How to read the Tarot court cards? This is one of the most common questions beginner and intermediate Tarot readers will ask. The court cards are notoriously difficult to learn, read, and incorporate into the stories you weave out of your Tarot spreads. In this 4-part blog series, I cover the four types of court cards: Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings.
The good news is you don’t need to know any book meanings of the cards to go through this masterclass. In fact, that’s the point. This series will challenge and invite you to master the Tarot court cards from a more intuitive place, so no prior knowledge is required. (Though, of course, intermediate and advanced readers will also find new ways of reading and connecting with the court cards throughout these 4 posts.)
After reading and studying all 4 posts in the masterclass, you will be fully equipped to work with the Tarot court cards in your own intuitive, insightful, and powerfully unique ways.
Let’s get started!
First things first: some general information on the court cards and the Pages themselves.
The Tarot court cards are a set of 16 cards representing the Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings– in that hierarchical order. There is one full set of court cards per suit. In other words, in the traditional Tarot deck we have:
- The Page, Knight, Queen, and King of Swords
- The Page, Knight, Queen, and King of Pentacles
- The Page, Knight, Queen, and King of Wands
- The Page, Knight, Queen, and King of Cups
*Stop here and read my guide on Working With the 4 Tarot Suits if you’re unfamiliar with these terms or if you’d like to delve deeper into each suit.
If you think of the court cards as a family, which is a common strategy, they can be translated into:
- Pages = young children
- Knights = teenagers
- Queens = mothers
- Kings = fathers
In terms of gender, it’s typical to consider the Pages and Queens as female (or as carrying feminine energy) and the Knights and Kings as male (or as carrying masculine energy).
Given their roles in the Tarot “family,” we can therefore begin to identify some of the key qualities or characteristics of each court type:
- Pages = innocent, childlike, playful, curious, open
- Knights = adventurous, impulsive (sometimes – not all of them), hard-headed, enthusiastic, willing to fight for a cause
- Queens = nurturing, intuitive, intelligent, loving
- Kings = protective, strategic, generous, charismatic, providers
An excellent and highly recommended way to connect with the court cards is to have direct conversations with them. This is where you can use your intuition and sensitivity to powerfully unlock the energy and wisdom contained within each card.
For example: pull out the Page of Cups from your deck. Sit down with the card in front of you and your Tarot journal or notebook. Ask her the following questions, and write down whatever insights arise. You can also use the rest of your deck (minus all 16 court cards) to answer each question by pulling another card. Repeat this process with each of the court cards.
- What can I learn from you?
- What kind of relationship would be most beneficial to have with you?
- How can you help me?
You can also ask, more generally:
- What stands out to me the most in this card?
- How does this card make me feel?
- What emotions does this card provoke in me?
- In what way can I relate to this Page, Knight, Queen, or King? How does this card remind me of my own life?
Finally, look at the card for one full minute. Write down everything you see. Notice every single detail; every nook & cranny of that card. Ask yourself: What haven’t I noticed about this card? What does each detail of the card mean to me? Use your intuition, rather than a book, to answer these final questions.
So, we begin at the beginning, with the “children” of the court family – the Pages.
Pages, like Aces, typically indicate a new beginning of some sort. They remind us to return to a beginner’s mind, to a childlike state of whimsy and wonder, and to be curious and open to the world around us. Pages invite us to reconnect with a sense of innocence, playfulness, and simplicity. Pages are also perfect for working with your inner child, since they can help you identify and communicate with that childlike – often suppressed or wounded – energy within you.
Let’s look at each Page individually.
Page of Cups
Suit: Cups (emotions, relationships)
Gender: Female (even though the figure might look “male” on the card — gender is fluid in the Tarot)
Family Role: Child
The Page of Cups is associated with emotions, feelings, intuition, and sensitivity. This Page is an artist or creator (actor, writer, painter, singer, etc) and needs to express her feelings to be happy and healthy. Observing the card, you will notice how this Page stands on a sort of stage or platform, emphasizing her emotional and sometimes dramatic nature. But she always means well, and she is extremely intuitive and kind! She’s connected to the animal world and loves all creatures, as you can see from her connection to that talking fish in her cup (as depicted in the classic Rider Waite deck).
I also love how this fish serves as a reminder of how important it is to create and sustain magic in every day life. What do I mean by this? Obviously, the Page talking to a fish is a ridiculous idea on the surface, but the deeper message here is about doing what feels good and right to us – especially on the spiritual path – without worrying so much about what other people think. If people see you talking to a fish and think you’re insane, but talking to that fish makes you feel whole, healthy, aligned, and excited for the future, then do not stop talking to that fish. The same applies to any other spiritual practice you might be using in your daily life.
