Archetypes in Tarot – The Father Archetype

Today, we are going to look at the Father Archetype, another essential archetype within the Major Arcana. Just as the Empress represented the Mother Archetype, the Emperor card in the Major Arcana represents the Father Archetype.

If we look at the picture of the Emperor card, we will see an old man (with a very white beard) sitting on a throne. Tall, harsh mountains surround him. And they have absolutely no greenery. The Emperor sitting on the throne wears a red colored dress, and has armor beneath it. An orange-red glow suffuses the card. The very little river flowing at the base of the mountain depicts the only sign of some emotion!

The Father Archetype

The RebelThe Father Archetype typically represents the way fathers, or fatherly people are depicted or perceived in the world around us. Such people usually are very harsh, strict, and have a very disciplined and systematic approach towards life. They are the ones who go out there and work hard and ‘bring in the bacon’ so to speak. And when they are at home, and in their territory, they are the absolute rulers.

The Father Archetype Around Us

All around us in myth, literature and art, we find many different examples of the Father Archetype. And many of these representations show the father figure as a strict and disciplined person, who likes to set down rules for others to follow.

Time is often referred to as Father Time – because he is the one who rules the process of change and transformation in the world.

In mythology, Father figures also include the Greek God Zeus, the Father of all Gods, and the Roman God Jupiter, the King of he Gods.

Naturally, a good connection to summarize all of this is our own fathers, who were often strict, and had very disciplined approaches.

The Father Archetype in Tarot – The Emperor Card

The EmperorIn our Tarot card deck, the Emperor card is the one that effectively represents the Father Archetype.

With the ‘devoid of trees’ landscape, the picture easily conveys an image of a person who most certainly does not have an emotionally motivated approach towards life.

With all the red and orange colors, we see a lot of energy and heat – someone who can go out there and work hard in the ‘sweltering heat of the day’.

The Emperor sits with an orb and an Ankh in his hands – thus representing the fact that he has the power of giving life to his world, his territory.

The white haired beard represents wisdom and age, and of course, the wisdom that comes with age.

And the armor represents the capability and readiness to fight, if need be, to protect his kingdom.

Thus, put together, this card is the perfect representation of the Father archetype – a person who takes care of the kingdom with a no-nonsense approach, and who if required can fight to protect it, and at the same time, he is wise and therefore strict and disciplined about the way he does things in his territory.

Your Turn / In Conclusion…

What do you think? Does the Emperor card effectively convey the concept of the Father archetype? Are there some elements that I might have missed out on? What is your take on this archetype?

Please do add your thoughts in the comments section below.