How to remember never mind interpret the Court Cards in a Tarot reading was the bane of my early years. Who am I kidding? They are still problematic after 33 years. Why? Well they are so wide open to interpretation that they just confuse many readers, including me still. However, let me make one thing very clear before you read on, all those Knights in shining armour, often on hose back, they don’t exist in the lives of most people anymore. Just saying. You’ll not hear me claim that a person with dark hair or eyes the colour of the figure on the card will enter the frame. I know that is a valid interpretation but to me, the cards are all about exploring the psyche of the Querent. Also so few cards contain any ethnic faces that this rules out the majority of the population from being involved in any future events at all. As I see the Court Cards, they point towards different aspects of the personality or stage of the Querent’s Earth Walk. Tarot are not about answering whether a person will enter your life and turn everything in your life around. That is something that you have to do yourself not with help from another but with guidance. People can offer opportunities along the way but we still have to try to achieve our own version of peaceful happiness. Having a Tarot reading is about asking to be guided to self healing. The cards are highlighting opportunities for new energies that could enter the Querent’s path. Will they embrace those chances? That is their decision alone and their own spiritual journey to their soul.
Court cards have traditionally been Knave or Page, Knight, Queen and King. This is a very male heavy stacking of the deck and many new versions feature Princesses and Princes to balance the energies of the Queen and King. This is all very progressive but they still bother me in their names and formats. For me the cards run in an order of growing importance but I think of them less as members of a royal dynasty and more as a seed that leads to controlled understanding of a core element on our spiritual journeys. The steady path through the Major Arcana is a deep and long Karmic journey and so too, the Minor Arcana from one to ten is a Karmic pathway through each of the suits’ elemental pathway. The Court Cards are glittering glimpses into a shorter psychological Karmic journey into the trials of balancing the mind, body and spirit.
So the first and lowliest stage of the journey, the Page is really just like the Aces of their suits the ‘Seed’ card. The Gaia energy of creation and birth that seeds all things. This is a female energy that has no judgemental opinions, just a zest for being alive.
The Knight is the ‘Warrior’ card of each suit and it is when we start dashing about all headstrong like a teenager in puberty rushing forward to embrace adulthood without any time to stop and look around at life as we gallop onwards. Naive and foolhardy but with occasional naturally inherent flashes of genius but often failing to clear the hurdles set before us. This is male energy and mostly wields its power selfishly.
The Queen is stage three and is the ‘Flowering’ card and is about understanding how to focus the integration of the suits’ elemental pathway into the mind, body and spirit. Here the elemental force of each suit is amplified to its fullest flowering but is under the control of the Querent to its fullest extent. The entire expansion of thoughts, emotions, wealth or creativity have blossomed and female energy is standing back as she does and letting the flow go its own way. Supreme in its offering of its abundances. The Gaia energy is about all things expanding, growing and blossoming at will but without cataloguing all these wondrous notions we can begin to choke on them. So we are being reminded to work with the energies and tidy them all up, like a diligent librarian, to achieve scholarly success and control.
The Kings are the ‘Zen’ cards of the Spread. They are both Gaia and Magi energies. You have pruned the branches and tidied round to have a Zen like understanding. Here the Querent has achieved Nirvana and gained rulership and integration of the respected element into their higher consciousness. When you are serene in your understanding you are then able to plant new seeds into the minds of others. To share the lessons you have learnt to accomplished and inspire others to tread the same path.
Each Court Card therefore holds a message that differs not just in what status along a psychological journey they represent but also the elemental force of the suit they belong to. They also have a number that unlocks a separate path purpose.
11 is a Master Number and as such is a double digit number that represents higher conscious appreciation. It is two candles. The master and the pupil whose candle the master lights. In the Tarot the master is Gaia and the seed she sparks in the Querent. All lessons begin with a seed that wakes up. The conscious state of innocent being. The first chance to stand up. To choose to walk forwards.
12 is a very spiritual number and is about movement and journeys. The journey from 1 to 2. The journey from Self to union. The Magi to Gaia. 12 is also the number of Pisces the final and very spiritual sign. The number of months in the year, hours on a clock, chromatic notes in an octave scale and batches of bread, a dozen. The number is the marker of the lesson to get from Warrior to Gaia and therefore to achieve Flowering.
