The Emperor is the fourth Major Arcana in all the traditional tarot decks. In the Rider-Waite tarot deck, the Emperor is an old man, with a long white beard, wearing purple clothes over his armour. He sits on a throne, holding an Ankh (the ancient Egyptian crux ansata, the symbol of life) sceptre in his right hand and a globe in his left. The throne is decorated with four rams – symbols of Mars, the ancient Roman god of war. Behind the throne there are barren mountains.
When speaking about the divinatory meaning of the Emperor, A. E. Waite offers, in his book „The Pictorial Key to the Tarot “, several possible meanings: „stability, power, protection, realization; a great person; aid, reason, conviction; also authority and will“. The main spiritual significance of the Emperor is „a crowned monarch–commanding, stately, seated on a throne, the arms of which axe fronted by rams’ heads. He is executive and realization, the power of this world, here clothed with the highest of its natural attributes. […] He is the virile power, to which the Empress responds, and in this sense is he who seeks to remove the Veil of Isis “.
In literature, painting and cinema, there are many scenes and characters that more or less accurately illustrate the meaning of this Major Arcana. One of the most interesting is Aragorn II, son of Arathorn, from J. R. R. Tolkien’s books and one of the main protagonists of The Lord of the Rings.
Aragorn was a Ranger of the North, with the name Strider, as the Hobbits continued to call him throughout The Lord of the Rings. He was eventually discovered to be the heir of Isildur and rightful claimant to the thrones of Arnor and Gondor. He led the Fellowship of the Ring following the loss of Gandalf in the Mines of Moria while fighting the Balrog of Morgoth. When the Fellowship was broken, he tracked the hobbits Meriadoc and Peregrin with the help of Legolas the elf and Gimli the dwarf to Fangorn Forest and fought in the battle at Helm’s Deep and the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. After defeating Sauron’s forces in Gondor he led an army of Gondor and Rohan against the Black Gate of Mordor to distract Sauron’s attention so that Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee would have a chance to destroy the One Ring. At the end of The Lord of the Rings he was crowned King Elessar Telcontar of Gondor. He married Elrond’s daughter, Arwen, and assumed the Sceptre of Annúminas as King of Arnor, uniting the two kingdoms for the first time since the reign of Isildur.
We chose, to illustrate the Emperor nature of Aragorn, one of his speeches from the movie. We see him armed, on horseback, ready for battle. And, with this fighting spirit of Mars, he also prepares his soldiers for the fight.