Illumination Tarot - Exploring the tarot for insight and enlightenment.

 Peruse the site 

A Very Short History Tarot Today Choosing Your First Deck Tips for Beginners Tarot Glossary An Ancestral Call Divination for Anniversaries Dreaming Tarot The Hanged Man, Death, and the Devil Making Querents Comfortable Meditation for Tarot The Quick Reading Reading for Others Tarot in Times of Illness and Healing Tarot and the Wise Woman Your Questions, My Answers Questions, Page 2 Questions, Page 3 Helping Hand Money In My Life The Truth of the Matter Conflict in a Friendship Two Love Choices Climbing the Mountain Ostara Spread The Healing Star In the Mood for Love About the Reviews Afro-Brazilian Tarot The Ancient Egyptian Tarot Australian Animal Tarot The Buckland Romani Tarot I Cani Originali The Celtic Dragon Tarot The Classical Tarots Daughters of the Moon Tarot The DruidCraft Tarot The Egyptian Tarots Fantastical Creatures Tarot Faerie Tarot Feng Shui Tarot Game of Thrones Tarot The Gilded Tarot The Glastonbury Tarot The Goddess Tarot Golden Tarot The Gothic Tarot The Halloween Tarot The H.P. Lovecraft Tarot Legend: The Arthurian Tarot The Light and Shadow Tarot The Lord of the Rings Tarot The Manga Tarot Medieval Cat Tarot Mystic Dreamer Tarot Mystic Faerie Tarot The New Orleans Voodoo Tarot Old English Tarot Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative Set The Quest Tarot The Sacred Circle Tarot The Secret Tarots Ship of Fools Tarot The Star That Never Walks Around Sun and Moon Tarot Tarot of the Dead The Tarot of Prague Tarot of the Renaissance Tarot of the Saints The Tarot of Transformation Tarot of the Witches The Triple Goddess Tarot Universal Fantasy Tarot The Vampire Tarot Victoria Regina Tarot Wise Gal Tarot Witchy Tarot The World Spirit Tarot Ancient Feminine Wisdom Developing Your Intuition with Magic Mirrors Dharma Deck The Fairy Ring The Halloween Oracle I Ching Holitzka Deck Jewels of the Lotus The Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards Madame Endora's Fortune Cards Mana Cards Medicine Cards - Just for Today The Rune Vision Cards Sacred Geometry Oracle Deck Tree of Life Oracle Wolf Song Deck & Book Set A Tarot Bookshelf The Complete Illustrated Guide to Tarot Designing Your Own Tarot Spreads Everyday Tarot The Girls' Guide to Tarot Learning the Tarot
Learning Tarot Reversals
Nancy Shavick's Tarot Universe Professional Tarot Rituals and Practices with the Motherpeace Tarot The Secrets of the Tarot Tarot for All Seasons Tarot for the Healing Heart Tarot for Self Discovery Tarot for Teens The Tarot Court Cards Tarot Plain and Simple Tarot Shadow Work Tarot in the Spirit of Zen Vodou Visions The Witches' Book of the Dead
Celtic Wisdom Sticks Cryptique: A Spirit Board Egyptian Scarab Oracle The Tarot: A Puzzle About Me Site FAQ Email Me Linkedin


The Tarot Court Cards
Archetypal Patterns of Relationship in the Minor Arcana
by Kate Warwick-Smith

The Tarot Court Cards Only a few days ago I received yet another email asking me about court cards and how to interpret them in readings. Questions about court cards are common, and even long-time tarot enthusiasts often doubt their own interpretations of these cards ... just who or what do the court cards refer to? Nearly every book that teaches tarot offers guidelines for interpreting these cards, yet they often remain elusive.

With The Tarot Court Cards, author Kate Warwick-Smith has made a valuable and important contribution to tarot literature. She provides a unique and comprehensive method of learning the meanings of each of the traditional sixteen court cards, understanding their significance in readings, and finally viewing them with real clarity.

Warwick-Smith explains that we each have a circle of support available to us, and she explains how this support can be reflected by the sixteen face cards of the tarot. She says, "When you think about it, we all have some version of an inner court - people we rely on to help us in various ways in our lives ... Do we know exactly who they are and how they support us? And do we know how we in turn support them?" Through her description of each court card as either an external supporter or detractor (such as a friend, lover, or boss), or as an internal resource or challenge (our inner response to specific relationships), we develop a true awareness of their full meaning.

Cards' meanings are derived from a simple but highly effective combining of Qabala and the essence of each level in the royal hierarchy of king, queen, knight, and page. One can easily understand this method and quickly grasp what each card potentially signifies, even having no previous familiarity with Qabala. Warwick-Smith accurately points out that all of our personal relationships are different, and teaches us to see how these relationships either foster growth (support us), or hold us back (serve as detractors). In this way, she is clear to keep a balance of positive and negative energies, not biasing her teaching in either direction. We also learn to see the court cards as reflective of inner properties - as positive resources we can draw upon, or as shadow qualities that challenge us - that are evoked by our personal relationships.

I found this a highly useful and fascinating approach to the court cards, and at the same time, sensible. In following Warwick-Smith's suggestion to identify my supporters and detractors, I was surprised by how quickly I could line up court cards with people in my life. At the same time, this way of working with the cards did give them more life; they became whole. Through this way of working with the court cards, they can be fully present in our readings as transformative guides, rather than avoided as confusing or misunderstood elements, and they can do what we intend them to do: give illumination to our relationships.

Warwick-Smith begins the book by exploring ideas of royalty, family, and community, and by tracing the development of the tarot from its origins as a game, until its eventual use for divination purposes. Her overview of court cards through history, as well as her comparisons between the teachings of Paul Foster Case, Aleister Crowley, Angeles Arrien, and Mary K. Greer, are intriguing. She then introduces her specific method for reading with the court cards. Each card is fully explained in several sections as Supporter, Detractor, Resource, Challenge, with a Divination Guideline, and in imaginative prose where the card "Speaks" in the first person. Spreads designed for working solely with court cards are provided, and working with the entire tarot deck is also touched upon. There is a handy sample form for recording readings, a full appendix of brief divinatory meanings, many correspondence charts, black and white illustrations from a number of well-known tarot decks, and charts of card title variations. The book is fully footnoted, contains a glossary, an extensive bibliography, and a list of online resources.

This refreshingly straightforward book is easy and quick to read, but intelligent and thoughtful. Warwick-Smith has an obvious respect for tarot history, psychology, and human relationships, as well as a sincere desire to share her knowledge and experience with others. The Tarot Court Cards will become a much-used book on my tarot bookshelf, and I highly recommend it to others who would like to genuinely enrich their own tarot work.


Read user reviews or purchase online at Amazon:
The Tarot Court Cards at Amazon





All writing and photography © N Levine - Illumination Tarot, unless otherwise noted. 1999-2020