13 is a magical number that has both the qualities of one and three, individualism and groups with the pragmatism and stillness of its sum, four. It was often the number of secret groups and societies. Its association with bad luck is not its true resonance. Thirteen is all about achieving goals through application. Conjuring up solutions
14 is the number of Cosmic Debt. It is the journey from 1 to 4, the Self to harmony and the sum of the two which is 5, imbalance. Yet any individual achieving Serene Status knows, that they are in truth the fulcrum that keeps both the one and four in perfect balance, through continual observation and control. A Zen state.
Suits have an order, that follows another Karmic cycle that is hidden deep within the deck but interwoven and complex. Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. “No they don’t!” I read in my future comments section. The cards obviously predicted that. “They do! But that’s the wrong order!” Writes another future contributor to my blog. For me this is the order of logical application. So end of! Ha!
The Suit of Wands represents thought, the first spark of an idea with creativity at the core. Yet creativity is nothing but a tissue shell without some heart and soul in it. So we add the emotional language of the Suit of Cups. This combination flourishes and blossoms and soon grows out of control and begins to choke the soul, so the mind steps in to prune the beast with the logical precision of the Suit of Swords. However to achieve that understanding the mind enters many battles to create the balance between itself and the body and soul. When this is achieved it is time to roll on to the Suit of Pentacles. Health and Wealth after the Victory is won.
This said we must observe that each Suit has its own journey through the Court Card stages and everyone of us is at different stages and focuses when they come to sit for a reading. So all the cards from the deck feed together. Complicated but so beautiful. Also knowing a Querent’s birth chart can be an incredibly deep way to establish their individual relationship with the Court Cards that appear in their spread. But don’t imagine I always have the time for such deep readings I’m just flagging up a seed idea that can help.
So before you plough on any further, here’s a little exercise you might try. Armed with the knowledge of the Court Cards and their suits so far can you work out which cards best represent you right now? For each Suit. Jot them down and see what you think at the end. Maybe I’ll tell you mine. It came as a surprise to me.
Wands are the first suit and they represent the very first thing – ‘Thought’. And since a thought can birth another and then another over and over again they soon start to stack up. Endless new thoughts will rise up bursting with creativity and direction of purpose. The journey through the first ten cards of the Suit of Wands is littered with hope but also fraught with broken dreams. It is a pathway of joy and happiness, personal victories, struggles, getting back up, feeling over burdened and facing choices. The further along the journey you step the more heavy the thoughts become. This is the same for the Court Cards. The Seed is first thought, divine spark. Fire in the belly for life but innocent. Wands are about careers and desires too as well as passions both sexual and educational. This journey is through the world of status and achievement in life through altruism. Creating new and wonderful experiences and sharing the lessons with others to demonstrate growth and wisdom. The other aspect of the Suit of Wands is that they will undergo the greatest transformation throughout life as they are transform through the application of all the other suits that will follow.
The Seed of Wands 11
Look at this card as the sweet childlike naivety that is first of all the Court Cards. This is first thought and the creativity behind all things. This card has no ability to understand the power of the divine spark ignited inside them. There is a raw shapelessness to the future. Anything is possible and growth cannot be halted once it has been birthed. The journey is simple on the one hand to learn how to wield the Sceptre of Promise. The first steps into the soul to seek harmony. Let yourself be guided by your inner intuition to move forwards fearlessly with passion and zeal. This Seed of Wands is the first baton in a race to the finishing line. But there is no need to run. Take your time. There is much to accomplish.
The Warrior of Wands 12
Oh whoops too late. The Warrior of Wands has grabbed the baton and is off stirring up all kinds of activity and trouble with their new thoughts. This warrior wears little protective armour as we do not appreciate the ardors of the journey ahead. There is a future and a place to arrive at so we are on our way regardless. We are proud of our abilities and our thoughts so we want to shine and be appreciated. We have gathered enough thoughts now to start our great journey but not enough experience to appreciate that the path we tread is populated by others who will want to take our thoughts and claim them for themselves. This can wound the Warrior who has yet to understand how to really share. This card needs others but others often leave the Warrior bruised and tired. But ideas are tenacious and this Warrior strives ever forwards through thick and thin.
The Flowering of Wands 13
The ideas that make the world have finally blossomed into great blooms of philosophical realities. These rounded and complete ideas are the true passion of creativity. They are the first ever results in our lives through the application of thoughts. The earliest fruits of our labours and our proudest achievements to date. The sun beams down on us as we bask in our own self-glory. We have blossomed and we love the bright flowers and the perfume it brings to our lives. We exist to nurture ourselves and others. This Card is about allowing everything around us to flourish and grow from deep within our soul. The only drawback to this shining magic is that the creativity is now running riot as we sit to appreciate all that is good in our lives.
