Why the Court Cards are so darn hard to read (and what you can do about it)

Several years ago I went to all girls dinner party where I didn’t know anybody except the host.

When I entered the kitchen I was horrified to see that nearly every girl there looked the same. They all had these Justin Bieber haircuts (circa 2009) and names like Kellie, Suzie and Tawnie.

So picture a roomful of women with hair like this:

Even worse, they all had similar, professional-type jobs and wore identical denim capri pants.

How was I going to tell them apart?

Upon my arrival, their laughter stopped and they immediately began murmuring quietly to each other, leading me to conclude that they all hated me and I was a complete failure at everything.

In retrospect, maybe I was just feeling really insecure that day.

After meeting each of them I promptly forgot all their names. But as the night progressed I got to know each of them a little better and realized that there were, in fact, some slight differences between them.

By the time I left they seemed like a bunch of individuals and not a mob of identical Bieber-haired Stepford wives.

So now you’re thinking well that’s nice, but what the f*&k does this have to do with Court Cards?

Here’s the deal: my theory is that the Court Cards are hard to learn and read because they all look so similar.

Almost every Tarot reader will tell you that the Court Cards can be a major pain in the ass. For years I felt this way – often crossing my fingers that I didn’t get a bloody Court Card!


Because when I taught myself Tarot, I never really got the Court Cards. Sure, I read all about them in my Tarot books, but I could never remember what they were supposed to mean and I always felt confused when one turned up in a reading.

But once you get to know the Court Cards (just like I got to know those Bieber beotches), they will start making sense.

Try this!

1. Choose a Court Card from your Tarot deck (for this exercise I am going to go with the Queen of Swords)

2. Get a general sense of what this card is all about. If you don’t know your Courts very well, look up the meaning in a book or google it.

3. Go deeper: think of your Court Card as an actual person and really get to know them.

*Download and print off this worksheet to get started.

Download worksheet!


Here's how I did this for the Queen of Swords....

Court Card: Queen of Swords

Personality keywords: smart, judgmental, clear headed, speaks her mind, confident

Favorite hobbies: reading intellectual books and making to-do lists

Best asset: clear communicator

Worst character flaw: judgmental and bitchy

Possible careers: professor, teacher, translator, speech writer

Blocks/challenges: being stuck in her head and thinking too much

Goals & dreams: to get a PhD and establish her career, write an instructional book of some sort

Biggest fear: having to work at Burger King to pay her bills OR having to sit through The Notebook again.

So now you can see that a memorable, distinct personality is emerging. Whereas before you may have thought of the Queen of Swords was just another boring, Queeny card. NOT SO! Please feel free to share your own card and responses in the comments below 🙂

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9 Responses to Why the Court Cards are so darn hard to read (and what you can do about it)

  1. James Bulls says:

    Or, another way to understand the court cards without having to figuratively get into bed with them to learn their quirks and kinks is to look at them as combinations of pip cards. I use a pattern based on the Square of Saturn, but you could do a simple numeric progression, too: Jack (1,2,3); Knight (3,4,5); Queen (5,6,7); King (7,8,9); and set 10 aside as the suit’s wild card which informs none of their personalities. In this way, you can see clear lines of authority (Jack of Clubs controls the 1,2,3 of Clubs) as well as opposition (Jack of Clubs opposes King of Hearts). Plus, it takes all the guesswork out of it: you just have to learn how to put three cards together, and *poof* you’ve got a fully formed Tarot person who’s also totally unlike anybody else in the deck.

  2. KK says:

    Hey Kate,
    I’m a novice and am so glad to find your site. I don’t even know enough to know that the court cards are tough, but I’m happy to have your tip! It sounds like a great idea, maybe even for the other cards too? Looks like I’ve got 78 new friends to get to know!
    Thanks so much!

    • Kate says:

      Welcome KK,
      I’m happy you’ve found my site!
      Yes, those tips will work on all the cards, not just court cards – have fun getting to know your deck better 🙂

      Happy Tarot Reading,

  3. Ellen says:

    Thanks for the worksheet Kate!

  4. jamie morris says:

    I love this exercise . . . and as a Queen of Swords-type, may I just say, um, yup. You nailed it.

  5. Sue says:

    Great worksheet. Thanks. Can already think of attributes for the court cards using this method.

  6. Olivia Cheema says:

    Hey Kate,

    Can’t wait for your webinar! Great idea, court cards really confuse me. I’m hoping this will soon change!

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