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Finding Your Tarot Significator: A Method of Understanding The Court Cards in Tarot

By Tina Gong


Have you ever found yourself looking through the court cards in a deck and being completely lost on how you can make sense of them? I mean, they’re all just people right? And you don’t really have much to go on besides their clothes and maybe the background in the card itself. It feels pretty weird to find the meaning of a card in the context of your reading based on just those cues. On top of that, it’s so tricky to think about those damn court cards without getting caught up in just physical characteristics, like gender and age, that may just lead you to very blunt but seemingly random, meaningless interpretations of those cards.

Sound like you? You’re not alone. The court cards within tarot are some of the most difficult cards to get a grasp of. I’ll go through some of the methods that I personally understand the role of court cards during a reading - ways that go beyond the traditional age, appearance, gender and focus more on the personality and situation of the querent.

What Can Tarot Court Cards Represent?

Tarot Court Cards as you or someone in your life

This is the most traditional method, but leaves a lot of room for interpretation. To figure out who the card is representing, I would usually look at the personality profile. We’ve composed a few quick bites on tarot court card personalities below. Other people have even gone far into mapping the tarot court cards with the Myers-Briggs personality profiles!

Tarot Court Cards as a role that you play, or an aspect of your personality.

We are all composed of many selves - we change based on what we’re doing and who we’re with. With my friends, I may be a calming, compassionate Queen of Cups. But when I’m feeling frustrated or angry, I may become a distant and aloof Queen of Swords. When in the context of a reading, think about the part of you that is being expressed in this context. What part of your personality is being pulled to the surface in this reading?

Tarot Court Cards as an event.

If all else fails, and the tarot court card doesn’t even make sense as a person, we can consider them as either processes or events. For example, pages are all about discovery. The page of cups may represent that the querent is going through a stage of their lives when they are beginning to discover new emotions or feelings that they have never known before.

    That being said, let’s get into the depth of this post and talk about the personalities behind each of the court cards. I find that the best way to approach them is as a friend, as someone to have a conversation with. When you speak with them, imagine yourself in their presence, and allow yourself to visualize how they act, their tone of voice. How do they express themselves? What are they concerned about? What do they say outright, and what do they keep quiet? What are their intentions? 

    The Pages: Court Card Personalities

    There’s a feeling of innocence and naïveté to all the pages. They approach the world with an almost childlike wide-eyed demeanor - as if seeing the world for the first time. They want to take it all in, and they are eager to learn and discover every little thing that comes their way. They are all about exploration, especially in the realm of their suit.

    The Personalities of the Pages: Tarot Court Cards as Significators in Tarot

    • Page of Wands - excited, imaginative, adventurous, mischievous, bold, confident.
    • Page of Cups - dreamy, sensitive, innocent, filled with deep emotion, dramatic.
    • Page of Swords - bright, nervous, filled with anxious energy, vigilant, chatty, curious.
    • Page of Pentacles - studious, well-mannered, focused, diligent, quiet, perfectionistic.

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    The Knights: Court Card Personalities

    You can usually recognize the knights when you meet someone that is extremely enthusiastic about demonstrating the powers of their suit. These characters are excited and devoted, but usually *so* eager to prove themselves to the world, that they tend to go to extremes. Think of the standard “hero” archetype. They’re often pretty memorable characters, with good intentions, but their source of energy is also their biggest weakness.

    The Personalities of the Knights: Tarot Court Cards as Significators in Tarot

    • Knight of Wands - hot tempered, reckless, impulsive, doesn’t think things through, fearless.
    • Knight of Cups - moody, charming, dependent, romantic, idealist, trouble seeing reality.
    • Knight of Swords - aggressive, ambitious, sometimes manipulative, controlling.
    • Knight of Pentacles - responsible, hard-working, finance and career driven, workaholic.

    The Queens: Court Card Personalities

    The queens have a deep understanding of their suit. Unlike the kings, who use their knowledge of their suit to act on the world, the queens use it to develop their inner self. They have a mature understanding of both the strengths and weaknesses of their suit, and are able through quiet reflection and gentle expression to help others see those qualities within themselves.

    The Personalities of the Queens: Tarot Court Cards as Significators in Tarot

    • Queen of Wands - independent, easily excited, lively, feisty, determined, passionate, sincere.
    • Queen of Cups - sweet, empathetic, intuitive, compassionate, sensitive, soothing
    • Queen of Swords - intelligent, guarded, sharp, seductive, careful, mysterious, reserved.
    • Queen of Pentacles - patient, business-savvy, nurturing, practical, loves the familiar.

    The Kings: Court Card Personalities

    In the tarot court cards, the king has the role of using the powers of his suit to create external change. They have mastered it for a practical use, unlike the queen, who has mastered it by understanding. The kings are usually are quite balanced in the way that they handle situations, with a knowledge of how their suit affects others, both in positive and negative ways.

    The Personalities of the Kings: Tarot Court Cards as Significators in Tarot

    • King of Wands - passionate, courageous, brave, energetic, funny, leader
    • King of Cups - caring, creative, spiritual, big-hearted, warm, controlled emotions.
    • King of Swords - rational, communicative, disciplined, distant, aloof, careful.
    • King of Pentacles - provider, generous, hard-working, stable, family-oriented.

    What is a Tarot Significator? How does it work with Court Cards?

    You may have heard of a tarot significator, which these days I’m finding it rarer and rarer to see. It’s basically a card we pull out of the deck prior to the reading, traditionally from the court cards, used to represent the querent. Now that you’ve gotten a basic understanding of court cards, try to apply them in your life by using significators. 

    Though not necessary for many readers, I do find that it helps me think and be more aware of my current moods, feelings, and situations, lending some more depth into the reading on how I affect the energy of the reading. And personally, since I believe that all magic is essentially about deep self understanding, it’s important to me to know how I factor into the world around me.


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    • Endia
      Are you ever going to sell this red and orange themed version of the Golden Thread? I would buy it in a heartbeat!
    • Tina
      Hey Cari! So, the wonderful thing about tarot is that these cards live in everyone. I may be a fierce and reckless knight of wands one day, and I may be a patient queen of cups another day. Same goes for everyone else – human nature is dynamic. If I had to choose one, I would ask myself, which of these cards reveals the aspect of this person that I’m trying to get answers for? For myself, I would choose the card that I’m feeling like most during my reading. For another person, I would look at both the question and the court card. An example is if I’m asking “why is this person a jerk to me at work?”. This person may be a moody knight of cups in other aspects, but is a workaholic – meaning I’d probably choose the knight of pentacles instead for this reading. Does that help?
    • CAri
      What if I find that with regards to a choosing a significantor card more then one applies to a person? What do I do in this case?

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