The Emperor and the King of Cups

The 4th card of the Major Arcana is The Emperor.

Classic depictions of this man are of a King sitting on his throne. On one side he holds his scepter and on the other is the World. Naturally, we surmise that this would represent a man’s control of the universe. Appearing right side up tells us that this is a man who uses his head for choices, possibly being overly cerebral. Inverted this would mean a man who is mentally toiling and perhaps making decisions with his heart, possibly out of fear. Neither one of these is always good nor bad, a man who will balance both is ideal.

In our personal lives the Emperor is the man in the home or major man in our lives. Fathers, husbands, boyfriends, first born sons, etc. Ever since the internet has become commonplace, I have noticed the Emperor showing up a lot. What else is a man online but someone who is sitting on his “throne,” deep in his imagination, delving into a reality he has created? When he is inverted he may be living online, deeply troubled (perhaps addicted to internet porn, video games, chat rooms, creating secret online accounts, at times chatting while intoxicated). Meanwhile, emotional affairs may be ripping a home apart.

The Emperor in career spreads represents someone in charge of the show. Judges, Editors-In-Chiefs, Directors, and other major decision makers may fall under this card.

One of my favorite Emperor moments is actually owed to my youngest child. He’d mixed up several of my decks. I was at an expo and a quiet young woman approached. She wanted to know who’d be the best man for her. I laid out a spread to see what she was dealing with, and out popped 4 Emperors! An alcoholic Emperor, a self absorbed Emperor, a married one, and another who seemed to be hiding from her. “Are these suitors of your’s some guys from a chat room?” Her eyes grew huge.”Yes!”, she breathed. “How can you tell?”

The King of Cups is very similar to the Emperor, yet there are differences. He is a beautiful man dressed in red, sitting on his throne, holding a full chalice of wine (a symbol of merriment). He is the ideal husband, object of affection, a deeply loved man, a caring man, and/or a favorite man. Inverted this might represent an ex-husband/boyfriend, an addicted man, a man burdened with emotional issues, a melodramatic man, and possibly a liar.

In career spreads I have found The King of Cups to represent secret keepers, such as, counselors, therapists, and human resources.

Physical attributes of The King of Cups can be blonde hair and blue eyes, sometimes stoutness.

4 thoughts on “The Emperor and the King of Cups

  1. Vivian-9932

    The Emperor also can represent the Sun Sign Aries, strong masculine energy–the warrior. The King of Cups can represent a Scorpio or Cancer person depending on the spread and I have also known it to represent a “rich and happy marriage”. Again, it all depends on the where the cards fall and how it feels psychicly.


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