Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Sovereignty in the Courts

Rohrig - Princess of Cups
This is a very special day - the Leap Year Day where women can ask their beloved to marry them without having to go through the pantomime of sighing and dragging their feet as they go past every jeweller's window on the High Street.

I myself open the door of wedding dress shops and shout 'Don't Do It!'  Cynical, moi?

Flamboyant playwright Oscar Wilde once said that it was the tragedy of every woman to turn into her mother and that it was the tragedy of every man that he didn't.

Or something like that.

This got me thinking: How do you think that sovereignty is transferred in your Tarot deck? Do the Kings marry into the Queen's suit or do the Queens marry in to the King's suit?

That might all sound a bit confusing......I'll try to clarify and hope that I don't tie myself in knots as I do so!

Think of our own Dear Queen Elizabeth. OK, she was of the House of Windsor (or Saxe-Coburg and Gotha as they are REALLY called) and Prince Philip married IN to the Windsors from the equally confusing and non-Greek sounding House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Gl├╝cksburg.

He became a Windsor, SHE didn't become a Schleswig-Holstein-yada-yada.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Meet The Wands

I always find it helpful to familiarise myself with the kingdom of a particular suit - looking at the countryside, the inhabitants of the cards, getting a handful of keywords together that best represent the suit....and then taking a look at the ruling family to see how these virtues and vices manifest in the various characters.

Today's deck is the DruidCraft Tarot and when I look at the Wands in this deck, I see high summer.  I see hilly landscapes, some of them verdant and some of them quite parched looking. I see victory, conflict, fires, distance, expansiveness, burden, defence, passion.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

To boldly go... The Tarot Kings | Star Trek

Yes, the most famous split infinitive in the world and possibly the four greatest examples of pure Tarot Kings  ;-)  Who's who?!

First Officer Spock - Logic is his keyword and, literally, his mantra.  Cool and unflappable because of his lack of emotional response, Spock makes a fine King of Swords.  However, when the emotional, half-human side of him surfaces .... that's when things really start to get interesting around Spock.

Captain James T Kirk - I. Am. Resisting. The. Desire. To Type. Like. Kirk. Talks.  Passionate, charming, a hit with the ladies, usually shot in soft focus, Kirk is a brave and magnetic leader.  He leads from the front and would do anything to save his ship and his crew.  Except for those guys in the red sweaters that died every episode.  Kirk has got that Wands drive to 'explore, seek out new civilisations' and all that.  He's not so bothered about the fine detail.  He issues the commands and other people 'to make it so'.  He is our King of Wands.

Doctor McCoy is the Healer on the starship Enterprise.  Often caught in the middle of the impassioned Kirk and the calculating Spock, McCoy is usually found remonstrating with both of them - diplomatic and caring, McCoy and his amazing toolkit of healing things that make peeping noises is our King of Cups.

Chief Engineer 'Scotty' is the only guy in a red sweater not to die.  Also the only one who is brave enough to try a Scottish accent for all the episodes.  He's the Enterprise's mechanical genius.  Despite protestations that 'she canny take it', Scotty always ensures that she can and the Enterprise (and her team) live to fight another day.  Practical and resiliant, he is our King of Pentacles.

And I could not resist this..... I think the Queen of Wands would want me to adopt this as a mantra!

All credit for the subject of this blogpost to Vivianne Kacal!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Hello Dolly!

Last night was technically the New Moon, although there was nothing to see in the sky.  At the Full Moon, I pulled a card to see whose energies would be leaving me and it was, thankfully, the slightly peevish Knight of Cups.

But now that the moon is set to wax again, I want to know whose energies will grow within me until the moon is full once again.  And the card drawn is The Queen of Wands *high fives anyone passing by*

I'm very fond of the Queen of Wands, and Kat Black's young queen from the Touchstone Tarot is an absolute corker!

Kat's deck is a painstaking collage of artworks sourced from 16th and 17th century Europe and this particular Queen of Wands has the body of a young Princess Elizabeth I and that gloriously knowing face belongs Marchesa Brigida Spinola-Doria.  To me, the expression reminds me - a little - of our current Queen Elizabeth (Happy Diamond Jubilee if you are reading this, Your Maj) as a young woman - although she was not quite so......bold.

The black cat of intuition and feline wiles sits patiently in her lap as the Queen of Wands gazes out at you with a come-hither expression.

The Queen of Wands is associated with all those active, can-do attributes of the realm of Wands. As seen in the Minchiate post - this is not always positive and she can be a bit of a stirrer with that big stick of hers....clearly I'll be trying to avoid THAT particular attribute!  However, on the whole, this is a woman who sees obstacles as opportunities and is confident in her own skills and skin.

This is a woman who whistles before breakfast.

