Reading the tarot Court Cards (the Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings of each suit) is one of the most confusing and frustrating aspects of learning the cards.
But it doesn’t have to be so hard!
With a little bit of common sense (and this handy tool called the Court Card Map), you can read the tarot Court Cards confidently and with ease. This video will walk you thru exactly how to use and read the Court Card Map.
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First you’ll need to download and print your own copy. Just enter your name and email below, and the Court Card Map will be delivered immediately to your inbox (it’s totally free):
Okay, now that you have that printed, you should notice that it’s 5 pages of tarot goodness. Ignore the first page for now – this is where we’ll record the answers we come up with on the last 4 pages.
Those last four pages are our brainstorming area. Let’s start with the Cups, but before we do…
Remember: This is fluid
Your life isn’t static and neither is your Court Card Map. People come into your life all the time and your relationships change. Someone may be your Prince-Charming Knight of Cups today, and he might become your good-husband-and-father King of Pentacles in a few years. Or, he becomes an evil-ex and is now your gossipy, spying Page of Swords. Ugh. People change.
So, the work we’re doing today will change. You will have to update this Court Card Map every once and awhile. There is no right or wrong answer when you fill it out. Just give it a start and the rest will become clear with time.
Step One: Your People
Before we even touch the Court Card Map, it will be helpful if you get out your journal or some scratch paper and list out the important people in your life with a few notes about their major characteristics.
Some relationships to consider include your parents, caregivers, siblings, extended family, lovers, crushes, friends, frenemies, enemies, co-workers, clients, bosses, mentors, teachers, ex-anythings, children, and in-laws. The Court Cards will be people who have a direct influence over your own life, so public figures, politicians, and famous people will not be on this list (unless you actually know them in real life).
After listing the people, make a note about each person’s major qualities. Are they loyal? Creative? Argumentative? Grumpy? Athletic? Lusty? Just note whatever comes to mind and we’ll start matching them up to the cards next.
Step Two: The Four “Groups” of the Cards
The Court Cards are organized into the four suits of the tarot: the Cups, the Pentacles, the Swords, and the Wands. In general, the suits are associated with the following “aspects” of human behavior:
- The Cups: The emotions
- The Pentacles: The body & the physical world
- The Swords: The intellect
- The Wands: Creative power and energy
Using fancy colored markers or index cards or a new list, divide “your people” into those four categories. Some will be easy to place and others will be difficult. That’s okay.
Just go with your gut and divide your people into the 5 categories, one for each suit with an “unknown” pile for the tough ones.
Remember: No one is 100% anything
Obviously, humans are emotional AND physical AND intellectual AND creative. No one person is only one thing. But some people have tendencies and that’s what we’re looking for here. Just go with what feels right.
And go with YOUR own gut. Your bookish and academic uncle is extremely sentimental and cries at every family gathering? He might consider himself to be a Sword (intellectual) but you think he’s more of a Cups (emotional). Go with what feels right to YOU.
Step Three: The Easy Fits
Now we’re going to start matching up the people in your life with the cards. There are going to be some easy fits – but most of the people will be a bit more challenging. That’s okay, let’s just do the easy ones first.
Using the last 4 pages of the Court Card Map, start fitting your people with the places where they seem to fit. Remember: there’s not right or wrong way to do this!
The Court Card Map has a few hints about each of the cards printed right on it, but if you want more details, here are the detailed descriptions for the Court Cards:
The Cups Court Cards
The Swords Court Cards
The Pentacles Court Cards
The Wands Court Cards
Remember: Sex doesn’t matter
Well, obviously, if you’re not getting as much (or the kind) that you want, sex does matter. But when it comes to the Court Cards, sex has nothing to do with anything.
The biological sex of the real people in your life doesn’t need to match the traditional sex of the card. In other words, the Kings don’t need to be male and the Queens don’t need to be female.
This means that ANY of the cards might relate to ANYONE in your life. This is actually quite freeing and it opens up lots of possibilities for matching people to cards.
Step Four: The Hard Ones
Once you have the “easy” ones matched up, you will still have people and cards left over. There are a few things to remember…
- You may have multiple people who match to a single card. This is okay. During a tarot reading, you’ll just be able to choose which person seems to make the most sense for the situation and question asked.
- You will have some cards where nobody matches. This is okay, too. If you come across one of these cards during a tarot reading, you’ll know the card doesn’t match a person in your life, so you can then read the card as a role you need to play, advice you need to take, or as a message.
- Some people seem to fit multiple cards. If you can, choose the one that seems to fit the best, but make a note that they have other characteristics. Remember, this is all fluid! People change and they may match different cards at different stages of your relationship to them.
There’s no right or wrong answer! Just do the best you can to match your people to the cards and leave spots blank if there is no one who matches the card.
Step Five: Putting it all together
Once you have those 4 brainstorming pages covered in notes and ideas of how to match the people in your life to the cards, you can come back to the first page of the Court Card Map to make it all pretty.
Write the names of each person that you’ve matched up in the correct box, relating to “their” card. You can color-code this section or use symbols or markings to show strong relationships and weaker or duplicate relationships.
Remember, some spots will be blank (no people match the card) and some spots will have multiple names (multiple people match the card) and some names will be on multiple spots (some people match multiple cards).
Once you’ve got the Court Card Map complete, you can laminate it or add it to your tarot journal.
This first page of the Court Card Map becomes your cheat sheet as you read the court cards during a tarot reading. It’s a super handy tool for making the court cards simple and easy to relate to the actual people in your life!
Your Free Court Card Map
If you haven’t already downloaded your own copy of the Court Card Map, just enter your email below and it will be delivered automagically to your inbox: