Card Nicknames: The authority card, the leadership card.
Short meaning: The Emperor generally represents someone in a position of authority, although it could also refer to a father figure or someone with leadership qualities.
Full meaning: The Emperor is the card of authority, male dominance, leadership, or government control.
The card may represent a dominant male influence or father issues. It could indicate positive characteristics such as becoming our own authority, responsibility, stability, discipline, self-control, maturity, success, confidence, intelligence, experience, reasoning, help, defense, and the initiative to take action. Negative characteristics of the Emperor relate to excesses in authority, such as ruthlessness.
Bunning (see Sources) writes "The Emperor represents structure, order, and regulation -- forces to balance the free-flowing, lavish abundance of the Empress. He advocates a four-square world where trains are on time, games are played by rules, and commanding officers are repected. In chaotic situations, the Emperor can indicate the need for organization. Loose ends should be tied up, and wayward elements, harnessed. In situations that are already over-controlled, he suggests the confining effect of those constraints.
"The Emperor can represent an encounter with authority or the assumption of power and control. As the regulartor, he is often associated with legal matters, disciplinary actions, and officialdom in all its forms. He can also stand for an individual father or archetypal Father in his role as guide, protector, and provider." (Bunning, p. 121).
Ellershaw mentions key words "Leadership. Ambition. Authority. Power. The necessity for reasoning and logical thought. Material and emotional stability." (Ellershaw, p. 222)
A reversed Emperor card doesn't necessarily mean a lack of authority. It could mean an obstacle, serious illness or injury, impending death, or sorrow.