Five Ways to Read a Court Card

Are you struggling to connect with the court cards? You’re not alone. They are some of the hardest tarot cards to interpret.

But once you start to click with them, you’ll see how layered their messages can be.

“What are the court cards supposed to be, anyway?” A student asked in a tarot workshop I ran earlier this year.

The truth is, they can be many things, just like any other card in the tarot.

Here are five different ways to look at a court card. I hope some of these inspire you to see the courts in a new way:

1. Read the court cards as people. Traditionally, this has been a standard interpretation for the courts, and it’s completely valid. We are constantly engaging with other people. One thing I do stress, however, is that the courts are not necessarily tied to gender and appearance.  Instead, look at the cards for the energies they bring.

2. Read the court cards as aspects of yourself. We all have different sides of who we are. We all go through different phases and chapters in our lives. The courts can come up in a reading to show you certain character traits that you have available to you, or what you may want to develop within yourself. 

3. Read the court cards as power you can step into. The court cards represent different stages of power and potential. They can encourage you to get in touch with your own potential, to reach for a new goal or to activate your self-expression at a deeper level. You can look at them as aspirational symbols that encourage us to keep reaching for longer-term goals and growth.

4. Read the court cards as energies and themes you are moving through. As part of the minor arcana, the courts all connect to the elements of their suits – earth, air, fire, and water. So the energies that those elements represent will still apply to the courts.

5. Read the court cards as events. This can be the trickiest approach, because a lot of the courts seem inactive, often sitting on their thrones. While other tarot cards might offer up more detail or activity that can help to weave a story together, the court cards can stump us sometimes because they don’t seem to give us much to go on.

But if the courts can be people, power, potential, energies, and themes, then all of those things can lead to change. They will lead to new perspectives, which lead us to new decisions, opportunities, and horizons.

And a final tip: It helps to read the courts as part of a whole, rather than break them down individually in a reading. Take the full picture into consideration rather than going card by card. 

Until next time,

Liz xo


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