Using the Tarot for Creativity and Empowerment

Tarot 101: Structure of a Deck Part 3 – the Court Cards

This is a post in my Tarot 101 Series

Court cards from the waite-smith tarot

In the past couple of posts, we have looked at the 22 cards of the Major Arcana and briefly discussed the 40 numbered pip cards of the Minor Arcana. There are 16 remaining cards in the Minor Arcana that we have not discussed: the Court cards.

Each suit contains four court cards, traditionally the Page, the Knight, the Queen and the King. These cards are unnumbered although some people assign numbers to them when looking at a spread numerologically (more on that later). Each court card represents a personality type relating to the suit and rank. When interpreting a court card, note that it can symbolize an actual person in the questioner’s life or the qualities represented by the suit and rank of the card.

Note also that the names of the court cards may vary from deck to deck. For example, in the Gaian Tarot, the people cards are represented by: The Child, The Explorer, The Guardian and the Elder where as in the Thoth Tarot they are represented as: Knight, Queen, Prince and Princess (the Thoth Knight is the equivalent of the Waite-Smith King).

In the Waite-Smith deck, the courts are as follows:

King – the king is mature and often represents authority and control over his suit. For example, the King of Cups can suggest control over one’s emotions or in the case of the King of Pentacles, a control over one’s finances or the finances of a corporation. The Kings are a card of action and accomplishment and often represent those in a position of leadership or authority.

Queen – the queen is mature and often represents the nurturing qualities of her suit. She often encourages and motivates the qualities of her suit in others. The queen relates to our inner states and our being, rather than being focused solely on accomplishment. She herself embodies the mature qualities of her suit.

Knight – the knight is the teenager of our family and is in the process of coming into his own. Still immature, he is often prone to excesses but possesses passion and excitement. The knight can often represent the warrior or quester archetype, willingly facing the various challenges that life presents.

Page – the page is the child of our family and his/her focus is on learning about his suit. These are the inquisitive beginners and apprentices of the court cards who are having fun discovering the qualities of their suit. Often, the page represents someone in a learning situation such as a student or someone new to a trade.

We will work with the court cards much more in future posts.

The deck used in this series is the Waite-Smith deck, published by U.S. Games. You can check out the deck HERE:

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