Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Those tricky court cards

Traditionally the Court Cards represent the people who influence, participate and interact in the consultant’s life. But although that is often the case, these cards may represent the consultant himself. The art is deciding if the cards are talking about a different person or about the consultant.

There are many considerations with the court cards and only practice and meditation, over time, can say in a specific situation which aspect of these cards you’re dealing with. All the readers getting a hard time with them should get comfort in the fact that that the Court cards are the most tricky and difficult, and any honest reader with years of experience will tell you that he still feared them and, often, errors in reading, in retrospect, are related to one of these cards.

Let's start with the basics: a serious reader probably already knows that kings do not represent men and queens women. If so, it would be very serious to have the king of wands in the position of "dreams, fantasies, expectations" of a fully heterosexual male! It's at the same time a little easier and harder than that: all real human being has masculine and feminine characteristics.

I was taught this way: imagine the suits as four nations, with its royal court governing them. Every nation has its values. Thus, wands are a dynamic, entrepreneurial, voracious, manly but little prone to plan nation, while the swords are a intellectual, unemotional country and governed by a strict code that must be met no matter how painful.

Now two of these countries are "male": wands and swords, while two are "female" cups and pentacles (some say male are wands and pentacles and female cups and swords). That means that the kings of swords and wands are "hypermasculine" and feel comfortable with his role, while those of pentacles, and especially of cups, does not find any joy in the post. Same with the queens: those of cups and pentacles manage the feelings of his office better than those of wands and swords.

The king is mature and masculine. It is a doer and his focus is on external events. He shows authority and domain in areas of his suit. His style is strong and direct. He is interested in results. A king is a ruler responsible for the welfare of his "nation", his suit: his court and his subjects demand from him to be the best of all them and so he is the culmination and realization of the vocation of the suit. The kings represent success but also responsibility.

The queen is mature and feminine. She feels and lives the characteristics of his suit rather than show them. Her focus is inward, her style relaxed (the queen of wands is usually an exception). She is associated with feelings and relationships and is more interested in the process than the outcome without being weak or inactive.

The knight is immature and male. Future king, his keyword is movement, the difference is the speed at which moves each of the knights in his suit. This is a teenager who can not express himself balanced and swings from one extreme to another of his suit. OK, he's somewhat prone to excess but also honest and trustworthy (which can not always be said of the King, master of realpolitik) and his energy is admirable.

Finally the jack is immature female. She is a young and playful gal and acts with pleasure and abandonment. She never worry about the consequences. As the lowest card the jack always represents a promise and offers company for starting a project. But since she is mainle a student is generally more enthusiastic than knowledgeable and hopefully she’d get help from more experienced and determined cards.

Now, how to differentiate when one of these cards refer to the consultant and when a different person?

My first advice: use a reading with defined positions, such as the Celtic Cross. There are workshops that talk about “intuitive tarot”, but that is harder than it sounds. In general, while accepting exceptions, most of those who offer those workshops assume (sadly sometimes rightly) that people do not have time or desire to learn the meaning of each card and its changes by position. So they say "indulge in your intuition, abandon yourself, bond with the One" and keep their market open.

Well, that works with some cards ... yet do not with the Court cards, which is at the root of the frustration of many people with the Courtiers. Take a book, a workshop, read a conference, visit a site for " intuitive tarot " or one that offers automated readings and you’ll see how quickly they pass over these precise cards. Because the number of considerations and shades is too much for the intuition works efficiently alone. And although we all like to believe us psychic, and perhaps we are, a workshop of 30 hours on creativity, intución, lateral thinking of whatever the name is not going to make you a shaolin monk.

That's my advice: start learning to work with specific questions using spreads where each position means something established. This can give you important clues, at least in some positions: one queen in fifth, eighth or tenth position in a Celtic Cross reading for a man almost always represent a woman in his life. And a king in first place almost always be representing the male client (and the other way around if the consultant is a woman, of course). For starters is pretty enough and that can help you develop your intuition for general readings.

In a spread of defined positions is easier to understand how two or more court cards are related (a king of wands with a knight of cups is an evolution or a regression depending of the order they show up, collaboration between both or lack of it) and besides it is easier to help the consultant understand what happens in his life: knight of cups in past position and jack of wands in future may show that the consultant is committing an immense energy in some aspects of his life without accomplishing anything and it’s his “fault”. Often the consultant's future has more to do with his handling of his energy than external events, and that management is more clearly tracked of checking the court cards.

Another point: on a reading of any kind, general or specific questions, check if several court cards are present: the court cards always combine. Yet we’re back to the same point, the combination makes sense only if each position has a previously assigned meaning, and even in general readings, big ones, using the whole deck at the same time if that’s your thing, positions must mean something: the spread is the syntaxis of tarot.

My final advise, do not be afraid to ask. If the consultant went to you wanting to see Merlin in person performing, I suggest tell him to go back from whence he came, unless you are a showman as some Criss Angel's, but in that case you probably hadn’t reached this point of the post. In my opinion a reading session should look like therapy: when you the reader need some orientation, ask. Nine out of ten consultants will appreciate the honesty and the candor and the opportunity to speak. And that's not cheating: it is to remember that ultimately this is an exercise in communication

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