Well, I could certainly do with a quick shot of the Queen of Wands through my sinews I can assure you!  I was supposed to go for a run today, but I took one look out at the wet, miserable morning and opted to write a blog post instead.  Clearly her energies are going to be sloooooow to materialise over the next  couple of weeks!

What do you think of Kat Black's Queen of Wands? What might she bring to your life?

BTW - there is a copy of this deck for sale on amazon for over £400! WTF?! as the Queen of Wands might say!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Barbara Moore | Aly Fell | Steampunk Tarot | Page of Swords

Meet the Page of Swords from the forthcoming Steampunk Tarot by Barbara Moore with art by Aly Fell.  Barbara very kindly agreed to answer a few questions about her new deck and about this Page of Swords in particular:

Friday, 17 February 2012

One Singer, One Song | Which Courts?

Voted #412 in Rolling Stone Magazine's top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, here's a story and a half from Ms Bobbi Gentry.....

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

My Family | Minchiate Courts

Thought I would start a regular meme where we can look at the Courts of various decks - especially decks that are a bit different to the RWS style.

Have you ever taken a look at the Minchiate Tarot? It's massive!  Not only are there your standard Major Arcana cards (give or take one or two), Minors and Courts - but all the Zodiac cards, Virtues and Elements, giving a grand total of 97 cards.  I *know*.  Fascinating.  Murder to learn though :-)

The Court Cards are intriguin.  Of course, they are a the sort of courts that can make you weep because not only is there a dearth of helpful symbolism, but their names aren't even on the cards.

The accompanying book offers a fascinating insight into how THESE courts are to be interpreted.

This is the Sword family - running from King on the left down to the Knave on the right.

The book, by Andrea Vitali, defines them as:

Knave - Young man who causes suffering
Knight - Man who vehemently inflicts pain
Queen - Authoritarian woman who inflicts pain as a means to an end
King - Authoritarian man who causes pain without having to justify his actions

Yes, in this deck, Swords are simply 'painful situations' - think of their Swords used solely for hurting.

Wands don't fare much better. Here's their family:

And here's what the Minchiate book says about them.....

Knave - young man who creates problems
Knight - young man who creates problems with certain outbursts
Queen - ambiguous woman who creates problems
King - authoritarian man who creates problems without having to justify his actions

Yep - Wands are aaaaaalllll about problems - think of their Wand as a wooden spoon, stirring it!

Do the Cups family score any better?

Of course, this time I scanned the Cups with the Knave to the left and the King on the right.  Consistent? You must be getting me mixed up with someone else.....

Knave - Young woman offering gifts
Knight - Youn man who offers positive opportunities regularly
Queen - Authoritarian woman who acts out of affection as an end to a means
King - Authoritarian man who offers gifts, affection, love and help without having to justify himself to anyone

Clearly the Cups are regarded as uniformly positive guys (the book calls them 'positive situations') - think of that cup as a loving gift to someone.

And what of the Pentacle clan?  

....and back to King on the left and Knave on the I said, consistency is not my strong suit ;-)

The book describes the realm of Coins as 'Happy Situations', so they're going to be Goodies.

Knave - a young woman who creates situations that bring happiness
Knight - a man, present for a long time, who offers love, availability and great affection.
Queen - an authoritarian woman who intentionally inflicts pain .......

WWWWoooooooaaaaa *slams on brakes* This is clearly an error.  I checked with the Italian words in the same book and then typed off a query missive to Lo Scarabeo .  They kindly (and immediately) replied with the correct translation 'an authoritive woman who gives good things for the right reason.'

King - an authoritarian man who offers beautiful things without having to justify himself.

Actually,  Andrea Chiarvesio of Lo Scarabeo suggested replacing 'authoritarian' with 'authorotative' for that definition - which could then apply to the other Queens that have been labelled that way. This makes them all feel a bit less imperious, don't you think?

So the Minchiate Courts are full of Kings who answer to no-one and Queens who act consciously with an outcome in mind.  The Swords and Wands are without doubt troublesome characters in the Minchiate with no redeeming features whatsoever and the Cups and Pentacles are the families whom you want living next door.

And the Knight of Pentacles seems to be Mr Right.....  Something that I hadn't much considered.  But, now that I think about the RWS knights - aren't the Knights of Wands and Swords the first into battle and the dogged Knight of Pentacles the one who remains there after the other three have left the field? Yep he would do me fine as Mr Right :-)

Do the descriptions of the Minchiate Courts rock your own thoughts about particular courts - or could they add clarity?

What do you think? 

Copyright information:  Deck: Minchiate, Published by Lo Scarabeo, accompanying book written by Andrea Vitali

You can buy it here

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The Courts on Valentine's Day

Yeah, so it's a commercially-driven marketing man's dream and has no direct relation to the poor Saint who was kebabed with arrows.

