Images from the classic Rider Waite Tarot represent The Emperor and Death birth cards.

Tarot Birth Card Meanings: The Emperor and Death

Your path is all about dominance and protection

By Staff

Your Tarot birth cards are special guides meant to help you find your way. Based on your birth date, these cards carry messages of encouragement and reminders to help you stay on track.

The Emperor and Death are united by themes of dominance and protection, so if you have this pair in your Tarot birth card lineup, you have a special opportunity to explore these energies and make them your own.

The Emperor Tarot CardDeath Tarot Card

Support, Protection, Dominance
Gifts: Responsibility, Will, Security
Challenges: Fear of the unknown, Rigidity, Superiority
Advice: Look for the beginning in every ending. Stand up for those you love. Embrace simple pleasures.

Interpreting The Emperor (#4) and Death (#13) Birth Cards

The Emperor is a card of power, authority, and control. It suggests a stable presence and a strong sense of self. This card represents a protective nature, essentially guarding the perimeter so that whoever’s inside is safe to explore without fear. The Emperor is traditionally associated with fatherhood, but its energy isn’t limited by gender or parental role. Anyone who’s willing to look out for the well-being of others or themselves -- and who can be assertive about it -- is channeling The Emperor.

The Death card is even more forceful than The Emperor. It represents the changes that come for all of us, the ones we can’t outrun forever. As a Tarot archetype, Death is almost never a reference to actual physical death. Instead, it’s a gateway into valuable lessons. Death in the Tarot is what allows us to learn deep and lasting truths. Like The Emperor, it gives us space to grow.

Together, The Emperor and Death Tarot birth cards inspire you to sense the support that others need -- and use your strength and stability to provide it.

The gifts of The Emperor and Death

Each set of Tarot birth cards suggests certain talents and natural abilities. Here are a few associated with The Emperor and Death:

1. Responsibility

You’re probably well-aware of your duties, and the weight of them rests heavy on your shoulders. Your commitment to stand up for what matters is admirable. This quality makes you a person that others can trust, and you won’t let their belief in you go to waste.

2. Will

The Emperor and Death are two unstoppable forces in the Tarot. When either one shows up, it means business. Your passionate, determined disposition can get you into trouble now and then, but make no mistake: it’s one of the most important weapons in your arsenal. The trick is learning to use it gracefully.

3. Security

Your ability to protect and support others depends on their ability to feel safe with you. Offering a secure environment and a steady presence is key. At times, you may feel jealous of those who live in a more varied, exciting way -- it must be nice to be that carefree! That’s not your way, though. You have an old soul, and you know the value of building something that lasts.

The challenges of The Emperor and Death

Alongside the gifts, your Tarot birth cards can indicate some particular obstacles. Here’s what to look out for as you get to know The Emperor and Death:

1. Fear of the unknown

All humans have to contend with fear, of course, but with your special connection to the Death card, you might experience this basic human emotion most often in areas where you’re uncertain or where you have no control. Additionally, The Emperor in you wants to wield power and influence. If something is mysterious to you, you probably won’t see that as exciting. Instead, you’re likely to feel overwhelmed and intimidated.

2. Rigidity

Emperor energy is famously inflexible. If you have high standards or clear expectations, you can be a little baffled when others don’t meet them or try to convince you to see things differently. Your strong sense of self is an asset -- the trick is knowing when to pick your battles.

3. Superiority

Be careful about looking down your nose at others! It’s natural to judge now and then, but if people consistently get the sense that you think you’re above them, they’ll struggle to confide in you. Remember: being available to protect others is an important part of your journey. You don’t want to make others feel sheepish about asking for your help.

How to work with The Emperor and Death

1. Look for the beginning in every ending.

In Tarot, the Death card marks an important transition point. It signifies a conclusion, yes, but it also heralds the start of a new journey. This is a powerful lesson for you. It’s only human to have difficulty letting go at times, so there’s no shame in that. If you’re able, though, look for the ways in which every ending makes new life possible.

2. Stand up for those you love.

You’re a natural-born ally. When the people in your life are trying to do something brave or original, they might need a little boost. Tell them how brilliant they are! Be open with your praise! If you happen to be in a situation where others are hyper-critical, don’t be afraid to shush them. Your vote of confidence means a lot.

3. Embrace simple pleasures.

It’s important to give yourself a break from the serious natures of The Emperor and Death. These two cards can be a lot sometimes, and burning out isn’t going to help anyone. Make sure to enjoy the lighter side of life -- and not just every once in a while, either! Use the order and focus of The Emperor to schedule time for your favorite activities. You’re allowed to do things that make you happy, even if they have no other purpose.

Birth cards are only the beginning! Reveal your ENTIRE Cosmic Profile now for FREE!Birth cards are only the beginning! Understand unfolding issues and optimize your outcome with a Timeline Tarot Reading.

Curious about other birth cards and what wisdom they hold? Use our Tarot birth card calculator to explore the possibilities!

Read About Your Tarot Birth Cards

The Magician +
The Wheel of Fortune
The Magician and The Wheel of Fortune
The Path of Power
The High Priestess +
The High Priestess and Justice
The Path of Knowledge
The Empress +
The Hanged Man
The Empress and The Hanged Man
The Path of Surrender
The Emperor +
The Emperor and Death
The Path of Protection
The Hierophant +
The Hierophant and Temperance
The Path of Tradition
The Lovers +
The Devil
The Lovers and The Devil
The Path of Freedom
The Chariot +
The Tower
The Chariot and The Tower
The Path of Change
Strength +
The Star
Strength and The Star
The Path of Vulnerability
The Hermit +
The Moon
The Hermit and The Moon
The Path of Hidden Truth
The Magician + The Wheel
of Fortune + The Sun
The Magician, The Wheel of Fortune, and The Sun
The Path of Cycles
The High Priestess +
The High Priestess and Judgement
The Path of Notoriety
The Empress +
The World
The Empress and The World
The Path of Connection

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