This is a short introduction on how to read Court Cards. The methods I use are tried and tested and do work.
The first thing to do is look to see how many Court Cards there are. The second is to search out some obvious patters. This could be an excess of an Element or Character, i.e. a Queen, or any other unusual combination of things.
Finally, decide on the level of influence these Court cards have on the client and which Court, if any, represents the client themselves.
I’ll say straight away that I never really see the Court cards as representing some inner psychology. I always view the Court cards as other people, but there can be exceptions. Occasionally, if the other cards within the spread direct me, I might view them as events (how to read court cards as events or institutions).
However, under most conditions I’ll start by exploring how the Elements of the Court cards reflect the perception the Client has of the people in her/his life, as well as, determining what effect these people have on the Client’s life.
I do not have a long description for the Court cards either. Rather, I just keep to a couple of keywords and allow the influence of the other cards to mold and shape my interpretation of what they might mean in relation to the person I’m reading for.
Why do I make a point of counting the number of Court cards in any give spread? The number of Court cards indicates to me several useful pieces of information.
- How active the client’s social scene is and, more subtlety, how much value is placed upon this social scene.
- A majority of Court cards can indicate the client is under the influence of others, or that negotiating with others is the only way that his/her goals or aims can be realised.
- If a character is represented as a Page at the start of a reading and is elevated to a King, then I can determine that this person’s importance will increase for the Client as time goes by. This can be used to determine subtle changes in perception.
- What level of politics is at play within the clients life – this could be friends, family or office politics.
Understanding the relation of Elements is very important as well as looking for other patterns. This is where your imagination kicks in – have fun with your narrative. Nine out of ten times you will be surprised at how accurate you can be if you just have a little fun with it.
Determining what card represents the client can be solved if you use a Significator. Personally, I don’t use this option.
Positional based spreads, such as the Celtic Cross spread also makes this relatively easy. If, on the other hand, you use a spread like the Opening of the Key (a string of cards as opposed to positional based) then use this very simple device; the Gender of the Court itself.
- Determine the Gender of the client and match that to the Court cards.
- The nature of the Question.
- Instinct (Yup…a Tarot reading is essentially an irrational process to undertake, so being irrational is the only game in town). Using a random selection of cards to predict the future is very irrational!
This is simply a process of elimination. To clarify what I mean by the above explanation: don’t be fixed in how you approach the Court cards. Let the Tarot guide you.
I said earlier that I don’t use descriptions of the Court cards to guide me in a reading. Let me explain what I mean further.
Let’s take an example Court Card like the King of Wands. The only thing I know about this card is that he is male. That’s the first thing I would think in a live reading. The second thing is to determine what his relationship is to the other cards; and finally I would add the keywords I know for the King of Wands (as well as for all the other cards in the spread).
I would do this very quickly (while I’m dealing out the cards). I would then take all that information we gathered, using the techniques in the last paragraph, to help make my story.
The King of Wands is traditionally seen as an established, active and generous man. Let’s see what happens when we place the King of Wands next to the 6 of Cups.
The first thing I would say is, this is a man who is obsessed with the past. I would say that he was unreliable and inconsistent and may even suffer from manic depression.
I got that information, not from the King of Wands, but from the relationship he was now in with the 6 of Cups. The Elements are Fire and Water. They are enemies of each other. At the very least I would expect mood swings. The 6 of Cups is traditionally associated with the past and with the Elements of Fire and Water colliding, our King of Wands would be obsessed with the past.
I used my imagination with this combination; I allowed myself to have a little bit of fun exploring this characters relation to the client.
Ultimately the next time the King of Wands appears in another reading, I would read him differently because the circumstance in which I’m reading would be unique and separate from the previous one.
Court Cards are not hard to read when you remember that ridged rules don’t work when it comes to these 16 special and unique cards.
Above all, use your imagination. If you see a Court Card next to the 2 of Swords; and you think the two swords remind you of scissors – have fun and say that this character is about to have a hair cut!