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The reversed emperor: Wishy washy

The reversed emperor
Rider Waite Tarot

In the upright position, the emperor brings to mind power. We envision a strong authority figure who is respected and whose word is the final say in any situation. This is the boss. This is the father figure. This is the ruling entity of a group, family, community, nation, or place of business. You don’t second guess and you don’t go against his wishes. In a perfect setting, his authority will be fair and balanced. He will take into consideration what is best for all and make a ruling accordingly. He will be firm yet compassionate. This will be somebody who has earned the right to be looked up to.

What though, should we make of it when this card comes up in its reversed position? Is this person still respected? Is he still considered a strong and powerful authority figure? No, not really. In the reversed position, the emperor card brings to mind somebody who has trouble making up his mind. He is easily swayed. He is more of a puppet to others than he is a strong leader in his own right.

This is somebody who does not hold the vision of the group he leads. He is wishy-washy. He may say one thing one day and something completely different the next. This is the kind of leader you wish would just go away. They are at best, ineffectual. At their worst, they are detrimental.

When the emperor card comes up for you in a reading reversed, ask yourself, “Am I a leader? Or am I just a puppet? Have I earned the respect of my people, or am I merely tolerated? Do I make decisions that are sound and appropriate to the situation, or am I way off the mark?”

The reversed emperor is also your invitation to step outside of yourself and observe your actions. If this were somebody else doing the things you see yourself doing, and the decisions they are making, how would you feel? Would you respect and admire them for it, or would you shake your head in disgust? Remember, good leadership is about the good of the group being led. Lead with conviction. When the emperor is reversed for you, devise a plan to get it upright again.

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