The Zen of Wands 14
The Zen of Wands is the first time we achieve deep understanding of how to balance something in our souls. To fully integrate passion, ideas and creativity into our everyday lives involves reaching out to everyone around you. Ideas are meant to be engaged with and shared. The Zen of Wands reaches out to the entire world with the idealistic creativity from within. This card plants roots all around the world to search out those others who are fuelled with desires to learn and share so that together they might transform all around us. This card is the global cultural ambassador who has time and energy for everyone that is willing to share in practical solutions. Life is better than just good when we reach out to the entire world to share all thoughtfully.
In the simplest terms Cups deal with the subject of emotions. But a quick look at the journey through the first ten cards of the suit will throw up a far more complex picture that deals with love, unions, happiness, heartache, boredom. loss, indecision, change and release. Once we settle into the Court Cards we see that they are how we integrate these emotions into our psyches. How to fully control them comes to us through our intuitions and dreams. The element of water is the great emotional cleanser and when we bath, shower or swim we release emotions and troubles into the water. It washes us clean physically and metaphorically. We are baptised by the water and we can let go of our troubles. They may return if we do not acknowledge them but that is part of the journey the Court Cards present to us. How far along we are on the journey of seeing, appreciating, acknowledging and controlling our response to the deep language of emotions is why we ask questions of the Tarot.
The Seed of Cups 11
The Seed of Cups is this first inclination that emotions exist and are fluid. We therefore need a new philosophy to feel them and to consider how to integrate them into our souls. It is the imagination that creates these new ideas and possibilities to find balance between the emotions we have and the ways that they affect others around us. When we practice love and start to resonant with this Higher Heart energy, we will find the world reflects that love back to us. The seed is to awaken the spirit to our emotions as they can cause damage when they are stacked against us. Yet they can be healing when we recognise that they are flowing correctly. That is part of the journey of the first ten cards but now we are trying to see the new emotional seed as a way to challenge us to appreciate the exchange of emotions and the language of compassion they represent in the Court Cards.
The Warrior of Cups 12
The Warrior grabs the chalice and gallops away to express all our emotions believing we are in control but we are too young to perceive any damage we cause as we charge around playing with the emotions of others.We are young and we are still learning. This card is about the thrill emotions bestow upon our psyche and how they are addictive and repetitive. Being in love with being in love and repeat. The Warrior is shiny and seductive and headstrong but shallow. This is about experiencing love but still from a selfish perspective even though each new encounter feels as real as the last one did when it started. This is about living in hope that this, is the perfect moment with no consequences. Immature but natural.
The Flowering of Cups 13
The Flowering of Cups is the Gaia energy banishing the Warrior from her realm. This is deep sensitivity and the acceptance that the Ocean of Emotions is everything. This is a deep comprehension of love and compassion that chimes from the pink Higher Heart energy. Love without any demands but freely offered. Love is the hand to a fevered brow of anger and discontentment. Love conquers all and that’s true, love will conquer everything but there remains the small problem that not everyone is ready to be loved or to receive love. Yet we still keep pouring that love into everything. The true language of emotions is gentle but this card is flowing like Niagara Falls and there is no way to stop the roaring energy of high intensity love. Love, like anything in excess or imbalance can smother and choke both us and others and so the Flowering asks how to control our emotions and to then understand how to achieve Zen-like serenity.
The Zen of Cups 14
To find the Zen of Cups in a reading is to acknowledge that you have reached an understanding of your emotions and feelings and are now able to guide others in this pursuit. To be the flame to another’s candle and to spark their emotional journey. We all like to think we have emotional maturity but we don’t. We need to allow emotions to gush in and flow back out like the tides. To be at one with compassion and love but not to use it as a tool to influence yourself or others. That is emotional blackmail. We must learn to observe it and feel it but then to let it flow away again, back to where it is more needed. Emotions are vast and expansive and they are often overwhelming but those who achieve the serene understanding of them can allow all feelings to flow through them. Zen is not being shaken up by their intrusion into our lives but to enjoy their variety while they last and then to let them ebb away. That is not to suppose that we are now cold and unfeeling, instead we see the entire balance that always prevails in the end. Our love and compassion is the sunshine that dances across the sea and lift the soul as it swims.
