'surviving at court' I outlined my views on relating the court cards to gender, explaining that I prefer to see them as representations of certain energies and stages in a journey towards success of one kind or another. In this post I'd like to approach the meanings of the four characters in each court. The Kings, Queens, Knights and Pages each personify a particular, necessary stage in personal development. They serve to show us the importance of gradual process and encourage self-belief and diligent effort as well as allowing us a chance to consider which stage of the journey we currently labour under and what is next on the path to ultimate achievement.
Firstly, let's start with the Pages. In each suit of the Tarot, a Page appears as the first member of the royal court, signifying a new beginning. These characters in Tarot push us to consider beginning a new venture, connection or course of study. The Pages are young, inexperienced and naive but also idealistic, ambitious and go-getting. Their tenacity is well-placed but can be beset by a lack of knowledge regarding the way a system works. They may not be fully aware of their capabilities yet. They may consider detrimental or counter-productive techniques in their battle to move forward, but they are also full of unbelievable potential and a great willingness to learn. When Pages appear in their reversed positions or in positions to signify a warning, they could indicate laziness or unwillingness to begin through fear of failure. They could also make important points regarding the preparedness of the querent, the strength of their plans or the importance of active listening in the quest to eventually understand something on a deeper level. They tell us not to rush in without a full knowledge of the essential facts. They tell us to believe in ourselves but to also accept our limitations and our need for study. The Pages are important in their role as motivating cards. They request profound self-assessment at the beginning of a significant journey.
The Knights represent movement, action, energy for an intended purpose and the willingness to act in order to obtain what is desired. I think of the Knights as teenagers. They are characters that are coming into their own, reaching out for independence and autonomy, but also notably driven by deep-seated emotions and passions which can propel them forwards but also, less fortunately, cloud their judgement or make them rash and reckless. Good judgement is required at this stage in the journey. It is time to turn words into deeds, that much is true. But this transition must be respected as a powerful one, one that contains pitfalls and ample risks. The Knights are cards full of drive and energy. They serve to remind us of the capacity we have to effect change in our lives. They push us forward when we may need encouragement. When Knights appear in the reversed position or in positions of warning, they may be asking a querent to consider which actions they are prepared to carry out in their quest. Some are necessary and productive, whilst others may be excessive, destructive or harmful to others. They also discourage fear of action. They tell a querent to remain positive and to consider what they can realistically do to move forward.
Queens in Tarot celebrate the ultimate understanding of a subject or situation. They suggest enlightenment, perfect intuition and a balanced perspective. The Queens are characters with great self-awareness and a sense of calm which can be utilised in order to appreciate the reality of a situation and invest it with meaning and mastery. Queens are smooth operators. They have reached the level of study or clarity needed in order to act unhindered by doubt or ignorance. They are putting the pieces into place, completing a jigsaw of sorts. They are able to act as advisers and counsellors for those still striving towards success. When Queens appear in the reversed or warning positions, they may be commenting on the dangers of complacency. Having a deep understanding of the nature of a problem may be leading to a querent getting too comfortable with their own perspective and failing to take the views of others into consideration. Likewise, insecurity and self-doubt may have set in. Perhaps the querent certainly does have what it takes to master the issue, but they feel unsure or in need of encouragement. Perhaps they don't see themselves the way other people see them. Perhaps the mirror has become distorted.
The Kings in Tarot are taking all of the understanding and mastery of the Queens and putting it into action. They represent the initiative to act in order to reap rewards. They are the 'doers' of the court. They are strong, willing and confident. They enforce the laws which the Queens have formulated. They make the decisions which ultimately affect the kingdom overall. When Kings appear in a spread they can herald times of great capability and endurance. They may be carrying messages of autonomy, self-reliance, leadership and great leaps in discovery of self and of environment. When Kings appear in reversed or warning positions, it is possible that power may have gone to the querent's head. I often feel that the warning element with Kings speaks of arrogance, short-sightedness or insistence upon a certain regime which may serve the individual ego but prove destructive in many other ways. I also feel that Kings carry a caution against indecision and subservience. If a King appears as a warning it could be that the querent has not yet adopted that level of control of their own environment and that they need to take steps to do so. Maybe they're being manipulated or they're not strong enough to assume their rightful place as the ruler of their own life.
So, there are many different ways in which the court cards can present themselves to us for powerful guidance. Although they present the stages of a linear journey towards a set goal, they also focus on personality traits in general and signs that they are being used positively or negatively in a querent's life. For example, Queens in a reading may signify a need to get in touch with intuitive thought or embrace the female energies a little more. Pages may comment on a querent's fear of change and beginnings, or represent a huge spiritual shift which has enabled them to leave past perceptions behind and embark on something new. Your intuition as a reader should always be allowed to guide you and these are just some of my own ideas on how to interpret and make best use of the royal family. Although they can often be sited as complicated 'problem' cards, if their roles are untangled and clarified, their presence in a reading can be refreshing and life-affirming.