If you’ve ever drawn a few Court Cards for your reading, and then felt completely dumbfounded by what they could represent, you’re not alone. They have a reputation for being notoriously hard to decipher. Luckily, developing systems for how these cards connect and relate to each other help greatly with understanding them. This is what we’re going to go through today.
Last time we examined various personality traits of the court cards, which we are going to continue to use alongside everything here in this article. The mappings that we include here will expand on those personality traits with elemental correspondences and modalities of the zodiac.
Our hope is that with these correspondences, you’ll be better equipped to not just understand the isolated meanings of these cards, but also how they relate to each other - giving them another dimension you can use to add depth to your readings and explore your own personality traits.
Tarot Suits and Tarot Elements
The best way to get started drawing connections between astrology and the court cards is with the elements. The suits in the tarot all correspond to the four elements - giving us 4 cards within each element. In astrology, there are 3 zodiac signs per element. The suit loosely conveys what each of these court cards are preoccupied with - what they care about, what they bring to the world and where their skills lie.
The correspondences are listed below.
Suit of Wands - Fire
- Associated with creativity, willpower, and action.
- Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Suit of Cups - Water
- Associated with feelings, relationships and love.
- Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
Suit of Swords - Air
- Associated with intellect, thoughts and ideas.
- Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Suit of Pentacles - Earth
- Associated with finances, home and body.
- Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Tarot Court Card Elements by Rank
In addition to the suits having an element, each of the court card ranks themselves are associated with different elements. This means each court card is a unique combination of 2 different elements. Loosely, the rank element symbolizes the personality and approach the court card takes in their day to day life. For example, the queens, ruled by water, usually are gifted with inner knowledge and empathy. Combined with the element of earth, the queen of pentacles is both talented and generous in business matters, and creates a warm and nurturing home.
The rank associations are listed below.
Pages - Earth
The pages are perhaps the most inexperienced in their suit of all the court cards, and as such they are filled with curiosity — eager to learn and explore all that their suit has to offer. They want to take everything in. As part of their exploration, they crave representations of their suit that they can grasp, feel.
Knights - Fire
Filled with passion, the knights are represented by the element of fire. Always itching for something to do, they are often very eager to prove themselves to the world — perhaps a little too eager. This sometimes makes them rather impatient, and go too much into the extremes of their suit.
Queens - Water
Queens, being the receptive counterpart to the kings, are associated with the element of water. Their deep knowledge of their suit is turned inward — they seek to perfect it in the private world. Their approach in life is to quietly express their suit and inspire others through their unwavering commitment to their own evolution.
Kings - Air
The kings, as executors of their element, are level headed and intellectual. They approach things with clarity of mind. They must be strategic in order to make sure their vision comes to life, and are great communicators - they must be in order to share their vision of what the world can be with others.
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Tarot Court Cards - Tarot Elements and Rank Cheat Cheat
From what we mentioned above, we can combine them so that each of the court cards has two elements associated with them. The final elemental pairings look like the following.
Zodiac Elements and Court Card Rank
While the approach we took a look at just now is a helpful way to systemically dissect each of the court cards with elements, there’s another approach that we haven’t taken a look at yet. If you’re familiar with astrology, you’ll know that the zodiac is broken down into both elements (which we already looked at) as well as modalities — cardinal signs, fixed signs, and mutable signs. The breakdown of the signs are shown below, along with their court card rank.
Cardinal Signs of the Zodiac - Queens
- Represented by the signs that begin the season.
- They are initiators, self-starters, assertive, decisive and sometimes aggressive.
- Aries - Fire / Beginning of Spring
- Cancer - Water / Beginning of Summer
- Libra - Air / Beginning of Fall
- Capricorn - Earth / Beginning of Winter
Fixed Signs of the Zodiac - Knights
- Represented by the signs that are in the middle of the season.
- They are focused, stable, reliable, concentrated, determined and sometimes stubborn.
- Taurus - Earth / Spring
- Leo - Fire / Summer
- Scorpio - Water / Fall
- Aquarius - Air / Winter
Mutable Signs of the Zodiac - Kings
- Represented by the signs that end the season.
- They are adaptable, flexible, communicative, and sometimes rebellious.
- Gemini - Air / End of Spring
- Virgo - Earth / End of Summer
- Sagittarius - Fire / End of Fall
- Pisces - Water / End of Winter
So! There are probably a few questions you have when looking at these charts. These rank associations are pulled from the Golden Dawn tradition, which chooses to remove the pages from this list of correspondences. The justification for this, to put it shortly, is that the pages are yet still undeveloped and immature energy. Secondly, you may also feel that depending on the deck, the modalities may actually fit cards of another rank. Again, while these are pulled from the Golden Dawn, don’t feel like you have to follow these exactly. For example, in some decks, the knights may better represent cardinal signs, and queens may better represent fixed signs. It’s more important that you understand how these interact.
Tarot Court Cards - Tarot Elements and Zodiac Modalities Cheat Sheet
When we combine both the elemental associations of the tarot and the modalities of the zodiac, we end up with the following pairings.
Tarot Court Card Elements and Zodiac Signs Summary
So that’s it! This is only one of the many systems we can use to better understand those mysterious court cards - we’re planning to do just one more in this series, so please stay tuned for more topics. As usual, feel free to post any questions you have, and I’ll try my best to give you some answers.