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The RWS Knight of SwordsLinda, a tarot student and frequent poster on this blog, has asked me to talk a bit about the Knights.

Linda works with Shadowscapes Tarot.  In the email she sent me, she said “the knights still confuse me a bit…they seem to carry positive and negative energy, and are always on a quest. Would you write a blog post about the knights to help deepen my understanding? To me the “Knights” seem like energy/experiences but not necessarily people…”

I think many people find the Court cards confusing; I know I did when I was first starting out.  This could be for a few reasons.  Even more than the other tarot cards, the Court cards can have a wide range of interpretations.  The ways Court cards are presented can vary widely from deck to deck; again perhaps more than the other 62 tarot cards.

The Court cards are part of the Fool’s Journey through each Minor Arcana suit.  If we see the journey of the Fool starting with the Ace, the Court cards describe the journey of ascension that happens after the completion of the Ten.  In that case, the Page can represent the lessons learned on the journey, the Knight can represent the goals chosen based on those lessons, the Queen can represent the values nurtured, and the King can represent the final attainment of the lessons of the suit.

We can also see the journey of each suit starting with the Court and descending to the essence of the element with the Ace.  In that case, the King and Queen represent Higher Power as God and Goddess, or Mother and Father God.  The Knight and Page represent us as their human children.  The Ten represents the situation into which we are born.

In a reading, Court cards can represent people.  The personalities of the people may be denoted by their suit.  The Court rank can denote age, gender, personality or current activities.

If the Knights represent people, they may either be younger people, people who are traveling, or people who are focused on achieving a particular goal.  The Knight of Swords is the swiftest and smartest of the Knights.  The Knight of Cups is the traditional suitor, or “knight in shining armor.”  The Knight of Pentacles may be the slowest of the Knights, but he is also the most steadfast and practical.  The Knight of Wands can be the goofiest and most playful of the Knights.  He is creative, but not entirely practical.

All the Knights are pursuing the goal denoted by their suit.  Therefore, the Knight cards may represent a particular goal for the querent, rather than a specific person.  A Knight may appear to encourage you to be like the Knight and pursue the goal.  The Knight of Swords might tell you to pursue education, truth, clarity or communication.  The Knight of Cups might tell you to pursue love, or emotional healing.  The Knight of Pentacles might tell you to pursue money, stability, grounding or career.  The Knight of Wands might tell you to pursue fun, creativity or your passions.

Traditionally, Knights can also predict travel.  In that case, the nature of the travel is dictated by the suit.  The Knight of Pentacles may predict a business trip.  The Knight of Cups may predict a romantic vacation.  The Knight of Swords may indicate an educational journey, while the Knight of Wands may indicate a journey for fun, or attendance at a fan or hobby convention, for instance.

When reversed, the Knights could indicate people who are unmotivated, or not doing what they should be doing.  A reversed Knight could be a sign to get off your butt and get moving!

The four Court ranks each give us a gentle nudge.  The Pages tell us to learn, and to communicate.  The Knights tell us to move forward toward specific goals.  The Queens tell us to nurture.  The Kings encourage us to rise to authority.

My new book, Tarot Tour Guide, will be published in July 2012.  In it you will find a great deal of information about the Court of the Minor Arcana, as well as answers to many other questions about tarot.

Should you have a question about any aspect of tarot or tarot reading, please do as Linda did!  Drop me an email and I will do my best to answer it in this blog.  Because this is a community blog, answers from other readers are welcome as well.  If you have some insights on the Knights you would like to share, please follow the easy steps to post them here!