Court cards in the tarot

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Understanding the tarot Court Cards – Fun nobility trivia

The knight was more than a member of the king’s army. He was a field commander, a leader of men, and a rallying point. Therefore, he needed to be a hero. Unfortunately, heroes aren’t born. Heroes are forged in the fires of pain and tempered in the icy waters of sacrifice. You don’t get to be a hero by putting on a team jersey and getting paid millions of dollars a year to be “really good at a sport” (well, in the old days you didn’t). In the days of knights and kings, you had to get out there and hunt down groups of bandits and actually “win” when you fought (or else you were dead). You had to protect the peasants (the “common people”) and build an impressive list of deeds witnessed by credible persons. Moreover, when the king decided it was time to fight some other country, you didn’t get to stay home sick: you would fight whoever the king (or queen) pointed at whenever the fancy struck him (or her).

Assuming you lived through all of that and had some impressive stories to tell, you got to train the sons of various noble families sent to learn from you (see “Page”). Because you had proven your character and skill-at-arms, you were often granted a part of the king’s realm to govern (thereby saving him the chore of doing it himself). You gained the respect of men and the admiration of women, but in every way you had to earn this exalted position: You had to be of sterling moral character, a pious man, a brave and skilled warrior, wise enough to govern well when needed, compassionate to the poor, and relentless in your punishment of those who would harass or bully the people of your land. It wasn’t an easy job by any stretch of the imagination, which is why it was reserved for highly-trained professionals of noble character. But you did get a horse, which was a nice perk, because horses, especially the well-bred (and well cared-for) horses that knights got, ate a lot of food. Not everyone could own and properly care for a horse. You also had a squire (personal attendant) and a page to help you care for your horse, armor, weapons, and whatnot, which was nice.

In the case of the Knight of Cups, character strengths are often highly emotional, which can be “good” (romantic, loyal, friendly) or “bad” (stalker, alcoholic, abusive) depending on the person in question this is representing. Also, remember that Knights can also represent action (the act of doing, as related to powerful emotional states), travel or the means of travel (car, boat, plane), as well as young men. The problem with Knights is that they create a “gender gap” where young men are represented but young women are not. Usually Queens have traditionally taken up the slack, but if you would like to have the Knight of Coins (Pentacles) and the Knight of Cups represent young women, that is fine as well.

As to the ages of the court cards, don’t get locked into this, but as an example, you may choose to see the various “face cards” represent people of these general age groups below. Remember that aspecting and clarifying cards will help identify these people much more than guesswork.

King: Adult male (or authority figure) generally over 30

Queen: Adult female (or authority figure) generally over 30

Knight: Late teen to early adulthood, to age 30-ish (depending on maturity)

Page: Child, pre-teen, tween, early teen (to age 13–15 at most usually)