Specific questions to work with the energy of the Page of Cups:
- How am I doing handling my emotions?
- How can I feel more solid, grounded, and emotionally stable?
- What do I need to express right now?
- What should I get more in touch with?
- How can I access and express my creative side?
Page of Swords
Suit: Swords (intellect, the mind, thought processes & patterns)
Family Role: Child
The Page of Swords is associated with the mind, intellect, thought patterns and processes. This Page tends to be a bit hard-headed or stubborn, especially when it comes to the things she *really* believes in. At times, this Page is also a bit unfocused or trying to pay attention to a million things at once. Her mind is infinitely powerful, but it still needs to be sharpened and trained to focus on one project at a time.
The Page of Swords tends to invest intellectually (and sometimes even emotionally) in causes that really matter to her. She’s willing to go to battle to uphold and defend her beliefs. What’s so wonderful about this Page is that she also represents new beginnings, but in a different way. She represents a new beginning in terms of being able to transform and renew one’s beliefs and thought systems. Often, we have to shed old belief systems that no longer serve us. The Page of Swords can help you sift through the beliefs and thoughts that are limiting you and transform them into more empowering ones.
Specific questions to work with the energy of the Page of Swords:
- How am I doing handling my thinking? Are most of my thoughts empowering or limiting?
- How can I think more aligned thoughts?
- How can I focus on one task or project at a time?
- Where do most of my beliefs come from (family, culture, society, friends, media)?
- What do I *really* believe in, if I look deep down?
Page of Wands
Suit: Wands (creativity, spark of life, energy)
Family Role: Child
The Page of Wands is associated with the energy of creation, with the spark of fire that ignites something new and wonderful. This Page is fiery, adventurous, curious, charismatic, and loves to laugh. She helps us re-ignite that thirst and hunger for adventure that we sometimes lose as adults. The Page of Wands reminds you of the powerful creative force that you carry within you in your solar plexus, which you can ignite by becoming aligned with your dreams and desires. “Go for it!” this Page yells from the top of a mountain. Remember the excitement and thrill of simply being alive.
The Page of Wands can also help you unlock your creative energy if you’ve been facing writer’s or artist’s block. Often, in order to transcend these blocks or limitations, we have to strip everything down to basics — to that initial, single spark that gives birth to everything else. This Page asks you to return to the beginning by peeling away the layers of social and cultural conditioning that have limited your creativity or made you feel inadequate.
Specific questions to work with the energy of the Page of Wands:
- How am I doing handling my energy?
- Is there a good give-and-take of energy in my life?
- How can I reconnect to my creative power?
- Which beliefs are limiting my creativity right now?
- What can I do to become more adventurous, curious, and excited about life?
Page of Pentacles
Suit: Pentacles (the material world, finances, career)
Family Role: Child
The earthy, grounded Page of Pentacles brings us back to the material world of finances, work, earthly possessions, and physical health. She is the most stable and still of the 4 Pages, cherishing the time she spends in nature and by herself. This is also a sensitive Page, like the Page of Cups, but she’s also more practical and down-to-earth. The Page of Pentacles reminds you of the importance of building sound, solid foundations for your new projects — especially at work. You must do the work of tilling, fertilizing, nourishing, and caring for the soil of your financial and business endeavors. You must be vigilant and keep an eye on your crops, so you can ward off pests and take care of any other issues that may arise.
The Page of Pentacles has a sweet and nurturing energy; she’s a natural gardener. You can tap into her energy by spending time outside in your garden, by the ocean, or in the woods. You’re also activating Page of Pentacles energy when you begin to dream up a new plan for your finances or career, or if you dream of starting your own business. She can help you make these new beginnings successful by focusing on the practical tasks that need to be accomplished.
Specific questions to work with the energy of the Page of Pentacles:
- Am I spending enough time in nature?
- How can I access greater abundance for myself and my family?
- How can I do work that makes my heart and soul sing?
- How can I stay focused on following through with practical, day-to-day tasks?
- Can I build a stronger foundation for my business or finances? How?
Join the community and get my soul-crafted newsletter twice a month. You’ll hear of new blog posts, podcast episodes, upcoming courses — and you’ll also receive healing wisdom, guidance, and card readings. Just click here to subscribe.
*Illustrations from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck, known also as the Rider Tarot and the Waite Tarot, reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902. c. 1971 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. The Rider-Waite Tarot deck is a registered trademark of U.S. Games Systems, Inc.