Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C is for Court Cards

Today's topic is about the court cards of the tarot.

Your standard tarot deck has 78 cards. 22 of them are the major arcana, and another 40 are the pips (ace through ten). The 16 cards that remain are known as the tarot court.

The Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck has four of each of the following kinds of cards, one of each of the suits of wands, pentacles, swords, and cups. While there are many different ways to interpret these cards, here are some examples to work with.

Kings are a masculine energy, and tend to be an active form of the elemental energy. For me, kings can represent males over 18 years old.

Queens are a feminine energy, and for me seem more passive. Queens can represent females over 18.

Pages are messengers, and the type of message depends on the element. For me, they represent children--anyone under 18--or immature adults, in either a good or bad way.

Knights for me are attitude adjustments. When they come up, they don't show up as people. The real question for the Knight in my view is how the client is going to use the energy of the knight.

Many people express frustration with the court cards because the palette of possible meanings for them is huge. My advice for learning to work with them is to take your time and start with very basic meanings, and then work your way outward. A good handle on the four elements--fire, earth, air, and water--will also make this process a lot easier; you can use the various court cards to represent people of particular astrological signs as well.

Thanks for tuning in! Please come back tomorrow for my "D" post. :)


  1. This is a great explanation for a Tarot beginner like me- thank you for posting!

    Do you have any recommendations of books or online resources with more information about understanding the basic elements? Most of the beginner Tarot books I've read haven't really address those areas in depth.

  2. The court cards are tough for me, especially the knights!

    1. I agree, Jen. The knights can be tricky and there are a number of different ways to work with them. It is almost like you kind of have to start with a philosophy about how you think you should read them and then allow it to morph naturally as you gain more expertise. Thanks so much for your comment! :)

  3. Thanks loveandlacquer! I prefer Joan Bunning's "learning the tarot" to start and then later on I would check out Llwellyn's book on the tarot court that is in their tarot series. :)

  4. I am a total dork, because the one thing I totally clued into was the "palette of possibilities" phrase. You are in so much trouble in the Intermediate Astrology class. I think I need a refresher first. DOH. I may have to print this out and put it with my tarot notes, though. :-) Nice and succinct.

  5. Thanks, Amy! And I am sure we can schedule a cram session to review for intermediate astrology. ;)

  6. ????
    *Reader pulls a clarifier*
    It's super effective!