And no, I didn't get one.

Our Tarot courts are made up of lots of characters with distinct personalities and today is a good day for looking at how the various court members relate to each other.

Take out your court cards and lay them down in random pairings and just look at how they physically relate to each other..... forget what you KNOW and just look at The Body Language ;-)

If the King and Queen of the same suit are facing each other - does it mean they are devoted to each other, or so wrapped up in their relationship they are neglecting other important matters.  What if she's looking out at YOU and he's looking at HER?  Has she got a wandering eye?!

What happens if you swap them around? She's still looking at you, but is he turning a blind eye?!

If they are facing away from each other - does this mean that they don't see eye to eye or are they confident enough in each other that they can pursue their own interests without worrying about each other?  Or are they each wrapped up in their own interests at the expense of their relationships?

In mixed suit pairings - are there Kings and Queens who look happier together than with their allocated suit partner?!

What about a Queen and a Knight? If she is looking at the Knight of another suit, does it mean that she's got designs on a younger, more exciting man? If it's her own Knight - could she be a helicopter mother?!

Kings and Knights - if they are looking in the same direction - is the King wishing he could recapture his own Knightly qualities?  Looking towards each other - an alliance between a senior and a junior?

What about the Pages - do Pages that stand back to back dislike each other? Not understand each other?

What might the various cards' gestures mean to the card you have paired it with?

Done them all?  Shuffle and do it again!!!

This little exercise can take ages - does it yield any additional insights for you with your court personalities?

Deck:  Rider Waite Smith.  Copyright US Games.  Artwork Pamela Colman-Smith.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Knight of Pentacles | Dan Donche | Darkana Tarot

This Knight of Pentacles certainly differs from most other Knight of Pentacles that I've seen, and I like him all the better for it!

Dan Donche, the artist behind this forthcoming Darkana deck (and smarty-pants GENIUS behind the hilariously Inappropriate Tarot Readings) hasn't done the LWB for his deck yet, so I'm just going to go with my own thoughts about this guy and you can tell me what you think.

Pentacles is the suit usually associated with the element of Earth and all the Knights are associated with the element of Air. So he's a mixture of Earth and Air - traditionally, that's a mix that doesn't sit comfortably together.  You can read more about the rules of Elemental Dignities on Paul Hughes-Barlow's Super Tarot website here.

So, for me, this guy has a conflict between how he thinks (Fast and Airy, like a Knight) and how he acts (slow, dependable and Earthy, like a Pentacle)

His head moves faster than the rest of him! 

Dan has his Knight of Pentacles on a motorbike - by far and away the speediest Knight of Pentacles I've seen for some time! I'm not sure what sort of bike it is, but it looks kind of vintage to me, so I'm going for a cafe racer style.

These date from around the 1960s but are getting pretty popular again....but they are not the fastest bikes on the planet.  And, for me, that steed quite suits the Knight of Pentacles. 

I'm not sure what Dan's other Knights might be doing - but I'm wondering whether they might be on other motorbikes - maybe a blue Japanese sports' bike, like a Suzuki for the Knight of Swords, a sleek scarlet Italian Ducati for the Knight of Wands......maybe the Knight of Cups could be on a dirt bike?!  

The point being - the Cups and the Pentacles guys would be on the slower machines, with the Wands and Swords guys on the madly fast machines.  Maybe? Well, we'll see soon enough!  rubs hands together*  Can't wait to see!

I absolutely love Dan's chosen artwork style for this deck - a sort of grunge, graffiti style that reminds me a great deal of Banksy's work. Here's an example of one of Banksy's stenciled graffiti works in London:

Snort:  Banksy

With 'snort' a white trail of paint was followed through the streets of the capital which ended here, at the drug-taking copper.  Witty and politically pointed.

Dan says: "The Darkana Tarot Deck combines a modern grunge style with non-traditional tarot symbolism. Every image is personally designed by me......this deck is everything I want to convey.

"Most decks end up being representations of the Rider-Waite deck, which doesn't offer a lot in the way of new, groundbreaking material out there. It is my opinion that the best tarot decks challenge current views and inspire. One way I seek to do that is by using more modern symbolism with clever artistic techniques, all packaged into a current style that's both rich in context and appealing

Sounds great doesn't it?!

Dan has keywords on the bottom left corner of his card - for this Knight it is Stubborn Obsessive.  The stubbornness is undoubtedly a Pentacles trait.....and obsessiveness - could be Airy?  According to the Golden Dawn attributions, two thirds of the Knight of Pentacles astrological associations are with Virgo (the other third is in Leo).  And Virgo is pretty obsessive! 

The Court Cards can be associated with different Astrological signs - lots of different systems exist and if you want to use one, just pick one and learn it!  

