Dealing with the Court Cards:  Part Two

By Gary Meister, CTM

Before I say anything else, I want to remind you again of the most widely accepted meanings for the elements:

Wands = Fire = Creativity, Imagination

Cups = Water = Love, Relationships, Emotions

Swords = Air = Thoughts, Ideas, Attitudes

Pentacles = Earth = Money, Material Things, Possessions

Major Arcana = Spirit = Spiritual Growth Issues

And, of course, you can change that in any way that is comfortable for you.

Now: Last month we took a look at some of the alternative ways we can deal with the court cards, a problem area for many Tarot readers. When we left off, we were looking at some ways the Esoteric order of the Golden Dawn used the court cards with reference to the Kaballah's Tree of Life. This month, we'll consider another idea in that area, and see where we go from there.  Instead of assigning the court cards the way we did last time, let's try it this way, and assign Pages (or Princesses) to the 10th sphere, Manifestation, along with the Tens. In this case, if you have decided to use the Page or Princess as a messenger, the Page/Princess of Cups might bring news of a birth or, perhaps, introduce you to a person who may become your partner in a new relationship, perhaps bringing about the "foundation" of a whole new life. 

The Knight (or Prince) could be assigned to the 9th Sphere, Foundation, with the nines. In a reading, the Knight (being a forceful, aggressive young man) of Wands, might be someone who acts as your "right hand" and helps you bring one of your creative ideas into reality. Try it on the other suits and elements; see what you come up with.

The Queens could be given to Sphere # 3, Understanding, with the 3s. In a reading? What does Understanding mean to you? What do threes mean to you? And—what do the various elements mean to you? Try it on and see how it fits...  You're the reader.  

Finally, we might assign the Kings to Sphere # 2, Wisdom, along with the 2s. In a reading, he could be a wise man who.....  What's the element? How does it fit the question at hand?

This puts the court cards in a natural position on the Tree of Life. (I have included a diagram of the tree so you can follow along.)  The Kaballah's Tree of life represents the way everything in the universe was created. In this case, the number 1 sphere represents the Creative Principal (God) Him/It Self. The creative power flows down through the King (Positive Polarity +) and Queen (Negative Polarity –) thereby combining to make up the power from which everything in the universe is created.  The King and Queen fit well in this position, since they represent power in the material world.

It is quite natural for a King to pass his power on to the Prince/Knight who forms the "foundation" for the final "manifestation" of whatever is being created. The Princess/Page represents the creation itself.

How does that work for you?

Or, try this on for size:

Perhaps the court cards could be grouped with the first four of the pip cards.  Pages = Aces—Knights = Twos—Queens = Threes—Kings = Fours. In this way, we could use them as people with the personality of the various numbers.  

Pages could be people who behave like the Aces—the Page of Cups, for example, could be a young person who is very active (1) in the love (Water) department. The Knight of Pentacles could be a forceful (Knight) person who is very cooperative (2) with his/her co-workers (Earth).  The Queen of Swords might be a creative, imaginative (3) person, who spends a good deal of time in his/her head, thinking, planning, and so forth (Air). The King of Wands can represent a logical (4) person who really thinks out his/her creative (Fire) ideas. I used numerological meanings for the various numbers, but you can do it any way you want to. Should I say it????  Ahhh, why not? You’re the reader.  

Another way could be this: Let the court cards represent the corresponding card in the Major Arcana...  

Page = 11 = Justice (or Strength if your deck has it in this position).  

Knight = 12 = The Hanged Man

Queen = 13 = Death

King = 14 = Temperance

As long as you know your meanings for the Majors, just combine them with the element of the particular court card and you've got the meaning for that card.

One thing you need to bear in mind at all times as you work with your Tarot cards is this:  when you are the reader, the cards only mean what you have decided they mean. You decide what they mean and memorize your meanings. Once you have them memorized, your decision sends the message to your subconscious mind, which sends it back to you when you need it. My suggestion is to keep it simple. No more than one or two key words or phrases per card. If you utilize some of the suggestions I've given you and will continue giving you for quite some time, your memorization will be kept to a minimum.  

Again, a simple method of dealing with the court cards would be one I gave you  the last time, but it bears repeating because it keeps it simple...

Pages are people who bring you news about the element the card represents.

Knights are forceful people who tend to rush into things indicated by the element.

Queens are nurturing people who can help you through problems indicated by the element.

Kings are strong people who give you wise advice about the indicated element.

Well—I've about run out of ideas for now. I hope I've given you some things you can use as you work with Tarot, hopefully simple things. Tarot doesn't have to be complicated. Of course, I'm sure that you'll become a bit compulsive in finding new things to read about Tarot as you go along—like the rest of us. And your knowledge will gradually grow as you read. But—take my word for it—you'll never forget the simple tools you acquire in the beginning and, throughout the years, you'll find the need to use them over and over again. I know I do.

See you next time.

Bright Blessings,

Gary Meister, CTM

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