This is the conclusion to my "Tarot and Relationships" article series.
The court cards represent the people or roles played in resolving the question at hand. Typically the gender is much less important than the role or energies presented by a court card. Consider the card to represent the “costume” worn by the person.
MALE AND FEMALE ENERGIES
To properly read the court cards, one must have a grasp of the mystic associations of “male” and “female” energy. Male energies are fast and sudden. The price for the bursts of energy are paid through short duration and non-lasting effects. Given their shorter life cycles, male energy is associated with completion and readiness to let go or move on. The elements of fire-wands and air-swords are male centric. Both forces of fire and air require much energy to maintain. When the energy is removed, the elements are still and inert. A forest fire or hurricane are elemental examples.
Female energies are slow and steady. This does not make female energies weak. Their slowness allows for constant application of power. Much effect can be gained with little effort. Due to the slowness of the female energy and its inability to quickly shift focus, the effects can be seen as “controlling” and “domineering”. When grossly stereotyped, the mystic female energy is that of the Jewish mother rather than the female’s “right to change their mind”. The elements of earth-pentacles and water-cups are female centric. When placed in or on an object, these elements require little or no energy to maintain their resulting force or enveloping qualities. The sand dunes of the desert, or the valley carving stream, are elemental examples.
METHODS OF READING COURT CARDS
The court cards can be read one of five ways: an event or movement, physical aspects of people, zodiacal aspects of people, psychological aspects of people, or psychological aspects of a situation. Additionally, there are some common traditional meanings to be considered.
Court Cards as Event or Movement
The Page and Knight court cards are often read as events or movements. A common reading for the Page cards is that of a message. In my own readings, I draw another card after a Page to discern the message carried by the Page. The Knights can be read as types of movements. Traditionally, a Knight of Wands is change of residence, a Knight of Cups is change in relationships/emotions, a Knight of Swords is change of fortune or thinking, and a Knight of Pentacles is a change of money. When there are many Knights in a spread, this is a sure indicator that changes are on the way, and there will be change in more than one area of the querent’s life.
Court Cards as Physical Aspects of People
A common method of reading is to decipher based on what one sees. Under this philosophy, one matches the physical characteristics of a court card to that of an actual person. If the Knight of Wands is pulled, and it has blond hair and blue eyes, the reader would say “there is someone in your life with blond hair and blue eyes”. This ties readings to the pictures in a particular deck, or to memorized characteristics of each card. I do not encourage this method of reading court cards. However, I would not rule them out. One should always read intuitively, and reading physical aspects is a valid method when it ‘feels right’.
Zodiacal Aspects of People
Another common method of reading a court card is as a person with that court card’s zodiacal association. If a Knight of Wands comes up, one reads the card as somebody born during the zodiac sign of Sagittarius. The problem with this method is diversity of systems defining zodiacal associations. I have seen no less than four different ones, and I could probably find a new one for every other Tarot book I open. In this document, I present the associations from James Wanless’ book “New Age Tarot: Guide to the Thoth Deck”.
Psychological Aspects of People
The method of reading the court cards as psychological aspects is based on an understanding of the elements and nature of the elements’ genders. When these are grasped, a psychological aspect of a card can be synthesized. Each type of court card is associated with an element. Pages are paired with Earth, Knights with Fire, Queens with Water, and Kings with Air. Thus, a Page of Wands would be “Earth of Fire”. When one sees the “element A of element B” formula, several methods of evaluation may be used. The first is to visualize what happens when the two mix. In our example, a female card is indulging in male energies. The result would be earth existing in fire: lava rocks or charcoal. Charcoal would be a better choice. It represents change, although it is slower than other methods of combustion. In contrast, The Knight of Pentacles would be “Fire of Earth”. It would be read as a male card indulging in female energies, and its physical representation would be that of lava. The element mixing and gender interpretations should be personal, and the images derived are based on the individual’s background and understanding of psychology of elements and genders.
Psychological Aspects of a Situation
The psychological reading of a situation is done using the same methods as psychological reading of people. The difference is that instead of the cards speaking of an individual, they are focused on an environment, event, or occurrence. The nature of the situation is clarified to the reader.
Some Traditional and Personal Readings
There are some traditional readings of the court cards. One that I am aware of, but do not personally use, is the association of the Page of Swords with a person who is spying. Another is the Page of Wands representing the birth of a child. In my own reading, I often read the Knight of Wands as representing a sexual experience. While these interpretations are often traditional, they are also personal, and may not seem to be based on any “logic”. This is part of the Tarot’s charm and power.