If you’re just starting out in the tarot world, learning the deck can be very overwhelming. There are 78 cards in a tarot deck, and breaking them up can help.
The major arcana are the 22 cards that don’t belong to a suit, like The Fool or The Lovers. They represent major energies and life events,
The minor arcana are made up of cards ace through ten with a page, knight, queen, and king for each of four suits. The four suits are pentacles, wands, cups, and swords. The names of these suits can vary between decks, but they reflect the elements of earth, fire, water, and air.
The group of page, knight, queen, and king make up the court cards and can be a great place to start learning tarot, because they can be understood as the meaning of the card plus the energy of the suit.
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For all the court card tarot meanings, keep reading.
As people, Pages are often young, energetic people who may be just starting out on their life journey and are in a period of self-discovery. They are usually immature, because they’re still navigating their place in the world and tend to live life with excitement and curiosity.
Pages typically represent children or young adults, but they can also refer to those who are young at heart.
As events, Pages can often be interpreted to mean a new opportunity is coming your way or you will receive a message. Pages carry the energy of initiation and expansion so if you are asking about a project, consider the page a green light. Pages are all about learning and growing.
Pages often appear when you are on the cusp of something:
Page of Wands: Discovering something about yourself
Page of Swords: A new idea
Page of Pentacles: A new job or career direction
Page of Cups: A new feeling
While Pages represent the initial idea, Knights concern the action. As people, Knights are action-orientated and are already charging down their path. They are typically between the ages of 20-25 years old and are slightly more mature than Pages as they have gained more life experience but are not yet as mature and level-headed as Queens and Kings. Because of this, they can embody an all-or-nothing attitude. This means that when they dive into something, they go headfirst.
As events, Knights reflect change, steady movement, and action. They vary in pace between the suits, but their energy is constantly stepping forward.
In each of the following suits, this can manifest as:
Knight of Wands: An overly ambitious energy that can be impulsive and at times aggressive. The Knight of Wands may be an unexpected event or a person who acts first and thinks later.
Knight of Swords: Being overly ambitious and determined to succeed, the King of Swords often moves hastily to achieve their objectives at any cost. Their path is guided by their head and not their heart.
Knight of Pentacles: Slowly moving forward in their career, this Knight takes a methodical approach to situations and tends to favor routine.
Knight of Cups: The Knight of Cups is romantic and expressive. They may be opening yourself up to deeper connections and being more emotionally available. Their path is guided by their heart and not their head.
As people, Queens represent a matured soul who has a deeper understanding of themselves and others. They are typically between the ages of 30-50 years old and embody the feminine energy of nurturing and caring for others. This is expressed respectively through the suits.
Queens have mastered themselves and can gently persuade others with their calm, secure approach to situations. They are not pushy or controlling, making them a powerful influence on everyone they encounter as well as a master manifester or their own destiny.
As events, Queens represent creativity, abundance, and the fruition of manifestations.
In the following suits, this can be interpreted as:
Queen of Wands: The Queen of Wands is a strong, independent character with the ability to manifest her desires with creative action. She is ambitious, optimistic, and passionate without being domineering. This makes her an excellent leader or artist.
Queen of Swords: With an unbiased intelligence and excellent discernment, the Queen of Swords is capable of birthing new ideas into the world that can change it for the better. They favor fact and logic to make decisions rather than their emotions and tend to tell it like it is.
Queen of Pentacles: The original Earth Mother of the deck, the Queen of Pentacles is practical, warm, and secure. She may be financially secure and has an excellent balance between home and work. She may be busy with her commitments but will always find time for herself.
Queen of Cups: Nurturing, caring, and compassionate, the Queen of Cups is deeply in-tune with her emotions and has a gift for reading others. She is often a healer or a counsellor with a gift for artistic expression.
Kings are regarded as the most mature of the Court Cards as they have journeyed through life and have gained great self-awareness. Kings embody dominant masculine energy and represent the fully developed personalities of each of the Suits. They tend to be people over the age of 40.
As people, Kings have mastered themselves in the aspects of their emotions, thoughts, and actions that form part of his personality. As such, they are stable and deeply self-reflective. They channel this self-control into achieving their visions and goals. They are often seen as the providers, taking responsibility for others’ well-being, their strengths lying in their respective suits. Kings can make a huge impact on the world.
As an event, Kings signify the growth and maturity of a concept right until it reaches completion. While Pages conceive ideas, Knights act on the ideas, and Queens nurture ideas, Kings are the ones who develop those ideas into a solid, secure foundation.
In the following suits, this can be interpreted as:
King of Wands: The King of Wands is a creative leader- a visionary who can turn his dreams into reality. As an event, this card could refer to an opportunity presenting itself to you that you have the ability to accept and the necessary skills to take on the challenge.
King of Swords: The King of Swords denotes judgment, authority, and rulership. He may be a judge, lawyer, politician, or a person in power. As an event, the King of Swords suggests you should remain emotionally detached and look at the situation objectively.
King of Pentacles: Providing material aspects such as financial support and wealth, the King of Pentacles also offers advice, wisdom, and guidance. This person may be CEO of a company as they are abundant, secure, and stable. As an event, the King of Pentacles may represent the fulfillment of a task that is rewarded handsomely for a job well done.
King of Cups: The King of Cups is an extremely compassionate and kind soul who has a deep understanding of his feelings, so much so that they never get the best of him. He has mastered the balance between emotions and intellect which makes him a greater teacher or healer. As an event, the King of Cups could represent a situation where you feel emotionally balanced and are handling it with emotional maturity.
When it comes to reading the tarot, court cards can be interpreted as either people or events. Your initial reaction and intuition will be your best guide for this. You may want to pull another card to clarify the court card, but you should also take into consideration the suit when reading people as it can point to the various star signs. For instance, pulling a cups card may represent a water sign (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) or a wands card may suggest a fire sign (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius). Meditate before pulling your cards. This will help ground you and provide a more accurate reading.