Swords are thoughts and thoughts can be so troublesome that they can wound us sometime more than the emotions they often planted in our heads as bad seeds. They are the patterns that play out in our minds that stab us over and over again. Yet a big sharp sword can also be used to slice and cut away those same patterns of hurt so that we feel lighter again. The journey through the Suit of Swords is a pathway littered with moral battles. Our ideas and creativity have now been made more real by the feelings and emotions that we all experience. This combination though has caused much trouble in our hearts and souls. Swords are here to act as a philosophical and moral crusader to create the ultimate balance between the heart body and soul. This is the third way on our life journey and it is only when we establish, understand and have control over all three suits that we can settle in and begin to integrate the final suit to our entire being.
The Seed of Swords 11
The Seed of Swords has arrive in the nick of time to herald great changes of thought and morality. This is the news our souls have been seeking. The divine Sword points to heaven and is imbued with cosmic inspiration. This card is the moral spark of change. The point in our lives where we wake up and see the infinite possibilities of emotional creativity serving us for a greater truth. This is a powerful card of a new innocence that will allow a journey deep into our self beliefs and to slice away all pretences and falsehoods. We can overcome all the lies we have allowed to be integrated into our souls that do not serve us any longer. We are more divine and glorious than we credit ourselves with being. This card is the hope that will allow us to perform enormous transformations to become a new and better person. This will allow us over time to totally clean up of our personalities and shine.
The Warrior of Swords 12
The Warrior of Swords is battle-ready and armed. This Warrior is swift and determined to achieve the goals we now see as essential for our future. Our sword is sharp and unforgiving and we ride forth slicing and cutting away all false thoughts and fears that have been holding us back. We do not have time to stop to think but instead we wage a personal war within our souls. Many worn out notions, unions, friendships and personal truths will fall victim to this clearance. All lower frequency trivia dissolves as we wield our Sword of Truth. These are dramatic times and they call for drastic measures but this can often lead to others seeing our Warrior self as arrogant and selfish in our actions. Understand that this process is all intended as part of life’s long journey to heal our souls and to create a new code of honour that will serve us better. We feel harsh but it is necessary to tame our existence if we are to march forward with integrity.
The Flowering of Swords 13
The Flowering of Swords is the point at which we pause our moral crusade and put down our Sword and observe how far we have come on this journey of redemption. This is the flowering of roses and their perfect beauty but still allowing the thorns to exist so they might remind us of the pains we experienced to reach this point. This is about being engaged but with the ability to sit back and take in the splendour of the world around us. This is the card of inner strength and endurance to see things through to the end regardless of any difficulties. However it is worth noting that this card will not hesitate still to pick up that sword and slice away anything that spoils the view.
The Zen of Swords 14
The Zen of Swords is to find yourself in in a moral mind scape of total bliss. All thought and actions are simply witnessed and acknowledge and then released willing back to the cosmos. Your absolute sense of place and stability allows a total peace that is unshakable. You are assured of your standing in life in all situations. In this Zen garden only that which you allow to be in place is actually in place. Nothing is out of order or not intended. The Sword is now just a symbol of your moral authority. You invite only that which serves your moral certainty to enter the frame. This Zen state then fires your soul to reach out again and find a new place in the world of others as a great teacher of souls. This is merely the watering hole at which you pause before you step forward into the world at large to begin the Earth Walk of Healer Teacher.
The Suit of Pentacles is all about Earth Magic. This is the final spiritual journey we walk but it is not a journey within. This is the pathway back into the world as a leader and teacher who is ready to heal others. This is the hardest and slowest of all the suit journeys. Most people see the Suit of Pentacles as money related and a glance through the first ten cards of the suit will have you too easily seeing this as true but it runs much deeper than that. We see cards dealing with life cycles, grafting, not letting go, abandonment, charity, sharing, growth, harvest, abundance and wealth and so it’s easy to think this is just riches and money but it is also about health, material gains, the physical world and abundance of everything. The key here is the energetic flow abundance and wealth it offers as the bringer of satisfaction and compassion. Wealth merely suffocates those that amass fortunes through greed. The key to true endless abundance is to allow the flow of this energy through charity and sharing. Philanthropy is the cosmic serenity of understanding all things. Wealth cannot pass along with your soul but good deeds and kindness do. By being open to the magic flows of a compassionate heart you will allow yourself to continue to grow until death. Do not allow the flow of abundance to cease flowering in your soul.
