Monday, February 22, 2010

Who are you People? Court Cards of the Tarot

Who are you People? Court Cards of the Tarot

Session Three

In the last two sessions, we began to see how the parts of the Tarot Deck work. In the first lesson, we examined the way in which we can see the Major Trumps and the Archetypes communicate to us with image and symbol. Then in the second lesson, we looked at the Suit cards. We learned how to combine the number and the suit to create a grid where each new card has a unique position and meaning. In this final lesson we will now look at how the people in Tarot show themselves and how we can begin to see them and understand how they fit into the world of Tarot.

Chances are that the Court Cards can be the most difficult set of cards to understand in the Tarot Deck. The reason that they can be a struggle is because they are open to many different understandings and approaches to the Court Cards. There are a couple of things that I want you to keep in mind as we begin to study them today.

1. You can do this. The Court Cards fit in the system we have been learning.

2. The Court Cards are your tools. You can choose how to use them.

3. There are a few simple steps to use to get started.

4. Observation and use are how you will get an understanding of them best.

Introduction to the Court Cards

In each deck of Tarot cards, there are the Major Trumps and the Suit Cards. The Suits of the Tarot include the numbered cards Aces through the Tens but they also hold the Court Cards or the Face Cards. There are four members of the Suits Court and this is different from the standard deck of playing cards, which only has three Court Cards. The evolution of Tarot Cards has allowed different deck creators to change and adapt the Court Cards to meet their own system and so you will find that they vary in naming from deck to deck.

Common Names:

• Rider-Waite-Smith: Page, Knight, Queen, King

• Crowley-Harris Thoth: Princess, Prince, Queen, Knight

• Elemental/Vision Quest: Daughter, Son, Mother, Father

• Voyager: Child, Man, Woman, Sage

• Shapeshifter: Seeker, Warrior, God, Goddess

• World Spirit: Seer, Seeker, Sibyl, Sage

• Lo Scarabeo: Knave, Knight, Queen, King

For this class I am sticking with the most common Rider-Waite-Smith names. Each of these decks have significant reasons for renaming the Court and reordering it they way that they do. It may be that with some study that one of these systems may standout as something that you identify with more clearly.


We will begin by looking at what is distinctive about each of the Ranks. (Page, Knight, Queen, King) We will look at how each of them is distinctive and how they are all different from each other. Just as we discussed last time with the numbers, the ranks should all have things in common across the suits.

Looking at your sixteen Court Cards I want you to look at them in the groups according to the Rank. Look at all the Pages together, all the Knights together, all the Queens together and all the Kings together. I want you to write down two things that each of the Ranks have in common with each other.

One of the most common uses for the Court Cards in a reading is to show how the individuals in a situation are relating to each other. If the Court Cards are people then they will help us to see how people are the same and how they are different. What are the categories you could group under the Rank of Pages, Knights, Queens or Kings?

Aspects of the Ranks -- As People or Characteristics


Gender: Child or Unmarried Woman

Age: Youth -- Child

Relationship to Querent: Younger Than . . .

Developmental step: Learning

Barbara Moore: Novices and Eager

Element: Earth

Kabbalah: Malkuth

Astrological: Seasons


Gender: Youth or Unmarried Man

Age: Teen or Young Adult

Relationship: Same as . . . Equals

Developmental Step: Doing/Practicing

Barbara Moore: Extremists and Experimenting

Element: Fire

Kabbalah: Tiphareth

Astrology: Mutable Signs


Gender: Mature Woman

Age: Mature and Responsive

Relationship: Above but Supportive

Developmental: Feeling/Teaching

Barbara Moore: Producing

Element: Water

Kabbalah: Binah

Astrology: Cardinal Signs


Gender: Mature Men

Age: Mature and Expressive (of the Suit)

Relationship: Above and Authority

Developmental: Ruling/Controlling

Barbara Moore: Leading

Element: Air

Kabbalah: Chokma

Astrology: Fixed Signs

There are three main ways in which to use the Court Cards.

