Court Cards in the Tarot are often the most complex and confusing cards to interpret. Why? Because there are so many different ways to interpret them – as people, as personalities, as situations, etc.
In this post, I show you the different ways to read the Court Cards and share some tips on how to know which method to use when.
Court Cards As Specific People
Most often, Court Cards represent a person. That person can be either yourself or someone else. By understanding the personality and attributes of the card, you can pinpoint whether it is yourself or someone else represented by that card.
Court Cards primarily reflect personality traits and characteristics. They provide clues as to how a person thinks, feels and acts, and what truly motivates them.
The Court Cards have often been linked to the Myers-Briggs Personality Trait Indicator (MBTI). Myer-Briggs is based around the theories and ideas of Carl Jung and is now a very well-respected method of gaining a deeper understanding about personality types and motivational factors.
According to the MBTI tests, there are 16 different Personality Types. Interestingly, this corresponds to the 16 Court Cards in the Tarot.
If you have worked with MBTI before, you may like to draw your own conclusions about which MBTI profile fits with each of the Court Cards and note it in your Tarot Journal. At this stage, there is no single universal system of correspondences between the 16 court cards and the 16 MBTI types.
In more traditional Tarot books, Court Cards are also given physical attributes such as hair and eye colour, gender and age (e.g. male, brown hair, blue eyes, attractive, mature, etc.). However, in my experience, I find that this is very limiting and often inaccurate. Many times, Queens come up for men, Kings come up for women, Pages come up for older people and so forth.
Court Cards As a Part of Yourself
Sometimes, the Court Card may indicate a part of yourself, rather than your complete personality. It shows a side of yourself that is being expressed or is seeking expression. It may be part of you that you draw upon regularly, or that you need to nurture and develop.
For example, the appearance of the Page of Swords in a career reading may indicate that you need to adopt a more curious mindset to be successful. Or, if you have already been asking questions, its appearance confirms that you’re doing everything you need.
Court Cards As a Situation or Event
However, there are times when it just doesn’t make sense for the Court Card to represent a person or part of their personality. Thus, sometimes Court Cards can represent a situation or an event that takes on a personality of its own. For example, the appearance of the Page of Cups often indicates an invitation or an offer that brings a lot of joy and excitement. Or the King of Wands suggests a situation where you are maturing your goals and visions in life.
Court Cards As a Level of Maturity
In addition to Court Cards representing people, personalities or situations, they also represent different levels of maturity.
From a personal perspective, maturity can allude to the age of the person in question, but it is usually more insightful to look at maturity as a mindset. For example, the Page, who is often viewed as a young, immature person, doesn’t have to be under the age of 21, but may indicate someone who is young at heart, naive, or unfamiliar with a particular situation.
Maturity level can also point to the various stages of a journey. The Page represents the start of a journey, while the King represents the conclusion of a journey, complete with life lessons and a deep understanding.
How to Know What Interpretation to Use and When
With so many different ways to interpret the Court Cards, no wonder many Tarot students struggle with these cards. So, how do you know which method to use and when?
Here are a few tips:
- Before you start your reading, determine whether or not you want the Court Cards to symbolise people, personality traits or situations.
- Use your intuition. Listen out for your inner voice to guide you in the right direction.
- List out possible interpretations for the Court Card as a person, personality and situation. Select the interpretation that makes the most sense in the reading.
I also asked my FaceBook fans how they interpreted the Court Cards in a reading. Here are a few different approaches:
“Sometimes I see them as the emotions they represent or the level of understanding of a situation. More often I see the Page and the Knight more as possible events, like a homecoming, moving, or a message.”
“Personally, the Court Cards represent people, without fail! I have given myself goose bumps from the accuracy!”
“I usually try to match it to a person. If I can’t find a person who matches I try to take on the attributes of the card.”
“The querent’s question or which spread I am using, clues me in to whether it is a person, trait, or an energy. Overall, I trust my intuition.”
What works for you? How do you interpret the Court Cards in a Tarot reading? And what tips do you have for those learning the Tarot? Leave your comments below.
Want to find out more about the meanings of the Court Cards? In The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings eBook, you can access comprehensive interpretations of all 78 Tarot cards. Click here for more information.