Posts Tagged ‘tarot court cards’
The Tarot Journey –Turning Challenges into Stepping Stones
Court cards of the Tarot can be fascinating to explore, yet they may feel daunting and confusing for many people as well – especially those who are new to the tarot . . . but even pose a challenge to those who have been working with the Tarot for awhile and just can’t seem to get a grip with the court cards.
It’s time to make friends with the Tarot court cards! Make peace with them!
I’m sure you’ve heard that court cards could represent any of the following:
- Other people
- Yourself or a part of yourself trying to emerge or express itself
- Actual events or situations
- Specific energies in a situation
So the question naturally emerges: “HOW do I know which of the above possibilities a court card is implying in my readings?”
That’s the tricky thing of it all. The Tarot relies on YOUR voice to be expressed. So the court cards aren’t going to jump out and literally say, “Hey, look at me, I represent your boss at work!” Or, “Hey you, I’m a part of yourself that needs to be expressed!” And of course, neither will a card simply even tell us, “I’m just a messenger here to let you know that there is some news you’ll soon learn about.”
We might ask ourselves why we don’t get hung up on all those major arcana cards that show us people in them – such as the Magician, the Empress, Hanged Man, and so many others! So why do we get hung up on seeing people in a court card then?
It may be that subconsciously the concept of “court cards” itself is barring us from the full view. We are getting hung up and stuck on the fact that, “Oh my god, this is a court card, so I just don’t know how to read it – but I fully understand all the other cards that presented people in them, because they are not court cards.”
And yes, court cards have been labeled as “the people cards” in the Tarot. Yet many other cards of the Tarot deck also feature people in them. The Tarot Courts are also considered to be like the “royal family.” Some may view them like daughter (Page), son (Knight), mother (Queen), and father (King).
When it comes to people, we also know that the tarot doesn’t stereotype. So that “daughter” or Page could equally be a male if referencing an actual person. If a King comes up for a woman, it can be expressing her masculine energy side. Conversely, if a Page or a Queen appear for a man, that can be expressing the more feminine or emotional side of that person.
What if the Page of Cups was no longer considered a page and he was simply titled “Messenger of Emotions” or “Learning about Emotions.” What if that Page of Cups was among the Major Arcana – I’m just saying “what if” here . . . of course, the Pages are not among the Majors. They are Minor Arcana cards. But how would your perception then change of the card? Would it still be hard for you to figure out what that card had to say if you weren’t stuck on it actually having to be a person and being from that dreaded court card group?
If you lay out a spread, and court cards come up, ask yourself if you can identify with any of them as being actual people in your life. If you don’t feel that to be the case, maybe you can identify with them as a part of yourself at that given time, or a part of yourself that is wanting to be expressed. It could relate to how YOU feel about something, or what you may be inclined to do, feel, or believe.
And if you still don’t see a court card as another person or a part of yourself, then chances are, that court card simply reveals a particular energy or an event in the overall situation. For example, the Page of Cups can suggest emotional beginnings, a messenger that reveals something related to emotions, or it may show a period of you or someone learning about his/her emotions.
The thing is – court cards don’t have to represent actual people. Certainly they can, of course, but so can the Magician card, among others, represent a person or a part of yourself. A simple pip card like the 8 of Wands might represent a part of you that wants to hurry things along and get a quick result.
The King of Swords can reveal decisiveness and firm control. He’s really got his kingdom in order. Everything is organized, planned, and mapped out to a tee! So that could show something within you that is needed to come forth, or it may ask you to look for someone who is like the King of Swords who can help show you the way on whatever you’re working on. It could mean that your situation or project needs more planning, structure, and control – or that you need to literally get a grip on your life and think more logically and less emotionally. Or it could be assuring you that you do have things in order and you may be preparing to move forth with your ideas.
There are just soooo many ways to look at a court card, and that’s not necessarily good news for a student of tarot who is looking for everything to fit into a black and white mold. Eventually though, if you let your intuition start taking over, you are going to identify what those court cards mean, and they are not going to feel so dreaded every time they come up.
Don’t panic when you see a court card. And definitely don’t cover it up with a different card to avoid it! Decide to greet that card and say, “You know what, it’s time we made a friendship here, don’t you agree?” Your card will definitely agree!
Now since I know you may be feeling a bit disheartened about answers that don’t provide an easy map or step-by-step guide, there are some things you can take into consideration with the court cards to help guide you.
What direction is that court card facing?
Sometimes you can see a story when a court card is facing either another court card or some other card from the Tarot. Or maybe you will see a court card with its back turned to the next card, as if it’s not paying any attention to what’s going on.
Consider this as one example among hundreds of possibilities . . .