The Seed of Pentacles 11
The Seed here is the starting point where the flow of wealth and abundance begins. This is the card of the rebirth of magic. This seed can lift the veils of illusion that stop our souls from seeing the truth caused by the paucity of creative thinking, painful emotions, injustice, poor health and poverty. This is the moment we wake up to the harshness of the world that traps most people in misery and fear. This is like waiting all your life in the wings and not finding the bravery to walk out on stage to just perform as yourself. We all believe we live our own truth but we live the truth we believe others think is us. We adapt our behaviour to fit in. The Seed of Pentacles is the point at which we realise that by living exactly in our absolute truth those who cannot flow with us will dissolve away from our journey.
The Warrior of Pentacles 12
This final Warrior of Pentacles moves more slowly and methodically than all the previous Warriors. Unlike all other Warriors we are finally mature, thoughtful and certain of our pathway. Our Pentacle magic is often worn as a shield, not to protect us but as a badge of honour to show the world all we have accomplished. This Warrior goes out into the world to act as the protector of the weak and vulnerable. War is destructive and childish. To walk the Earth with certainty when other require guidance is the noblest Cosmic course that we can experience. As this warrior we share all we have everywhere we find ourselves. Slow and steady and with open ears we have experienced the pain of the pathways offered by the other suits so we spend our time reaching out to help others. This is the card of total loyalty toward all that is life. The dependable Warrior who stands up to be counted as a generous kind hearted soul who will not be shaken by anything harsh or critical.
The Flowering of Pentacles 13
This Flowering of Pentacles is the assured elegance of compassion and kindness formed into the divinest flower of all. This is the realm of the garden or park where all are welcome to stroll and enjoy the beauty of nature. This is freedom from fears where we can commune with the natural word and the waters, seas and oceans to experience healing. This is the steady flow of charitable deeds that assist the broken and allow the limitless joy of regeneration. While this is a state of purest peace-loving intentions to all, this is also a crowded place filled with the souls of the destitute and broken. This creates a heavy heart for us as more and more souls arrive to be healed. This can be a draining place as the the Flowering of Pentacles cannot regenerate its own energy without help. Trying to reach out to the entire world is too much for any soul and will create disharmony within. It is time to leave this beautiful welcoming place and achieve a state of total serenity elsewhere.
The Zen of Pentacles 14
This is the ultimate state of bliss and the peak of the psychological pathway. The Zen of Pentacles is all about trust. To understand that the Cosmos doesn’t just have your back but has the back of everyone. You cannot heal the world. Only the Godhead of creation can do that and everyone has freewill to choose their own path through life. This Zen state is to accept that you can guide and assist others to healing their mind, body and spirit but they have to battle their own demons to reach Nirvana with you. This is the completion of your Minor Arcana journey. You should now be passing through the Death card of the Major Arcana and stepping into the new energy that is Temperance, the Angel of Healing. This will prepare you to set of and work through the remaining cards to the World card. Good luck and Wassail.
So going back to that little exercise I challenged you with earlier. I chose for my first Court Card the Zen of Wands, as ideas continually flood from within me. The Zen of Cups as this cards turns up in most of my own readings just now after much emotional wrangling and sorrow. The Warrior of Swords because I’m still mid battle internally and it feels like a childish 100 year war and the Seed of Pentacles, as I don’t seem to be able to achieve any levels of abundance except my health.
I know! I thought that too – look at me showing off with two Zen levels as my current stages through the Court Cards. Then I sat down after the first draft of this marathon writing session and asked the cards to guide me with the newly clarified understanding I had just found writing this. Well I was surprised by what I saw, I really was. I had expected the cards to nudge me and say that I was nowhere near as far along the journeys as I gave myself credit for being but instead they delivered the incoming energies of both the Zen of Swords and the Zen of Pentacles. Go me!! The missing two Zen levels. Haha. Incoming though not achieved yet. I’m by no means perfect but I’m more than happy to go with that incoming flow.
I am truly grateful to all who have read this article as it is very long. Please consider leaving any comments as I love hearing from you all.
Oceanic Tarot – Jayne Wallace
Morgan Greer – Bill F Greer & Lloyd Morgan
Impressionist Tarot – Corrine Kenner & Arturo Pica
Tattoo Tarot – Johnny McCulloch & Megamunden
Before your eyes bleed and your head explodes I would just like to ask two favours.
Firstly if you would like your Tarot Deck featured on my website please drop me a line.
Secondly any artists out there that would like to collaborate with me to create a new soul deck please email me.