The Emperor depicts a man sat upon a throne, holding an ankh in one hand, and an orb in the other. He has a long, flowing beard and wears a crown. The Emperor card, when drawn upright, represents authority, structure, fatherhood and establishment. When reversed, the card represents dominion, control and rigidity. The symbol consists of an ankh within a circle, which is itself housed within a square – symbolizing protection and structure.
The Tarot that first appeared in the 15th century in Europe as a deck of cards used in various games.
Although a full Tarot deck has 78 cards, the Major Arcana is made up of only 22 of these (sometimes considered 21, The Fool being separate). The remaining 56 cards are referred to as the Minor Arcana. These Tarot cards were used throughout much of modern-day Europe to play conventional card games.
In the 18th century, Tarot decks began to be associated with divination, card reading and the occult. Although some tarot enthusiasts claim the practice of card reading with tarot decks originates in ancient cultures, there is no evidence of this.
In English-speaking countries, where the card games are less common, this is the primary association many make with tarot cards. Cards used for divination and readings typically come from purposely designed packs.
Each of the Major Arcana cards has a series of meanings and implications, which differ depending upon whether they are drawn upright or reversed. Often, the meanings when reversed are contradictory to those expressed when the card is drawn upright.
The Major Arcana also tells a story. The Fool, which is unnumbered, is the main character of the tale. The 21 numbered cards that follow describe the encounters he has upon his journey. The many experiences and trials are thought to be analogous to the experiences and trials of one’s journey through life.
The symbols in this category are entirely new, having been constructed to represent the core images and themes of the original tarot illustrations. They have been translated into a brand new symbolic language, unique to the Symbolikon project.