A while ago I started a series about court cards, then forgot to finish it. Couldn’t let it go.. So here is part 5 of this revamped series! Read the previous posts in this series here.
It was 2013. I was scooting backward in alternating motions – left cheek back an inch, right cheek back, left again – over old stone bricks, dressed in thick denim carpenter shorts that I got second-hand just for the trip.
And it was a trip alright.
With the fingers and arms of some fast friends wrapped around my thighs and ankles, I leaned back over the edge of the moon pyramid at Teotihuacan. The stone ledge hit me right between trapeziuses, right where I hold all my tension. I lay, not thinking about falling or about anything. Open; that’s what I did. With bone, muscle, sinew, and brain – I split right open and made of myself a home for vast crisp thin air, like some kind of inflated balloon.
Rewind to three months before, when my mouse hovered over a payment button on my spiritual mentor’s website.
It was the button for a trip I didn’t yet know I’d take. It cost well over a grand, and there was no one to help me pay. If I go, I go on credit not money, because I didn’t have money. Credit hard-won and meticulously maintained. I decided I’d pay it down one day and that it was worth it.
Then there was the thought that if I can’t afford the trip now, that if I don’t know where the money will come from, then I have no right to spend it because the money isn’t mine. This belief feels just, feels fair. It’s the kind of belief that keeps me out of financial ruin and in my lane. It keeps me small too.
People talk about small like it’s a curse word. But small can be a perfectly viable size. Small means there’s less likelihood of trigger, panic, and generalized despair. Small is simple, and simple is often holy. I have nothing against small. But for the sake of what?
Small for the sake of security is a lie. Because safety is a lie. If the only real motivation for playing small is playing it safe, then that’s nonsense about one-third of the time – only one-third though. Trauma has taught me the value of safety even when it is an illusion.
I dared. I clicked. I debt-ed.
The ravenous flesh-eating bats, spiders, and whatever else might very well get me. The helicopter airlift might never find me once I plummeted to my accidental doom. I might die from malaria. (Is that even a thing in Mexico?) But at least I clicked the damn button. I decided. I would quest. Fear be damned.
The Knights of the tarot court are about action, movement, and quests.
The Knights are associated with the Hebrew letter Aleph 1 and with air. Air as in the wind beneath the wings of things, ideas, actions, progress. It has a similar yang quality to fire. It’s extroverted but destabilizing, revolutionizing, and fast. Keeping with the previous pattern, we can pair the Knights’ association with Aleph to each of their respective elements:
What can we do with this information?
We can apply elemental characteristics to the Knights to learn more about them. Air likes to move, break, seek, and find. Air is about questing. They journey, outside or within. What is a question but a journey that we take inside? The knights are asking. “Move!” they say, and they prod us to ride. They bid us ride or die.
When the Knights are literal, we’re going somewhere on a mighty steed – many miles, just a bit, or all-the-miles. When they are figurative, it’s showtime for the pilot light in our hearts. They bring the change, and they say it’s worth a bit of a fight.
The Knights are the mutable modality in astrology.
The mutable modality is about tearing the fort down. Transitioning things. Just as the cardinal signs begin seasons, the mutable signs end them. The mutable zodiac signs – Sagittarius, Pisces, Gemini, and Virgo – are impossible to pin down. Mutable signs quest.
Even when trapped or stuck, this energy makes a way. Don’t believe me? Check out this list of famous mutable signs:
Hip Hop is rife with mutable sign creators. The legacy of Hip Hip is that of dismantling oppressive systems. This is its origin story and the work of changeable mutable signs.
Even if we know the Knights invite movement, is change guaranteed when we see them?
The Knights won’t come get you out of your house. When we feel powerless to effect change and to act, questions are some of the most reliable ways to move forward. They take the impossible sphere of the macro and concentrate it into a single point, making it something we can more easily grab hold of.
While any quest or question will do, sometimes it pays to take on the right quest and ask the right questions.
Let’s take for example a tarot reading. You ask, “Why won’t my partner/mother/boss leave me alone?” This question explores the will and wants of the partner/mother/boss. The quest is about some other person. With an inquiry like this, the person who asks concerns themselves entirely with someone else’s business. They are absent from their own reading. Leaving the question this way, they remain missing in their own life.
Which questions would invite them to participate in their own reading/life? Ones that acknowledge their will and power. We can ask about other people and when we do it goes best when we recognize the power we have when we interact. It could look like, “What needs am I not getting met in my relationship? What draws me to the person I’m in a relationship with? What do I know about my situation that I have yet to acknowledge?”
These questions center on the will and wants of the querent. Each acknowledges their power to choose, to need, to be drawn in, and to deny. Everything rests with them. The quest here is inward. And good thing too, because this is the place where the querent can make changes – not in the realm of their partner/mother/boss. The common thread is the acknowledgment that our fate depends on what we are willing to do. And if we accept the knights’ invitation to get out our ‘houses’.
The right questions get us to right movement and right action.
To be willing to act and ask questions is to be willing to destroy the world as you know it. It’s to be ready to dismantle defunct systems. It’s to champion the paradigm shift. The quest is the call out, the call in, the impending move, the uncomfortable argument, the necessary doubt. When you receive an invitation from the knights to ride or die, take it.
What anchors the energy of the Knights? How do you quest?
Answer in the comments, link me in your blog post, or as always use #difficultcards.
Ever think of working with me?
Let me quest with you. It’s finally the time of year when I offer readings. Shop my holiday sale.
Or Keep in touch to hear about the book that I’m working on.
Spoiler alert: It’s about intentional relationships, and it’s not for the faint of heart… *grins*
Featured Deck: The Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert Schiffer 2016
Works Cited: 1 Amberstone, Wald, and Ruth Amberstone. “Pain-Free Astrology.” Tarotschool.com. The Tarot School, 2006.
Siobhan (she/they) is a NYC-born writer, spiritual ally, and #radicaltarot reader living in central Texas. Her facilitative reading style is the blended result of over a decade of study of tarot, nonviolent communication, shamanic ritual, sacred sexuality, and alternative relationship. She geeks all those things in her newsletter and blog. She is also the creator of “The ‘Scopes,” the first-ever monthly collaborative tarotscopes which have featured over 40 professional tarot readers in the last three years.