In this scenario with the 2 of Cups and the Queen of Cups, it looks like the situation is related to love, partnerships, or feelings and emotions. The Queen is looking in that direction, too! Her heart is urging her toward that association.
But change these two cards around, and what does it look like?
In this scenario, it actually looks like the Queen isn’t especially interested in this union. She’s got her back turned to it and may still be dwelling on a love from the past that could prevent her from moving on. The opportunity for love seems to be there, but will she take it? Will she turn around and really look at the potentials that are there?
Just because two favorable cards turn up in the Tarot together doesn’t necessarily mean that you will act favorably in the situation – or that someone else will do so.
Look at the Queen of Swords and the Queen of Pentacles. They face each other, and it looks as if they could be having a chat. The Swords suit may be well-known for conflict, but it’s also about communication. It looks like the Queen of Swords is inviting the Queen of Pentacles to talk about what’s on her mind. And with that Coin that the Queen of Pentacles holds, it may be money or business that is on her mind. She knows how to be practical and down-to-earth, but maybe she could use some of the Queen of Swords’ advice on how to be firm and establish boundaries in her business efforts.
Or this could even be a situation where the logical Queen of Swords is asking for advice from the Queen of Pentacles. With this Queen’s hand extended, she seems to either be asking for something or inviting someone/something in to her personal space.
And now, look at the Queen of Cups and the Queen of Pentacles
The Queen of Cups has her back turned on the Queen of Pentacles, because the dreamy love-filled Queen of Cups can sometimes be in her own emotional world. The Queen of Pentacles is behind her, perhaps trying to get her attention. If you see something like this in a layout, it may be that someone is trying to get your attention, or you’re trying to get the attention of someone else.
What comes to my mind with the Queen of Pentacles and the Queen of Swords in a back-to-back arrangement like this – especially with the Queen of Swords’ hand extended — is that maybe “one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing.” Obviously these are both positive upright court cards, but maybe it’s asking us to take note of what is going on around us instead of being so much “in our own heads.” We may need to be practical, which might also require more openness and communication with others.
Another consideration is when a court card has its back turned, it could imply (depending on the circumstances being asked about) that something is literally going on “behind one’s back!”
Take a look at this one – which includes a reversed court card:
I can almost feel that the Queen of Pentacles is getting gossiped about behind her back with that nasty Reversed Queen of Swords looking at her like that. Use your imagination, and let things just flow! LOL, remember what the Queen of Swords is when she’s reversed? I’ll give you a hint – it rhymes with witch!
Look at the spread below: Queen of Pentacles – Knight of Cups – The Devil
This Queen of Pentacles is someone who loves her family, her children, her home, and her career. She likes things to be in place and neatly organized. But when it comes to teenaged children, a parent learns (often the hard way) that keeping kids in order and on the up-and-up isn’t as easy as it seems it should be.
This Queen of Pentacles may be a mother who is not aware that her son or daughter is just about to get hooked up into either some kind of addiction, or a bad love relationship. Since this is the Knight of Cups, the spread could imply that it’s a teen love relationship that isn’t going to turn out well in consideration of that Devil card. If there were other cards in the spread that pointed to alcohol or drugs (addiction type cards), then there could also be that problem that the teenager is running into.
But here, the Knight of Cups hasn’t crossed over that stream yet. Even if this represented a teenager who did try drugs with his or her friends or who was otherwise starting to get involved with a negative person, it’s not too late to help that child! The horse hasn’t “crossed over” that stream yet. So this spread would be shouting for awareness to a parent who had concerns about her child or children! Even if you had the best and most well-behaved teenager like the sweet Knight of Cups . . . that doesn’t promise any assurance that the child will not be tempted toward negative and harmful things in life. The message here would be to turn around and pay attention to what your kids are doing – before it’s too late!
Try to identify each court card with someone currently in your life or that you’ve dealt with and known in the past
A helpful thing to do with the court cards is to decide who in your life you feel each one could represent. Of course, none of us are “only” like one individual court card. Men can be like any of the Kings at various times and for different situations, and the same is true for women and Queens. But generally speaking, you might pick up a trait from a court card that is a good description of someone’s typical personality or behavior.
For example, I always associate my 5-year old grandson with the Page of Wands. So when I pull that card, it could represent him, or it could represent the energy of the Page of Wands in general that is a part of a situation. It could represent someone like him if the question isn’t about him or related to him in any way.
When I pull the Reversed Queen of Swords, I know there is some real bitchy energy happening if it’s a person . . . and I have to look to whether it’s someone else, or if I myself have taken on such an attitude and need to work on an “attitude adjustment.” Or it may just be the general situation where one could say that “life is a bitch” at times, and I need to deal with it regardless. The Reversed Queen of Swords might be pointing out for me to beware of a person like this reversed card, or it may be asking me to watch out for that sort of conflicting energy overall – such as through gossip and rumors that I should not participate in if I don’t want it coming back to bite me later.
