The courts in general are what happens when we mix our human-ness with the more ephemeral energy of the tarot suits. Not to say that the full potential of humanity is captured in these 16 cards, but the tarot does do an impressive job of giving us a window into ourselves and the Courts are emblematic of this insight.

Court cards are traditionally understood to represent people when they come up in a reading. The trap of this perspective is that as readers we start to look for people who are exactly like this energy, or worse, look like the cards, but like I've already mentioned, we are not so limited (though we seem dedicated to limiting ourselves).

The Courts can represent people in our lives, though I've found more often they represent aspects of people in our lives (including ourselves!) and how they move and transform energy in specific ways. Approaching them from this angle helps us toss pre-concieved notions of gender, race, ability, class, etc out the window and work with the essential energy of the card.

My favorite interpretation of the Courts relies on experience- i.e., as you move through the Courts from Page to King you gain deeper understanding of a particular kind of energy.

The court cards have a human dimension that the other cards do not, so they can give you clear messages about who you are and what you want. The trick is to understand yourself and the situation so you can accept the messages when they come.
— Joan Bunning, Learn Tarot

There's space for multiplicity there too- for example, while I might feel like a Page in one aspect of my life, I can be deep in the Queen aspect in another part of my life. Additionally, just because they are traditionally 'ranked' does not mean that we always follow a linear path in our experiences.

If you come to the close of a cycle in your life having gone from Queen to Knight to King to Page, it doesn't mean you did not fully realize that cycle. It might just mean you wrapped up that cycle with the bright new joy of that cycle's energy, which is pretty awesome!

This is all to say that the Courts are just as momentary as the rest of the pips in the Minor Arcana. I invite you to meet them as teachers, learn the lesson they offer in that space, integrate it, and carry on growing on your journey.

Pages, Seekers of the Tarot Court

I think of the pages as what happens when you mix the potential of the suits found in the Aces and the vulnerable humanity of The Fool.

Child of Fire from the Mythical Goddess Tarot

Child of Fire from the Mythical Goddess Tarot

The Pages have gone through the cycle in the minors, from Ace to Ten, and are looking for a deeper experience with their respective suit. Pages are foundational, associated with the earth element, and so are all about touch and the feelings associated with first impressions. It's curiosity, excitement, and making mistakes but not dwelling on them.

In their waking aspect, their naivety and vulnerability isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact this often leads them to new opportunities and see different perspectives with an ease the rest of the Courts don't have. Pages thrive in the treasure of opening up to new love, find pure joy in creating, solidifying a to-do list, and implementing a new a idea.

Then again, naivety and vulnerability aren't all that without some healthy boundaries and they do have a tendency to get caught up and make mistakes a lot more than the other courts- they are just more okay with it than everyone else at the tarot Court. Pages invite us to understand that mistakes are just missteps that turn you onto a part of your journey you'd otherwise have missed the opportunity to take. 

Pages often appear to us when we are in transition spaces, or right after when we're about to start out on our new cycle. If you are one to be a bit stuck in your ways they can feel a bit frivolous or even anxiety inducing. Starting over isn't always a feel-good energy. Starting over does mean an opportunity to define ourselves, our work, our space for what we want it to be- as much as we possibly can.

The Pages are the messengers of the tarot, and bear to us the message of self-determination work to evaluate our values, perspectives, boundaries, and motivations. They also remind us to have some good ol' fun doing it!

Knight of Pentacles from the Sasuraibito Tarot

Knight of Pentacles from the Sasuraibito Tarot

Knights, Spirit of the Tarot Court

knights - air; masculine; forward movement; force; dy namism; expression; the light and shadow of their suit

Queens, Creators of the Tarot Court

queen - water; making the rules; balance and receptivity and depth; creation

Kings, Mentors of the Tarot Court

king - fire; controlling the reality; enforcing the reality; mastery; implementation


Now what?

Find your tarot court significator!

Like I said, we often move in and out of these different phases in our lives. What phase do you feel you are in right now? Are you more of a Seeker (Page) or a Creator (Queen)? Perhaps in one side of your life you feel very much a Spirit and in another a Mentor? What cards are speaking to where you are right now?

Who is in your tarot court?

A fun exercise to get to know these cards might be looking around you and assigning a card (or multiple) to the people or even animals (one of my cats is very much a Page of Cups, okay) in your life.

Exploring the interactive tarot court.

Grab two or more of your court cards and lay them out together. What kinds of stories are being told in their interactions? Are some cards facing each other? Others facing away or even in the same direction? Which ones are looking right at you?