Trumps III and IV represent Parents in their archetypical way. Just as the
Empress stands for Mother Nature, the Emperor is the social word, the structure of
civilization, a symbol for its law and order, may they be good or bad, but the power
behind them. He is the abstraction of establishment, its stability and security.
In its negative aspects the card can represent the force of bad law in a society where stability is rated higher than morals or ethic. Once law and order are established as an institution, a bad emperor can turn out to be a disaster. And even at his best the Emperor is limited - he puts restrictions and borders to the spontanity of spirit and nature.
In a more personal view the Emperor might stand for a time of stability and structure, linear thinking and discipline. Yet we can't live without it, too many of those attributes will only lead to rational despotism and mental poverty.
Drive: Mastery of the will over nature, a sense for law and order, plan and structure
Light: Creation, recognition, stability, realism, responsiveness
Shadow: Despotism, selfcomplacancy, poorness of feelings, lack of fantasy; rationalism as a prison