He has a form of the Crux ansata for his scepter and a globe in his left hand. He is a crowned monarch—commanding, stately, seated on a throne, the arms of which are fronted by rams’ heads. He is executive and realization, the power of this world, here clothed with the highest of natural attributes… Hereof is the lordship of thought rather than of the animal world.
– Arthur Edward Waite, the Pictorial Key to the Tarot
The Emperor is the embodiment of Martial discipline and power that stems from self-control, restraint, and abstention. He rules as the mind directs the Ego, and his governing style evinces a brilliant intellect and unimpeachable confidence. He is the Red King to the Empress’ White Queen, releasing the soaring eagle of his intellect in search of the Philosopher’s Stone. In his hands, he holds the symbols of his office – the orb and the rod – and his throne rests in a rocky landscape bisected by a narrow stream. He is the power conferred by Initiation and the power of the process of Initiation itself. He is authority, potency, protection, influence and supremacy, all exercised with absolute control. His presence augments fame, honor, and glory, and bears tidings for issues of government and country. He is decisive action and the necessity of boundaries, demarcations, and responsibility. He is social structure and civilization itself, he is the strength to defend home, family, community, and country. He is Divine Law and Temporal Law, and he is the steel-sheathed fist that creates, maintains, and defends these laws.
Passion feeds the soul and intuition guides the spirit, but without the laws of man and nature and the structure of society, civilization and government, we would immolate in the fires of chaos.