If you would like to see more of Dan's forthcoming deck - or even donate a few shekels to help him get it published - you can see more here

So - what do YOU think of this Knight of Pentacles?

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Whitney Houston | Queen of Charts

Forty-eight, that's all she was.

But the bubble-permed Queen of the 1980s Charts  had perished a long time before, lost beneath the waves of her turbulent marriage to singer Bobby Brown and years of substance abuse.

Which court card encompasses the dark struggle of these last years, do you think?

Friday, 10 February 2012

The Many Faces of Angie

No need to google - it's Atelier Versace, darling
Here she is - the immaculate A-list movie star.

I *know*.  Look at her wrists and arms.


That woman needs a box of Cadbury's finest confectionary Fed-Exed to her immediately....


Let's take a look at the many faces of our Angie.....

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Pick a card!

You don't need to know anything else about this chap other than what's in the newspapers about him - and you don't even need to like football to take part.

Have a think about which Court Card Harry Redknapp represents for you.....and then turn your cards until you hit the first court card in your deck.

In what way is Harry Redknapp (in this story) like the random court character card you have turned?  <- here's the story!

So - what was the card you chose - and what was the random card?!

Happy Thursday peeps!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

One Singer, one song, but which Court Cards?

So, here's a little whimsy to get us eased into Wednesday - there are two well-define characters in this song (and I am NOT apologising for luffing a bit of Kenny Rogers) *defiant face*.

 Which Court Cards do you think they might be - right-sides up or reversed?

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

And it's Good Knight from him!

There are lots of spreads that you can do to mark the passing stages of the moon.  Last night was a full moon, so I thought about whose personality energies would be now lessening their grip on me from here to the Dark Moon.

Of course, when it's the Dark Moon, I'll be looking to see whose energies are going to become more powerful as we draw towards the next Full Moon.  There are lots of variations on this reading theme, but that's the two that we'll initially be looking at.

The card drawn was The Knight of Cups.  And here he is;

Copyright info:  Published by US Games
Words/Art - A E Waite/Pamela Colman-Smith
You can buy it here:   

This is one of two Knights in the Rider Waite Smith deck that I'd quite like to give a damn good shake. Look at him, trotting around totally absorbed by the Cup in his grasp.  I could smack him.

His character is similar to the river that runs through the card: it slowly twists and turns through the countryside.  It meanders.  The Knight of Cups meanders.  This is a Knight who is in grave danger of disappearing up his own ass if he doesn't rouse himself from the adoration of his Cup to some kind of action.  

He's a Knight - the Knights are not supposed to demonstrate the maturity of their Kings and Queens.  It's their job to QUEST and to seek for that elusive THING and he's seeking something in that Cups of his.  

Frankly, I'm tired of looking for The Knight of Cups Thing.  You know The Thing.  The Thing that will Make You Emotionally Fulfilled.  If you're lucky, you won't know what I'm talking about - but if you're at the Knight stage of anything, you'll know just what I mean :-)

As a member of the Cups family, you would think that this chap is all about those Watery traits (the fish on his tabard, the waves on his horse's bridle) such as love, compassion, warmth....but as a Knight, he also has a lot of intellectual, logical Airy energy blowing around too (check out those wings on his helmet and spurs) and for me, this Watery/Airy combination manifests in a character who is more interested in examining  his own experience of emotions than anyone else's.  Looking again at the river in the card, I can confirm that point of view by the almost arid landscape that is clearly not much nourished by the water that runs through it.

This is a guy who will lovingly compose a ballad for you, but only really for the pleasure of hearing himself sing!  He will sweep you off for a weekend to Paris, but forget to buy Euros..... Oh don't get me wrong - he will declare his undying love and genuinely mean it.  Until he doesn't and you're dumped unceremoniously from a great height.  And he's off again on his Great Quest.... do you recognise him?!

So from now until the moon becomes dark, the disengaged emotional pleasures of the Knight of Cups ebbs from my life as does his dilly-dallying abstractedness.  Thank goodness!

I wonder whose energies will take his place?!

Monday, 6 February 2012


Glad that you found your way here! It was a bit of a struggle for me too - does the world need yet another Tarot blog?!  Well, we'll soon see :-)

Hopefully you're here because you want to expand on what you know about Court Cards.... and are up for a bit of fun at their expense too!  If you came here looking for the latest gen on the Lannisters and the Starks, you're in the wrong place.  That's the OTHER Game of Thrones.  It's not as much fun as THIS one is going to be.......

There have been some birthing pangs with this blog - and I'm sure that I've got some changes to make over the next few days - but like any other proud parent, I got a free natal chart from Astrolab:

Happy birthday,  This Game of Thrones!  So which Court Card could represent the blog - based on the moon, sun and rising sign?

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