The Court of Face Cards

The cast of characters in the Tarot

The 16 face cards, often called “court cards” in the tarot (that’s the pages, knights and kings or whatever they’re called in your deck) form part of the minor arcana.

Because they each follow their own system within each of the four suits, they get their own section. They don’t necessarily lead into or follow the ‘pips” (the ace through ten cards), but rather show us the energy of each suit within the hands different people.

These cards can be thought of as different stages in life. The pages could be considered curious children, while the knights or younger adults might be more mature, the kings and queens may represent fully-grown adults with high-skilled and skilled skills, and the kings and queens, older, wiser people who are more knowledgeable about the details of life.

These stages could be used to describe a person on a journey. An artwork, a community project or self-development goal can all be considered early stages. Many decks have alternate names for these stages. For example, the Collective Tarot calls pages “Seekers”, knights “Apprentices”, queens “Artists”, and kings “Mentors”. It is easy to see how the different titles of the cards can change the way we read them.

Continue reading: Beyond Kings & Queens: Renaming the Tarot’s Court Cards. A look at a number of different decks who choose different names from the traditional page/knight/king/queen system. These decks offer a wealth of information.

Structure and hierarchy

Many decks and books place the king at each suit’s head, suggesting that each King represents the highest level of maturity in that sphere. I disagree. My cards have led me to believe that the true end result of a suit’s history is the queen. She deeply absorbs the lessons from their suit and then uses them to grow. In a more social setting, the king is skilled at using the suit’s strengths for external purposes.

Real-life does not have a hierarchy. Both expressions are valid and equally important in building stable, just societies. Because I believe the queen is the most difficult to acquire and practice, I call her the “culmination”. This will be evident as we go through the court cards.

These interpretations are not the same as my previous cards. It was useful to have a general understanding of the themes of the cards before you could look at how they might be manifested in a reading.

Each card represents a character. Each card is a character.

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