Meet the Courts | Alexander Daniloff Tarot

Published by Alison Cross on

Come on in to the wonderful Italianate, medieval-inspired world of Alexander Daniloff! *throws open the door*.  This glorious Tarot is still very new to me, but I wanted to share his Court Cards with you so that you can see why I am so enamoured of this man’s work!

There is no accompanying book with this deck, but I don’t think that this detracts from the cards as a working deck at all. It’s very RWS-based in its imagery.

Without further ado, TADAAAAH! Here they are!

The Swords Courts

As you can see, the common colour to the Swords Courts is black – quite in tune with the suits associations with grief and loss.  But black is powerful, threatening… also, makes you look slimmer πŸ™‚  There are lovely pops of colour in these cards too – and love the raven perched above the queen! I already spoke to Alexander Daniloff about the Page, with is artfully hidden HEWGE sword here.

They’re all looking the same way, to our left.  They have the sort of dark expressions that one might associate with the suit – although the Queen looks downright sneaky lol!

The Cups Courts

Check out the delightful aqua and blue hues of the Cups, less obvious in the King perhaps.  Unlike the Swords, this family all face to the right.  I adore the big clumsy-looking Knight and love how the Queen of Cups slides her gaze to him!

The common colour for the Wands is green – reflecting the liveliness of the living Wand.  The Wands Knight looks like a character from The Far Pavilions (not read it? read it. I luffed it.) The Wands look predominantly out to the left other, like the Swords.  Apart from the pesky Page who looks to the right! Look at the sad-looking lion skin belonging to the King of Wands.  He’s skinned the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz.  And the Queen – with her golden ripe harvest and fiery ram’s fleece……. The Wands are scrumptious!

The Pentacles Courts

I think that this might be my favourite family in this deck because, if you look closely, the Pentacle in each card is different.  The Page has a game, the Knight has a coin, the Queen has a globe-like sphere and the King’s Pentacle is part of the trappings of his wealth, his robes.  I love the Elephant and Castle on the escutcheon that makes up the King’s torso.  This is where the lack of a LWB can be a little maddening lol! Mind you, I’ve seen fairly significant symbols go unmentioned in lots of LWBs, so there’s no guarantee that I would be any the wiser if Alexander had included one.

From a bit of an internet trawl, the elephant is associated with strength.  And castles with defence – so strength and defence might be their motto?  And yes, I’m also aware that it’s the name of a significant junction in London πŸ˜€
All the Pages are depicted as youths with banners representing their suits, standing on boards.  They have a small area of influence.
The Knights are depicted behind helmets and shields (in the Germanic style).
The Queens are depicted in a similar shield shape and have playing card suit references
The Kings have their coat of arms as their torso.
Each card has its associated astrological symbol prominently placed to the foot of the card, which makes these cards lovely to use as Significators based on astrological references. The poor Pages have, of course, no astral real-estate and so have no astrological symbols. Don’t blame Alexander, blame the Golden Dawn πŸ˜‰
Knights, who are traditionally mutable, have frilly moveable fronds around them
The Queens who are cardinal are in a human-heart shaped vignette and are before a swagged entrance.  Cardinal signs are the entrance signs (first signs) encountered when looking at astrology of Courts πŸ™‚  Look, I’m trying to help pin the associations here lol!
The Kings are fixed, as denoted by the cityscapes in their thrones.
Oh there is so much else that I want to add about these characters, but I shall save it for another day!
So what do you think of them? Love them? Loathe them?!
*whispers* it had better be love or you and I may have to break off our engagement πŸ˜€

Alison Cross

The Tarot's Court Cards are my specialist area.Β  They talk to me. Not LITERALLY though ....


Ruth · 22nd November 2012 at 8:28 am

I love them! Great review, thank you, Ali! xxxx

    alisoncross · 1st December 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Thanks Ruth!! This is my very most favourite deck. Aside from my Druidcraft of course. I am terrified of banging up the corners on it though!

    Inner Whispers · 2nd December 2012 at 1:34 pm

    I rounded my corners… πŸ™‚

Inner Whispers · 20th November 2012 at 7:01 am

It's funny, the Kings with their insignia remind me of Ciro Marchetti's Knights who are just helmets – how sometimes our role takes over from us. Rather like your "Masks" posts, actually. So, how would that influence our reading of the Kings? πŸ™‚

    alisoncross · 1st December 2012 at 12:42 pm

    The Pages are fully formed, the Knights from the waist up, the Queens too… and the Kings are almost completely cyphers, but for their heads.

    I'm not sure Chloe. I suppose that having no hands nor feet AND bound to their cityscapes, the Kings are unable to do anything that could affect change and are, therefore emphasises the FIXED aspect of their nature. But whether that's what the deck's creator intended, I don't know. I could be putting words into his characters' mouths! πŸ˜€

Carla Tate · 19th November 2012 at 6:37 pm

That Queen of Swords card is so funny. I love it so much. Alas, I cannot afford this deck, I shall have to admire from afar.

    alisoncross · 1st December 2012 at 12:36 pm

    I hope that a publisher takes it up as a mass produced deck at some point – it's so lovely. I know that I'm gushing, but I can't help it. It ticks all my boxes!

    Ali x

Bonkers · 19th November 2012 at 4:12 pm

oh gosh love them indeed. you tempting enabling enabler you ;]

    alisoncross · 1st December 2012 at 12:36 pm

    It would make a very lovely Christmas pressie to yourself, Bonkers!

Vivianne · 19th November 2012 at 1:50 pm

I like this deck ever more the more I see of it πŸ™‚

    alisoncross · 1st December 2012 at 12:34 pm

    It's a well thought through deck with vibrant colours and really nice little touches of humour! I could sit and look at it all day!

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