Everyone finds the court cards tricky, right?
I know it’s not just me. I get asked regularly how I work with these cards and I know other tarotists do too. On a forum I belong to, experienced tarot readers often post questions and answers about how to learn and read these cards.
Do they always represent people in readings? Do they have to be other people? What’s the difference between the King and the Queen? Do Knights always have to be male? And so on.
Here’s a cool exercise you can do over and over to help you get a handle on the courtly community in tarot.
It’s called….court card couples!
Basically you play matchmaker (or relationship counsellor, depending on how you look at it…). Fun times!
Pair up any two court cards you like, and see how they work out in love. Or maybe there is a polyamorous situation going down (which of the cards do you think might prefer open or poly relationships?) Who gets jealous, who gets possessive, who makes fireworks in bed, which card represents your ultimate lover, which two are like that awful impenetrable lovey-dovey couple who are just a bit gross to be around, who are constantly bickering… and so on,
Play with gender too – those courts are a queer bunch and men can be women can be any ol’ gender you like. Try to get away from that whole ‘mother/father’ thing as it limits your interpretations.
Here, let me show you…
Queen of Wands + Page of Pentacles
Well, the Queen of Wands is super-confident and sure of herself, but I do think this can tip over into arrogance. Looks to me like she chose the Page of Pentacles to be a trophy lover (look how cute she is with that snazzy pentacle!)
Page is up for anything – she’s just starting out on this big ol’ journey called life and in particular she’s up for some exciting sexual experiences – this whole ‘older woman’ thing really appeals. Page is able to laugh at Queen’s big ideas and bring them down to earth a little and Queen really likes that. For a bit, anyway.
So there they are, a pretty attractive couple and loving it. I imagine them out on the scene – Queen has some big show or talk she’s doing – they’re at the after-party and Queen’s getting lots of attention because she’s so bright and charismatic. But there’s *something* about Page too, and with her doe-eyed eagerness, there’s soon a crowd around this hot young thing who’s newly ‘out’ there.
Queen doesn’t get jealous. She’s so self-assured she doesn’t need to be. But she has no trouble letting go of the people who aren’t doing her favours. She’s focused on her personal goals and knows how to put herself first, unapologetically. Page is distracted. She’s not on the same page at all. Despite the fire of the wands, I don’t think Queen’s up for arguing. Easy come, easy go – the point is progress. She can see that Page wants to do her own thing, that she wants to experiment, to live and breathe and experience the richness of the world before deciding on anything. Page likes the idea of commitment, but she’s not ready yet. Queen truly enjoys a fling, but not beyond that initial fiery lusty bit. If someone’s not totally going to join her tribe then it can only ever be a short-lived thing.
The break-up is amicable. In short? A hot fling and a fun couple to hang with for a bit, but probably not good partners.
Okay so that was just totally stream-of-consciousness after three strong coffees. I might read the two cards completely differently tomorrow – that’s cool! The point was, I was thinking about the two court cards as characters with their own personalities, energies, approaches to life and relationships. it helped me to put words to my ideas.
Give it a go.
Also: I went a lot further with this in a blog post where I made the whole lot of em into a soap opera…which was really fun. Take a read and see if you can continue the story!
I’m a 30-something writer, artist, tarot reader, and perpetual explorer of the space between thought, feeling, and action.
I believe that spirituality and ritual are for everybody. I’m about the journey, in all of its messy, non-linear, chaotic iterations. I am excited by anticapitalist business and living with my whole entire self present. I use tarot cards to bring forth hidden truth, and ritual to affirm my commitment, over and over, to my ever-shifting path.