A while ago I started a series about court cards, then forgot to finish it. Couldn’t let it go.. So here is part 6, the final part of this revamped series! Read the previous posts in this series here.
Recently I was reading tarot for an event.
A woman sat across the table from me clutching her husband’s hand and leaning in. A DJ played an unlikely collection of 90s songs just beyond the hanging wooden doors beside us. I turned over the first card, then the next, and so on until six cards lay between us – and I paused, flabbergasted.
It was one of the most unlikely combinations I’ve ever seen in a single spread.
The Princesses depicted in the Sun and Moon Tarot above are more commonly known as Pages. Multiples are common. A few Aces, a few Pages, okay – but an abundance of both and nothing else?! I was a bit tongue-tied. She was obviously pregnant. The cards said it, my intuition said it, and it was easy enough for me to say it out loud. But the part of me that knows there’s way more to potency than pregnancy always resists making that proclamation. Sometimes, you have to call a Page a Page.
Pages are like that post on a social network you haven’t read yet. You glance at the title and make assumptions about the contents, but the fact is, you don’t know. You only know the potential of the information, perhaps the context. All you have at that point is the seed.
The Pages of the tarot court are seeds of potential.
It’s very common to make assumptions about potentiality. It’s very common for people to project what they think they know to fill an empty vessel. We do this for everything touched by the unknown: children, new information, news we haven’t received, unknown feelings, lessons we’ve yet to learn. The Pages can be associated with all of these little mysteries.
It’s common to fear the unknown, to desire to control and contain it. And perhaps this is why in some less-nuanced texts about tarot there is a tendency to belittle the Pages. Maybe you’ve read a book that talks about their naivety? Their brashness? This is quite ironic, since in the oldest and most traditional texts the potency of the Pages is respectfully referenced, as well as their relationship to the Aces. Like the Aces, each Page contains a multitude – all elements combined.
To understand the Pages you must understand the Aces.
The aces represent the roots of the four elements. They are quite above, and distinct from, the other small cards… They form a link between the small cards and the Princesses, who rule the heavens around the North Pole… The aces are not the elements themselves, but the seeds of those elements. (Crowley 177)
At first glance the tarot may seem disjointed. The majors, the courts, and the minors seem to stand alone. But in fact they intertwine, telling a story that transcends time, space, and elements. The Aces are the seam that hold the Pages to the minor or small cards.
The Pages are the bridge into physical existence. Unlike the Kings, Queens, and Knights, which each are loosely associated with a zodiac sign, Pages are associated with the physical form and the element of Earth.
All court cards other than the Pages are associated with a section of the zodiac wheel – the astrological pie that makes up the stars in the sky. They don’t quite match up with the signs directly, but it’s a close enough match to use for memorization. Each court represents the first two thirds of a sign and one third the previous sign.
For example, the Queen of Wands is associated with the last third of Pisces and the first two thirds of Aries. In this way, the court cards weave the zodiac signs together in a never-ending wheel of the year.
I’ve included a chart for reference below. Important note: This is at most only two-thirds correct, because it makes it look like the courts break down neatly along the signs, and as we’ve just discussed, this is not the case. Most tarot references worth their salt will include a chart with the astrological breakdown of the court cards, and some even include the minor cards associated with each slice of the zodiac sky pie wheel.
Where does that leave the Pages, and what do we do with this information?
Remember those pesky time queries? Each of these sections of the zodiac, also known as decans or decanates, is associated with a certain nine or so days. Should you ever find yourself trying to answer a question that involves when something happens, each of the court cards and the minor cards have a certain ten-day period associated with them.
Not only that, the Pages are sometimes associated with seasons: Wands with spring, Cups with summer, Swords with fall, Pentacles with winter. These associations will vary depending on sources, especially the last two. And, no doubt, some people won’t use the Pages this way at all. Up to you. I find these associations VERY handy.
The Pages are the messengers of the tarot court.
In a world where we hardly even use landline phones let alone snail mail, the interpretation of the Pages – the newsies of the tarot – are bound to change. What card would you associate with social networks? Thought leadership? Smart phones? I’d choose Pages.
The Pages herald the future. They are the mascots of the next generation of seekers, of the next iteration of the n.e.w.s. – north, east, west, south. Their status as news bearers harkens back to their dominion over the physical chunks of the earth: Wands with Asia; Cups with the Pacific; Swords with the Americas; Pentacles with Europe and Africa.2 (Does this make them a potential travel guide in a reading?! I mean… anyone ever use them in this way?!! Considering it myself…)
The Pages bring us the business.
They ask what we’re willing to learn, to investigate, to be vulnerable for. They’re too fresh to know (or care) what they don’t know. They bring the whimsy and youth. Don’t discredit them. Especially not when they are the quiet voices calling from within. Only the fool is in the position to question the king and live. Innocence is the sacred garden in which worlds are born.
What anchors the energy of the Pages? What do you seed?
Answer in the comments, link me in your blog post, or as always use #difficultcards.
Ever think of working with me?
Let me seed with you. It’s the time of year when I offer readings. Book with me.
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 Decks: The Mesquite Tarot, art by Bronwyn Walls 2017; The Sun and Moon Tarot by Vanessa Decort US Games 2010
Works Cited: 1 Crowley, Aleister. The Book of Thoth. US Games Systems, 1999. 2 DuQuette, Lon Milo. Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot. Weiser Books, 2003.
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.