Do you find it difficult to judge someone based on first impressions?
None of us like the idea of judging someone, especially as this “judging” can lead to gross simplifications and “stereotyping”. However, when we read Court cards, we are being asked to judge.
The Human Experience
There is always going to be someone more attractive than you, someone smarter, or faster, or just plain better than you. Likewise, you are always going to be funnier than someone else, richer than someone else, more successful than someone else. That is the human experience. Within human experience, there is “status” and “rank”.
If we take one possible approach to reading Tarot Court cards, then everyone is allocated a rank in relation to everyone else. As Tarot readers, we can exploit this technique to help us determine the exact involvement certain characters have with the client, the importance certain people have, their level of influence and just how significant that person will be or become in the future.
A different method of interpretation is to view the Court cards as a family dynamic. This is a separate technique all together, although in reality, it still follows the principles of status and rank. It takes the dynamics of the family unit and projects them onto society – society, in a very broad sense, and this is a highly problematic statement, as an extension of the Family.
Learning how to read the Court cards according to status and rank is one of the most robust methods that I know for maximising the insight the Court cards play in a Tarot reading.
Time to make some Judgments
It’s perfectly natural to make judgments. In fact, as Tarot readers, it’s our jobs to make judgments. We look for hidden connections, relationships and sub-plots as a matter of course.
Understanding the Hierarchy that exists within the Court cards is a very useful skill to develop.
Let me show you one comment that I received which beautifully illustrates how simply the Court cards can relate to rank. Here’s what AJ said:
Hi. Today, I got 2 court cards in my reading. And I recognized them today, it’s a friend of mine and his mom… lol. It’s a page of wands and queen of wands.
Notice how brilliant AJ’s interpretation of these two cards is?
AJ provided an elegant solution for what could have been a complex problem. This is the power, and benefit of thinking about the Court cards in accordance to Status and Rank – either as family dynamic, or as a much broader social one.
The Family structure is much like a mini society, with its own rules, hierarchy, and the fluctuating balance of status.
I would highly recommend you read this article How To Finally Conquer The Tarot Court Cards, which illustrates a method for understanding the Court cards via your own family.
The Court Cards and Their Rank within Society
In a very general sense, we can think of the Hierarchy like this:
- King: Leader, Manager, Mastery; The person in charge
- Queen: Leader, Manager, Mastery; The person in charge
- Knight: Equal, or Peer
- Page: Subordinate, lower in the food chain
We can think of the four suits as representing:
- Wands: Business (in the sense of negotiating contracts), or day to day events
- Cups: Relationships, or art
- Swords: Conflict, or medical procedures
- Disks: Financial, or business (in the sense of the Company itself) related
Examples of the Hierarchy at play
Here are some examples:
- The Page of Disks: we could interpret her to represent a subordinate, someone who works for the client
- The Queen of Wands: someone with a clear influence over the client
- The Knight of Swords: arguments with friends
The point is we look at the “rank” of each Court card to inform us of the possible influence, or level of importance they have over the client, while we look towards the “suit” of each Court card to inform us in what areas of life they are involved with the client.
Sometimes we will see a Page and a King in the same reading. You might get the impression that it relates to the same person. In this case, we see a shift in this person’s status. If the Page is in the past and the King is in the future, we can predict that this person will become increasingly influential within the clients life. In fact, as it’s a King, we might even predict that this person could eventually have power over the client.
Alternatively, this might be a relationship reading, in which case we could assume that the client doesn’t notice this person to begin with, but over time, their lives become much more involved.
It’s also possible to see a King become a Page, in which case, we have someone of large importance becoming less relevant for the client as time passes.
Let’s see some examples
Queen of Swords paired with the 3 of Cups: someone who greatly influences her social scene.
Knight of Disks paired with the 3 of Disks: A friend or work college who’s good with money and investment.
King of Wands paired with the 6 of Swords: Someone who just keeps on managing the day to day events so you don’t have to. At what cost though? What is the price of leadership?
Page of Cups paired with the Emperor: A person in a managerial position doesn’t have time for relationships – certainly not close, intimate ones. If the Page is his partner, we can see how low on the priority level his relationship is.
Page of Swords paired with the Knight of Cups: Is the Knight of Cups a Wolf in sheep’s clothing – able to have emotional power and influence over the Page? Or is this an example of a sycophantic relationship?
The use of “rank” and “status” as a system of interpretation, is one of the most robust methods that I know of to interpret Court cards. However, I have found that it is necessary to be flexible in approach. Check out this post to see How I Overcame A Major Problem With The Pages.
One of the main features of this technique is to make judgments about what level of involvement each of the Court cards has with the client.
Although we may not like the idea of judging anyone according to status, in terms of reading Court cards – this is a highly reliable technique.
I’d love to hear your experiences with the Court cards. What is your preferred method of interpretation? I’ll see you in the comments.