The Court Cards tend to be trickier to read than any of the other Tarot cards. When I first began reading Tarot, I would find myself thinking “*&%$!” when more than one of them would show up in a reading. This article and video will give you 3 different ways to view a Court Card and an assortment of fun things you can try with your Court Cards to get a better understanding of what they mean and represent in a Tarot reading.
I recommend having a good understanding of each Suit (Cups-water, Wands-fire, Swords-air and Pentacles-earth) before trying these techniques. If you do not know the general characteristics of the suits, you will have a hard time learning the Court Cards.
1) What does it mean?!
You may be wondering if a court card represents a person in your life, you or a personality trait? The answer is yes, yes and yes! A Court Card usually indicates the person being read for, where they are on their life path and the specific personality traits that can either help or hinder them. But sometimes a Court Card can represent a person in the querent’s life who is having a powerful effect on things.
How do you know which interpretation to go with? Use your intuition here or simply interpret this card all three ways – you don’t have to stick to just one interpretation.
2) Group your Court Cards by Suit
Go through your Tarot deck and take out all the Court Cards. Now group them according to their suit “families”, so all the Wands Courts would be together, all the Cups together, etc…
Each grouping represents a dysfunctional family – the King and Queen being the parents and the Page and Knight the children. They are dysfunctional simply because they are unbalanced, being too earthy (pentacles) or too Swordsy, Cupsy or Wandsy. Really look at each family and get a sense of how they may interact with each other if they were real people.
Each member of the Court Card family is the human embodiment of that particular suit. The King is the mature, masculine expression of his suit, the Queen is the mature, feminine expression, the Knight is the young, masculine expression and the Page is the young feminine expression (even if the Page is pictured as a young boy).
3) Group your Court Cards by name
Now, group all the Pages together, all the Knights together, etc, until you have four groups of four. Imagine that all the Pages are at a party together – how would they interact? What would they do and say? Imagine all the Kings at a business meeting – what would unfold? Who would show up drunk? (hint: King of Cups)
Spend some time comparing and contrasting the Court Cards. Look up the meanings in your book if you need to. This exercise lets you get a real sense of the differences between similar court cards.
Okay, now lets really bust things out by mixing your Court Cards up and imagining how they all interact with each other – how would the Queen of Cups regard the Page of Pentacles? What would the King of Swords say to the Knight of Cups if he met him in a dark alley? Which Court Cards would be most likely to have a steamy affair? Probably Queen of Wands and Knight of Swords.
Here are some more fun questions to ask:
Who would be the total downer at a party?
Who would be most likely to pull a “dine and dash”?
When it comes to love, who would most likely be swayed by a pretty face?
Who checks their car door several times to make sure its locked?
Which two Court Cards would bicker endlessly?
Who is the sexiest Court Card of the bunch?
Who would most likely be a musician or artist?
Which Queen is more likely to be pregnant?
Why would the Knight of Pentacles get along well with the King of Cups?
Why would the Page of Cups get on the Queen of Swords nerves?
How would the King of Swords ask the Queen of Cups out on a date?
If the Knight of Cups went on a date with the Queen of Pentacles, what would unfold?
I am sure you can come up with some interesting questions of your own….
4) See each Court Card as a part of yourself
Now go through all the court cards (this may take a while) and see each Court Card as a reflection of yourself. See how you are like the Queen of Swords. Can you relate in any way to the Page of Pentacles? Some Courts may represent a phase you went through in your youth and some may represent personality traits you wish you had. The idea behind this is to forge a personal association and bond with each court card so that when they come up in a reading, they will have true meaning for you.
Notice which Court Cards draw a negative reaction from you. These may represent a disowned part of yourself – a characteristic you haven’t quite accepted yet. I often feel disappointed when I get the Queen of Swords because she reminds me of the part of myself that can be cold and distant.
After doing all these different Tarot exercises, you should have a more personal understanding of the Court Cards, so next time they show up in a reading you will think bring it on! rather than oh, shit!
Here is a Tarot reading demonstration of me doing a reading that has two Court Cards in it:
For further study, I highly recommend Tarot for Yourself by Mary K. Greer, which was the book that changed how I understood the Court Cards and was the inspiration for some of the exercises in this article.