Go through your court cards and see if you can find a person that you would identify that card with. It can be someone you know from family or friendship circles, or it could even be a famous person. But see if you can connect the court card energy with an actual person – even a story book character or someone from a movie if nothing else. Then, each time you see that card in a reading, you’ll recall the “hint” of that person’s general energy that can help you understand whether the card really is pointing to a person . . . or just those energies. And sometimes those court cards do point to how we might be feeling at the time of a reading, too. A lot depends on the position of the spread it comes up in, and of course, what your intuition is telling you as well.
Seriously, do this exercise, because it can help you! There is no map or guide that lays court cards out on a step-by-step basis for interpretation, so you need to do the work to start getting better acquainted with them. If you choose not to do so, they will continue to elude you and frustrate you.
Time to get your cards out and play!
To practice with court cards, one of the best ways to do it is to play with your cards. Interact with those court cards and make peace with them.
Shuffle up your deck and lay out three cards – or you can just use two if you want to. If no court cards come up, you get a “redo.” Put those cards aside and try for two or three more cards until there is a court card in the mix.
For example, here is what I got in playing with this:
I definitely got a court card on my first try, so I’ll use these cards to simply tell a story without worrying whether I’m right or wrong – just simply playing with my cards and enjoying the process.
So what do I see here? The first card with the 9 of Wands shows us a sense of wariness – someone who is like a warrior that is defending his boundaries. It’s clear that he’s been hurt in the past, and he’s protecting himself now.
Then we have the Ace of Pentacles in the center. I see a path that I could take – a practical path perhaps and one that can lead me to prosperity. That sense of “prosperity” doesn’t have to be about money. It could equally relate to something emotional like the Knight of Cups suggests.
So here the Knight of Cups seems to be moving forward, despite past hurts in a relationship. He’s decided to take that path, even though there are mountains in the distance of the Ace of Pentacles to suggest that everything won’t necessarily come easy. You have to work at it. And if this is a relationship situation, relationships require work, too. Sometimes you have to let go of past hurts so that you don’t rob yourself of new opportunities being presented!
In this case, that Knight of Cups could be you moving into a new relationship. Or it could be you moving into a new, practical job situation. There is something “new” in this situation, even though it’s a matter for which you’ve previously felt quite guarded about. Now you are ready to open up your heart and accept the opportunity that’s there for you.
If such a description didn’t apply to you – say that you were not changing jobs and you are already happily married, then the Knight of Cups court card here could be your children . . . and if not, maybe there is something new on the way for you anyway. And that “new element” could relate to something that makes you a little wary or has hurt you in the past.
It could be something that asks you to let down your guard a little bit and re-evaluate your boundaries so that you don’t miss a good thing when it comes up for your attention. It could even suggest the rekindling of a difficult relationship if you’re partnered but things have been hard lately.
You see, there are many ways you can play with this . . . and the more you play with the court cards and see how they interact with each other and with the other cards in the tarot, the more you will see – and the more you’ll build your intuitive process. The more you will start to trust what you see . . . even when the court cards come calling!
Maybe you might prefer to just work with card pairs at first to keep things simple. So here’s an example of two cards – with one of them being a court card. I drew until I got a pair that included a court card, and here’s what I got:
The Queen of Cups and the 10 of Wands. What do you suppose that could imply? Perhaps the emotional Queen is not wanting to look at a burden in her life. Or perhaps someone is shouldering most of the burden for her, and he could actually use some help from her. Maybe she simply doesn’t want to face what she has to do, because it would be such an emotional conflict for her to do so.
If we paired keywords here we could look at this as an “emotional burden.” This Queen may have to get out of her sweet, dreamy state and do some work on the situation at hand.
We’ve also looked at how this Queen can be turning her back. Maybe she is turning her back on something that looks difficult to do. Or maybe she is so delighted by something that she isn’t actually seeing the work that it’s going to take to reach her desired goal.
These are some of the ways you could look at this pair of cards that includes the Queen of Cups court card.
So play around with your cards, using two and three cards at a time where at least one of those cards will be a court card and see what you come up with. Let this be fun so that you don’t have to keep getting that dreaded feeling inside each time you see a court card appear. Through time, you can learn to welcome the cards from this royal family of the Tarot
In the next post, I’ll talk about putting the cards together to tell a story.
Happy Tarot Journeys
Do you have a dilemma with tarot that’s got you perplexed? Are you facing a particular challenge with Tarot? Please share, and your topic may be covered in a future blog post in this Tarot Journey series.