How to Read Court Cards Part 2

by Douglas Gibb on May 26, 2009

I mentioned in Part 1 of this section how to read Court cards in a Tarot reading, that I usually only see Court cards as signifying people. The exception to this rules is when, usually found through a process of reinterpretation, the Court cards are representing events or institutions. Have a mental check list in your mind before the start of any reading, especially if it involves a lot of Court Cards to work out what the Court cards mean in any given situation.

The way I approach the Court cards is to interpret them exactly as I described in part 1. However, there are always exceptions to the rule and when they arise I simply add layers of meaning. For example:

I will interpret the Court cards as people and communicate this idea to the client. As soon as I’ve finished I’ll look back and reinterpret the Court cards based on whether or not it’s an event, message or institution.

As a general rule the Pages represent messages and the student life. The Knights are about life changing events because something new enters or something else leaves. The Kings and Queens are institutions and bureaucracy.

If I see the Knight of Cups in a reading I’ll look to the surrounding cards to get a sense of what this person’s like. I’ll then look back at the cards and reinterpret the Knight as an event that changes the client’s life. I’ll determine whether or not this signifies a romantic event that’s coming into the client’s life, or one that is sadly passing.

If a Page is in the reading, I’ll look to the surrounding cards to get a sense of what this person is like, then communicate that to the client. I’ll then reinterpret the Page and communicate ‘messages’ to the client; whether that’s legal documents (Page of Swords) or an invitation, all depends on the Element of the suit.

The Kings and Queens are slightly different however. If I have the Justice card and the King of Swords in the reading, I might reinterpret that as a Lawyer or Solicitor that the client will be talking to soon. If the Hierophant card is present, then I would interpret that as sound advice. Of course, these combinations can signify many different things from marriage to divorce. At the early stages it’s worth always factoring in as many different cards and the relationships those cards have with each other to help determine the narrative.

Tarot cards - Justice and King of Swords

The essence of reading Court Cards is to add layers of meaning, one on top of the other. Perhaps equally important is to not look for a fixed or static story.

View interpreting the cards much as you would attempt to interpret a dream. There can be many layers and each one just builds on top of the other. There is no past, present, future progression within the dream world and I find that to be the case with Tarot readings.

Information is scattered across the spread, sometimes hidden within the same combination of cards. Reinterpret constantly and you will bring out many different layers in your readings, enriching the experience for your client.

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5 comments… Let's discuss

Colin April 25, 2010 at 8:44 am

Here is a bit a question Douglas, is it ok when you would see court cards to go through the cards see something toward the back end of the read and then within that read you would see something that was at the beginning of the read and then switch back and forth is that ok because some times that has happened to me, it sometimes draws a bad read together and makes more sence in the outcome, is that ok or am I wrong in doing this!….hope that makes sence..


narges January 31, 2011 at 10:40 am



jimmie August 22, 2011 at 5:17 am

what type of deck is used above and where do i get them, they are awesome, thanks.. love this site


jimmie August 22, 2011 at 5:17 am

what type of cards are you using and where can i get some, thanks


Douglas Gibb August 31, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Hi Jimmie,

The images on this website are from the Thoth deck. I hope you like it :)


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