Tarot Court Cards | Reflection or Person?

Published by Alison Cross on

I thought I’d share some more little snippets from my forthcoming Court Card book on the DNA of the Tarot Court – never overlook the importance of the image itself, it can contain a barrow-load of insights!

When you look at a Court Card, what do you see – a mirror image before you or a real person?

It might be something that you have never really thought about, but it can help add nuance and insight to your readings, regardless of what kind of deck you are using – RWS clone, Marseille-style etc.

Imagine you are standing in front of a mirror and raise your left hand, in the reflection it looks as though it’s your right hand that has been raised.

Now, If a person was standing in front of you, facing you, and you both raised your left hands, it would be the opposite hand that the person would raise.

Try it yourself – it’s easier to see than to explain!

Let’s consider him as a reflection – he holds his scabbard in his left hand and his sword in his right hand. So far, so normal, right?

But if he’s a person standing in front of you, he holds his sword in his LEFT hand. This is not the hand generally associated with fencing and left-handedness has traditionally been associated with sinister things. Given that some of the common interpretations for the Page of Swords have an element of deviousness about them, a left-handed swordsman entirely fits the bill!

I’m a leftie myself and I wear the badge with pride!

With older decks, such as a Marseille, the original wood blocks could be drawn out and carved with, for example, a sword held in a right hand, but when the image is inked up and transferred to paper, it becomes a reflection – so, it would look as if it was in his left hand. Confusing AF, right?! Sorry!

So, which way of seeing is right and which one is wrong? Neither! I personally prefer to see the characters in cards as PEOPLE though. But I do check (Swords cards especially) to make sure that most of those brandishing swords ARE holding them in their right hands!

I bring it up so that you can be aware of the options, how the printing process might affect the imagery in some older deck reproductions and invite you to get clear in your head whether you are seeing figures as REFLECTIONS or as PEOPLE.

How do you prefer to see characters in cards – reflections or people?

Alison Cross

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


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