. When the Emperor aspect is too rigid, an Emperor's greatest fear is being seen as foolish or silly by others. Emperors can become very controlling as a result.
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[NOTE: If you haven't yet determined what your Soul Card is and would like to, please go to the introductory post of this series found here, do the calculation and play along!]