An Introduction to the Tarot Court Cards

In Learn Tarot, Tarot Tipsby David Harvey4 Comments

The Tarot Court Cards

Learning the meanings of the Tarot Court Cards is commonly one of the biggest challenges that new tarot readers face.  Learning tarot overall can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming.  It really doesn’t need to be but I understand that it can feel a bit daunting when you pick up a deck of 78 cards and think that you are expected to remember every one of them!

I usually teach my students to start reading intuitively but one of the obstacles is that the Tarot Court Cards are a little bit more tricky to read intuitively.

I want to cover the absolute basics in this post and just give you a very simple guide to the tarot court cards so you feel that you have enough information to start you on your journey.

Elemental Associations

There are 16 court cards and they are split into 4 suits.  These suits are linked to the elements (air, fire, water and earth).  Those elements have their own meanings:Tarot Elements and Suits

Now we know the suit and what it means but we can take it a little bit further.

Court Card Energy

There are so many different ways to read the Tarot Court Cards but I want to give you the easiest.  You can always add more layers on further down the track.

The easiest way to approach it is to think of the court cards as an energy:

I want to be clear here that we are talking about an energy and not necessarily male of female.  For instance, you could have a very strong and successful woman who could have a King energy.  You could have a very nurturing and caring male who could show up as a Queen energy.

Energy & Element

Now that we have the energy and the elements we can start to get some meanings behind the cards.

Let’s look at the Queen of Cups.  We know that cups are associated with water which is love, emotion, creativity and communication.  We also know that a Queen would represent a more mature feminine energy.

When we put this together we see that this Queen would be very heart-led.  Being a more mature feminine energy there is a sense that she could be very maternal.  She would be somebody who is extremely loving, a great communicator and somebody who could be a good leader or mentor.  She would certainly have your best interests at heart and would be very open and warm.

You see how straight forward it can be if you break things down?

Let’s look at another example:

The Page of Wands could be a young feminine energy.  When we look at feminine energy we can think of this as ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’.  The Wands are about fire which is passion, ambition, strength and inspiration.  We have a young and passionate person who is ready to take on the world.  There is a sense of adventure with this card and you get the feeling that it could be a young person who is inspired and ready to take action.  Maybe they are ready to travel the world.

Is this another person?

It’s a good question to ask.  Sometimes that Tarot Court Cards can show up as another person or an external influence.  However, they can also show up as part of our own personality.  We sometimes need to channel our inner Queen of Swords or Page of Cups.

I often think of the card as an overall energy.  It could be within you or could be somebody else or perhaps it’s even both!

Adding More Layers

If you feel like you have the basics down and you want to add another layer, you should head over to this post where I talk about Tarot Court Cards and Myers Briggs personality types.  It’s a bit more in-depth but can be a great tool to help you understand yourself as well as the court cards.

It might take you a little bit longer to get your head around the court cards but you just need to practise and get to know them.  Don’t shy away from the court cards.  Embrace them as they basically make up every personality type that we can face in life.


  1. Hi David,
    I can’t get the download to download. It keeps circling back to the sign in.???

  2. Hi guys … I recently purchased The Buckland Romani deck … BUT it’s an 80 card deck … 79th and 80th cards depicted a man on one and woman on the other. Who are they as pertaining to the rest of the deck and what do they represent? I don’t feel like I can use this deck without knowing of course. Have the book, but it’s for the 78 card deck? PLEASE help …
    Cathleen Amaris / aka/ Mary Chapman

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