1. Court Cards can represent People. This can be the Querent or others in the situation

2. Court Cards can illustrate a relationship or how people in a reading are connected.

*This can be literal

*This can also be what is perceived in the relationship

3. Court Cards can also show a person is a stage of progression

Court Cards -- The Break Down

The Suit of Wands -- The Fire Suit -- Representing creativity, action, movement, enthusiasm, adventure, risk-taking, and confidence. A Masculine principle, it is the outer expression of ego and drive.

Page of Wands

Element: Earth of Fire

Astrological: Season of Spring

Myers Briggs: INTP

Joan Bunning: Be Enthusiastic, Courageous

Linda Gail Waters: The Initiator

WebWeaver: Wow!

-- A free spirit, Enthusiastic, impatient

Knight of Wands

Element: Fire of Fire

Astrological: Mutable Fire (Sagittarius)

Myers Briggs: ENTP

Joan Bunning: Charming, Daring, Fool Hardy, Hot Tempered

Linda Gail Waters: The Fulfiller, Inventor

WebWeaver: Errand

-- Taking a Journey, Passionate, Headstrong Action

Queen of Wands

Element: Water of Fire

Astrological: Cardinal Fire (Aries)

Myers Briggs: INTJ

Joan Bunning: Attractive, Whole-hearted, Cheerful

Linda Gail Waters: The Seer

WebWeaver: Optimist

--Charismatic, Creative, Assertive, She knows what she wants

King of Wands

Element: Air of Water

Astrological: Fixed Fire (Leo)

Myers Briggs: ENTJ

Joan Bunning: Creative, Bold, Forceful,

Linda Gail Waters: The Field Marshall

WebWeaver: Entrepreneur

--Leadership, Visionary, The Idea Man, Presence, Enterprise

The Suit of Cups -- The Water Suit -- Emotions, spirituality, inner states, feeling, intuitive awareness, The Feminine principle of flowing energy and passive responses.

Page of Cups

Element: Earth of Water

Astrological: Season of Summer

Myers Briggs: INFP

Joan Bunning: Be Emotional, Loving, Be Intuitive

Linda Gail Waters: The Dreamer

WebWeaver: Sensitivity

--Affectionate, Expressive, Touch, Intuitive Messages

Knight of Cups

Element: Fire of Water

Astrological: Mutable Water (Pisces)

Myers Briggs: ENFP

Joan Bunning: Romantic, Imaginative, Introverted, Over-emotional

Linda Gail Waters: The Carefree Spirit

WebWeaver: Invitation

--Idealist, Fanciful, The Dreamy Romantic

Queen of Cups

Element: Water of Water

Astrological: Cardinal Water (Cancer)

Myers Briggs: INFJ

Joan Bunning: Deep Emotions, Loving, Intuitive

Linda Gail Waters: The Free Spirit

WebWeaver: Empathy

-- Damsel, Deep-feeler, Internalizes, Spiritual

King of Cups

Element: Air of Water

Astrological: Fixed Water (Scorpio)

Myers Briggs: ENFJ

Joan Bunning: Wise, Calm, Diplomatic, Tolerant

Linda Gail Waters: The Lover

WebWeaver: Liberal

--Expansive, Controlling, Artist, Priest, Emotional Maturity

The Suit of Swords -- The Air Suit -- Intellect, thought, reason, communication, truth, logic, reason, a Masculine principle of mental clarity and the constant state of mental change, volatile.

