What Is a Court Card in Tarot?
Your standard tarot deck contains 78 cards; 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards. The Minor Arcana is split into four suits; Wands, Swords, Cups and Pentacles. There are ten “Pips” and four “Courts” in each of these suits. In this post, I’ll explain the tarot court card meanings in more detail and include a free tarot cheat sheet for you to print or keep handy on your phone or computer.
The court cards include the pages, knights, queens and kings. Some decks may use different terms than these, but these four are the most common ones you’ll come across.
How Many Court Cards in a Tarot Deck?
Unlike the standard 52-card deck, the most commonly used set of playing cards, which only contains jacks, queens and kings, tarot decks add an additional court card to each suit – the page.
This means that there are a total of 16 court cards in a tarot deck – four in each suit.
–> All images in this post are Rider Waite cards. Read my Original Rider Waite Tarot deck review here. <–
Interpreting Tarot Cards
Before drilling down into the specific court card meanings, I think it is necessary to first understand the symbolism of each suit and rank individually – the basics of tarot, if you will. Then you combine the suit and rank to develop your understanding of each specific card.
Wands – Fire Element
Passions, goals, intentions, ideas and expansion. Masculine energy.
Swords – Air Element
The mind, logic, plans, communication, discernment and understanding.
Cups – Water Element
All of our emotions, spiritual awareness, intuition, and connection with others. Feminine energy.
Pentacles – Earth Element
The physical or material, money, practical things, health, and values.
Youthfulness (immaturity?) and playfulness, a messenger, new stages.
Loyalty, direction, movement (comings and goings), change.
Growth, plans reaching fruition, nurturing energy, abundance.
Authority and leadership, motivation, action.
What Do Court Cards Mean in Tarot?
I firmly believe that there is no right or wrong way to interpret the meanings of tarot cards, so keep this in mind as you continue this article. Each card reader can and should use their intuition to develop an understanding of each card.
With that said, I’m sharing my understanding of the court card meanings based on my personal experience combined with the usual meanings associated with each.
The Page of Wands Meaning
The Page of Wands represents someone who wants more from life – adventure, meaning, growth.
If you are undecided about a decision, be cautious. Use your intuition and knowledge to weigh up your options before choosing.
When you feel something is missing, take stock of what you’re longing for. Are there new skills you should learn? How can you gain a fresh perspective?
The Knight of Wands Meaning
Are you making progress toward your goal? If not, how can you break it down into smaller, actionable steps? What is the next step you need to take? What do you need to change to move in a better direction?
Think of the circle of life – we start at the end and end at the beginning.
Now is the time to expand your thinking. Take note of what energy your thoughts emit.
The Queen of Wands Meaning
How are you managing the balance between love, family and home life? By keeping the different areas of life in harmony, you’ll be successful in anything you commit to accomplishing.
The Queen of Wands signifies the fifth house – pleasurable activities and creativity. Think about what you want to be doing and what inspires you. At the same time, be wary of feelings of jealousy and being too bossy.
The King of Wands Meaning
This is a time of self-growth and self-reliance but remember to stay honest, kind and patient with yourself and others when exploring new ideas or ventures.
Be assertive and ambitious, and take the lead where you need to.
Think about what satisfies you most; inner rewards or outer expressions.
The Page of Swords Meaning
The Page of Swords represents one who will grow into brilliance with perseverance and a plan for success. Although there may be struggles and unforeseen events, keep taking deliberate actions.
Ground yourself to stand firm yet remain graceful and be calm in your approach.
If you’re struggling to release something, question what you’re getting out of it by holding on.
“The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you, and you don’t know how or why” – Albert Einstein.
The Knight of Swords Meaning
Are you rushing headlong into something? While you should feel optimistic and be brave at times of change, be careful not to make impulsive choices you might later regret.
Think through the consequences and focus on the outcome you desire.
Connect with your inner self and put what you learn into practice with confidence.
The Queen of Swords Meaning
Remember to be open-minded but logical if you want your plans to reach fruition. This is particularly important if they concern matters of the sixth house, such as work, health and the service of others.
Try not to be overly critical of yourself or another person. Don’t forget to love yourself first so you can share that love with others.
Stay strong and trust in the process. Remember, step by step, success will come.
The King of Swords Meaning
The King of Swords represents someone who is considered agreeable, helpful, fair and compassionate. Someone for others to look up to.
Work hard at all that you do, and your efforts will pay off but remember to make time for fun. It is essential to create balance in life.
A failure to do so creates unnecessary struggle.
The Page of Cups Meaning
If you are experiencing a time of transformation, let your imagination inspire you and have faith in your abilities. Concentrate on what matters most to you and trust your gut/intuition to guide you.
Find new ways to express yourself and surround yourself with like-minded people. Think about who can help you reach your goals and provide you with constructive feedback.
The Knight of Cups Meaning
If you’ve received a proposition or a new opportunity has arisen, consider your options carefully. Keep yourself in a positive frame of mind and focus on what you truly want.
If it feels right for you, pursue it. If it doesn’t, trust that feeling also. Follow your heart, and you can’t go wrong.
The Queen of Cups Meaning
It is fantastic to have hopes and dreams, but you must remember to act on them, or they’ll stay just that. Keep striving to improve and reach new levels.
On the other hand, be aware of jealousy or resentment and remember to practice forgiveness.
“I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed” – Robert H. Schuller.
The King of Cups Meaning
The King of Cups symbolises someone filled with consideration, kindness and generosity.
Are you being called to be a mentor, guardian or similar? Someone who is working hard to uplift others and lead them. Or is this what you need right now?
It’s crucial that you build solid foundations and take conscientious (morally grounded) action.
The Page of Pentacles Meaning
Sometimes in life, we know what we want but are unsure how to obtain it.
Be practical, thoughtful and work hard. Seek new information or skills, and you will find yourself through this experience.
If you feel tired of trying, set yourself some realistic expectations but don’t drive yourself too hard. Success will come through persistence, but don’t overfocus and neglect everything else around you.
The Knight of Pentacles Meaning
If progress feels slow right now or you feel stuck, remember to be patient. Take a moment to take a deep breath and observe the comings and goings of life.
Make a plan, set it in motion and pay attention to the details. The only way to get to where you want to be is down the right path, one step at a time.
The Queen of Pentacles Meaning
Are you seeking your purpose in life? Do you want to explore new avenues? Think about how you can call upon your talents and skills and use them to serve others and better the lives of those around you.
Try not to be discouraged but instead be open-minded and work methodically to make what you once thought impossible possible.
Look at any obstacles as opportunities to learn from.
The King of Pentacles Meaning
If you are the sort of person who is naturally inquisitive and imaginative, how can you use this to elicit the change you want? If you don’t feel these characteristics come naturally to you, what is one thing you can do this week to improve them?
Sometimes we seem to emotionally sacrifice a lot before we reach success. You are moving in the right direction.
Keep putting in the effort and let go of those beliefs that hold you back. If you are doing the right thing, you will feel it deep down.
Your Free Printable Tarot Card Cheat Sheet (PDF)
If you’ve found this guide helpful, download my court cards tarot cheat sheet to either print out or keep on your phone or computer.
The next time you receive a court card in a reading, you can use it to help you understand the meaning.
Remember, this is a guide only.
Use your intuition and take note of the first thing that comes to mind as you look at the card’s imagery. The more you use tarot cards, the more familiar you will become with them.
To download the cheat sheet, subscribe to my mailing list for blog updates and a free reading on your birthday and I’ll send the PDF link straight to you 🙂