Sunday, May 24, 2009

Book Review: The Tarot Court Cards

My readings have in general gone well, but I had been having a hard time with the court cards. I recently got a copy of The Tarot Court Cards: Archetypal Patterns of Relationships in the Minor Arcana by Kate Warwick-Smith, and it seems to have helped. The book gives four easy-to-remember keywords for each of the sixteen court cards. I should first mention that this book isn't for beginners. If you're just getting started with tarot, Learning the Tarot: A Tarot Book for Beginners or Tarot Awareness: Exploring the Spiritual Path would be more appropriate.

After some basic history of the court cards, the book gets into the theory underlying the meanings: the four worlds of qabalah. The four worlds are the four steps in creating the universe and everything in it, from archetype down to manifestation. The kings represent the world of archetypes, the queens and knights intermediate steps, the pages the material world. The suits correspond to spirit, love, knowledge and power (in the expected order: wands, cups, swords and pentacles). The combination yields four keywords for each card: two roles, one positive and one negative; and two characteristics. For example, the King of Swords has two roles: adviser and dictator; and two characteristics: pragmatism and ruthlessness. The roles and characteristics also correspond nicely to the positive and negative aspects of the Zodiac signs to which they are attributed (e.g. the King of Swords = Aquarius).

If you are having trouble with court cards in your readings, this book may help.

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