Page of Swords

Element: Earth of Air

Astrological: Season of Autumn

Myers Briggs: ISTP

Joan Bunning: Use your mind, Be Just, Be Truthful

Linda Gail Waters: The Professional

WebWeaver: Quickness

--New ideas, Quick and Lively mind, Over thinker

Knight of Swords

Element: Fire of Air

Astrological: Mutable Air (Gemini)

Myers Briggs: ESTP

Joan Bunning: Direct, Blunt, Logical, Opinionated

Linda Gail Waters: The Communicator

WebWeaver: Forceful

--Valiant, Quick witted, Sarcastic, Hell-bent Charger

Queen of Swords

Element: Water of Air

Astrological: Cardinal Air (Libra)

Myers Briggs: ISTJ

Joan Bunning: Honest, Forthright, Witty, Experienced,

Linda Gail Waters: The Provider

WebWeaver: Candor

--Structured, clear-eyed, demanding, Widow, Ice Queen, Amazon

King of Swords

Element: Air of Air

Astrological: Fixed Air (Aquarius)

Myers Briggs: ESTJ

Joan Bunning: Intellectual, Articulate, Just

Linda Gail Waters: The Administrator

WebWeaver: Analytical

--Philosopher, Editor, Judge, Truth tempered with Mercy

Suit of Pentacles -- The Earth Suit -- Practicality, security, material concerns, work, stuff, money, a Feminine principle of a pragmatic understanding of them as a mutual singular, prosperity, wealth, need and charity.

Page of Pentacles

Element: Earth of Earth

Astrological: Season of Winter

Myers Briggs: ISFP

Joan Bunning: Be Practical, Prosperous

Linda Gail Waters: The Listener

WebWeaver: Diligent

--Studious, Fascinated with the new, Messenger

Knight of Pentacles

Element: Fire of Earth

Astrological: Mutable Earth (Virgo)

Myers Briggs: ESFP

Joan Bunning: Unwavering, Cautious, Stubborn, Pessimistic

Linda Gail Waters: The Promoter

WebWeaver: Reliable

--The Boy Scout "Be Prepared" Faithful, Hesitant

Queen of Pentacles

Element: Water of Earth

Astrological: Cardinal Earth (Capricorn)

Myers Briggs: ISFJ

Joan Bunning: Down-to-Earth, Big Hearted, Resourceful

Linda Gail Waters: The Builder

WebWeaver: Nurturing

--Warm, Generous, Hospitality, Crafty, Domestic Goddess

King of Pentacles

Element: Air of Earth

Astrological: Fixed Earth (Taurus)

Myers Briggs: ESTJ

Joan Bunning: Enterprising, Adept, Reliable, Steady

Linda Gail Waters: The Conservator

WebWeaver: Resourceful

--Captain of Industry, Successful, Reaches his Goals

The Four Nodes Spread

At the end of the session, we all read for ourselves using the Four Nodes Spread. This is a spread where we were able to use all the information that we learned from each of the sessions in the class. You begin the spread you take your deck and you separate the Court Cards into a first pile, then the numbered pip cards (Twos through the Tens) into a second pile. The Major Trumps are all separated into a third pile and the left over Aces are in the final and fourth pile.

You begin to shuffle the pile separately and contemplate the question, "What am I experiencing?"

Position One -- Court Card -- This card is the "who" and it tells you who you are acting like. The card is read and you describe the person in the card.

Position Two -- Pip Card -- This card is the "what" and it tells you the situation that the "who" is in. The card is read and you describe the situation in the card by using verbs and action words.

Position Three -- Major Trump -- This card is the "why" and it tells you why the "who" needs the "what". The card is read and look at the archetypal lesson of the card.

Position Four -- Ace -- This card is the "Where” This card tells you the elemental realm of consciousness that all of this is taking place. "Where" the "who" is experiencing the "what."

So with this we end the first set of classes. I think we will be moving to looking at Spread theory, Ill-Dignified cards, Reversals and Elemental Dignities for our next couple of lessons. If you have any specific questions or concerns that you would like to see addressed in the class please let me know so that I can be sure to include those in the lecture and I would also be happy to clarify any of the information that has been covered so far.


Kafka's Ghost said...

Oh Allan, this is SO good to have around! :) I am feeling increasingly more at ease with "these people" but it's always good to have reinforcement. I'm looking forward to the next posts in your education series, too, they are invaluable!

Onyx said...

Wish you were in the Oklahoma area then you could actually come to the class! These are really just my notes and lecture points.

I am much better in person!

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