A Fresh Look at Tarot Card Interpretation

A new, fresh interpretation of Tarot court cards to enhance your readings!
If you have begun reading tarot cards you no doubt have been introduced to ‘court cards’. Whether experienced as a tarot reader, or someone who is just starting out with tarot reading, what I want to do is introduce you to a fresh way to read and interpret court cards. Tarot reader with any degree of experience read the court cards as an indicator about people in the client’s life (or aspects of the client’s own personality). These are referred to as external and internal people. However, there is another possible interpretation of the court cards. They often indicate stages of growth within a particular process. These stages range from the initial inspiration (beginning) through the consolidation and growth (middle) and one’s position after fulfillment or defeat regarding and event (ending).

‘Court cards’ refer to a subset of cards within the traditional tarot deck. Tarot Card Reader And Psychic Melody The Minor Arcana of the tarot is divided into 4 suits roughly parallel with the modern playing cards (see Origin of Tarot and Introduction To Cartomancy for more background on this topic). Comparing a traditional tarot deck with a deck of standard playing cards: There are wands (clubs); cups (hearts), swords (spades) and pentacles (diamonds). Where the modern playing card deck has 3 face cards (king, queen and jack), the tarot deck has 4 (king, queen, knight and page). In a playing card deck these would be called ‘face cards’, in tarot they are called ‘court cards’. Occasionally various tarot decks will use different names for the king, queen, knight and page, the concept is the same.

For example, a tarot deck might call the knights ‘princes’ and the pages ‘princesses’. They still remain ‘court cards’, regardless of the name used. Court cars are usually identified as people. The kings are mature men. The queens are mature women. The knights are young men and the pages are young women or sometimes children of either gender.

Each suit within the tarot cards govern a different aspect of life. Wands are correlated with careers or one’s passion. For example, a person may have held many jobs, but is passionate about painting. So, in a reading when wands appear, the ward card would be referring to this person’s painting, not necessarily this person’s job. Cups are about relationships, emotions, creativity and inspiration. Swords indicate conflict or challenges (particularly challenges that require intellect or wit to overcome). Pentacles rule over money and material things. Anything that can be seen and touched is connected to pentacles. Security and safety also fall within the realm of pentacles. Following the interpretation of the various suits, the knight of cups drawn during a reading is referring to a young man who is romantic and sensitive and possibly interested in the arts. Another possibility is the card is referring to the masculine romantic artistic parts of the client.

With this understanding of the interpretation of the various suits, let’s return to the court cards. There is a different way of interpreting a court card’s appearance in a tarot reading. Suppose that, if instead of seeing each court card as a person, we saw each court card as representing a stage of development? Now the court cards can take on a richer meaning. When we recognize that any process has four stages of development parallel the stages of growth, i. e., childhood/inception, adolescences/activity, adulthood/culmination and maturity/consolidation, then we can see that each court card is linked to a particular stage of development. Pages are for inception/beginnings. Knights represent activity/movement/the middle. Queens are the culmination/climax/adulthood. And, kings for consolidation/maturity/completion. The suit of the cards would indicate in what part of the client’s life change is taking place. Now, with this tarot card interpretation we can see deeper, and have a look at not just person’s involved in a client’s life but also insights into the process of a particular issue.

The page of wands in a particular tarot spread during a reading would indicate it might be time to think about a new job. The client should consider updating his resume or buying a new interview suit. The wands card is hinting that it is the "fixing to get ready" stage. The client may not ready to start initiating changes, but at least the client has been given a sense of what is coming and can get ready for it. The knight indicates the time for change has come. Movement is happening within a particular aspect of the client’s life, and it may be a person involved in this issue. The knight of wands now can be interpreted that it is time to actively look for a new job. The client is being an indication it is time to move, take action, in the career or business field. As mentioned, the queen is the culmination or climax, so a queen of wands that career of business as moved into culmination, adulthood, and the client should take advantage of this. With a king of wands tarot card being drawn, then it is time to consolidate, to solidify one’s advantage. Perhaps it is the client’s five year anniversary at a particular job or a long sought after promotion is near.

So, here we have the traditional tarot interpretation of court cards as people in a client’s life and/or aspects of the client’s own personality, and a unique interpretation of court cards as stages of growth or development. For a new tarot student, this can seem confusing and the student might wonder, "how to discern which meaning is indicated during a reading?". This is where skill, experience and tapping one’s psychic nature comes into play. Tarot is more than just reading the surface of the cards. If one just gazes into the tarot cards, with the dual, deeper meanings in mind, often a flash of insight the interpretation presents itself.

Let us say a tarot reader lays down the king of cups for a client and receives a strong feeling that this card is talking about the client’s father. Perhaps, the queen of wands appears as the last card in a reading, then the reader can almost see the job offer coming to the client. This is much about a tarot reader trusting his/her instincts and the impressions created by the tarot cards. When psychic or intuitive impressions are not forth coming, then a reader needs to refocus at what is surrounding cards. If the knight of swords is surrounded by the three of swords, the seven of wands and the five of cups, it is a pretty good guess the knight is a boyfriend and not a very nice one at that.

Sometimes it might be helpful for the reader to ask the client a few questions to discover a path to an accurate interpretation. If the tarot reader describes a young woman who is creative, romantic and interested in the arts (and the client gives the reader a blank stare), then the tarot reader should inquire if the client has an interest or passion about so artistic activity. It’s a good bet the answer will be something like, "I do have a passion for painting, but I don’t have a lot of time for it lately". At that point the reader can advise the client that he/she needs to get paints out or dust off his keyboard. The tarot cards are indicating an opportunity is coming for the client to get back into those creative activities. However, if the client talks about how his or her last relationship ended and they have given up dating, then the page of cups is telling the client to prepare for romance, the opportunity is present.

When doing a reading, it is important to stay open to all possible meanings of the court cards. A common mistake inexperienced tarot readers make is trying to force a card into a narrowly understood definition of that card. Usually, court cards will indicate an internal or external person. However, occasionally the court cards will be communicating this new possibility: That there is a stage of development that should be addressed.

Psychic Susan

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A reader owes it to their clients to look deeply into the cards and explore possible meanings until the true messages from the cards becomes clear. With this new, fresh look at court cards and possible interpretation, a tarot reader now has an opportunity to provide an even more in depth, accurate reading.

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