Court Cards: The Four Families of Tarot


Welcome back everyone! Georgina here.
Today we’re going to talk about the four suits and the court cards. The deck I’m
using is the Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot, which is a recoloring of the Waite-Smith
Tarot. But you can use any Tarot deck you like. Now back in the olden days of Tarot,
the four suits were described as being active or passive, and the court cards
were defined as being either masculine or feminine, according to their sex. Kings
were men who were masters, queens were women who were supportive sidekicks to
the king…yada yada. Even when I was first learning Tarot
(back in the 1970s) meanings that strictly defined court cards by their sex and
gender were still very commonplace. You know as if everybody was cisgendered and
everybody was straight! Well that’s just ridiculous. And if you think that’s bad,
there were even physical assignments for the court cards: Wands were fair-
skinned people with white, blond, or red hair. Cups were fair-skinned people with
brown or auburn hair. And Swords were olive-skinned people with black hair. And
anyone who wasn’t a white European was shuffled off to the suit of Pentacles.
Ouch! Of course contemporary Tarot readers find this
very limiting and quite frankly very offensive. So if we want to provide good,
relevant Tarot readings we need to update our language. So Kings: They can be
people of any sex or gender who are mature and externalize their experiences.
They know how to be an adult in the outside world. And Queens: They can be
people of any sex or gender who are mature adults, but they internalize their
experiences and choose to express themselves to a close circle of friends
and family. Knights: These can be people of any sex or gender who are still
working out what it means to be an adult. They’re running around, having lots of
character-building life experiences. And then the Pages can be people of any sex
or gender who are inexperienced in the ways of the world. They’re still learning
who they are and they have not yet decided what role they want to play in a
society. So you could be any of these cards, depending on your life situation.
Managing your own company? Well that’s a King thing. Taking care of your kids or
coaching a friend? Well that’s a Queen quality. Moving from place to place or
job to job? You’re expressing Knight energy. And if you’re learning a new
skill? Well, you’re a studious Page! I place the court cards into four
families: The Wands (and that’s the folks you’re seeing right now) this is the entrepreneurial family. You can find these passionate, ambitious folks
starting up their own businesses. Steve Jobs of Apple, Bill Gates of Microsoft,
Elon Musk of Tesla Motors and SpaceX. Oprah Winfrey, Doris Fischer (who started
the Gap), Sara Blakely (who started Spanx). All of these dedicated folks worked hard
to make their dreams a reality. So the cards in the suit of Wands
in general deal with work and ambition. Now let’s take a closer look at the
family. The King of Wands. He’s the company founder, the person with
vision and drive. When you seek a mentor, look to this King. The Queen of Wands is
the hospitality Queen. She works in public relations and arranging company
events. When you see this Queen, you are likely to receive a party invite. Or
maybe you’re throwing a party yourself. The Knight of Wands. He is a manager, an
aggressive salesperson. He’s the mover and a shaker. When you see this Knight,
expect a sudden change in your employment, your residence, or both. And
the Page of Wands is the chatty intern, learning what makes business work. The
Page of Wands is also a literal page, carrying messages between departments.
When you see this Page, expect a lot of email and an increased activity in your
Twitter and Facebook feeds. Got that? Okay! Moving on to the suit of
Cups. This is the emotionally savvy family.
These are the artists, the poets, the musicians, and the mystics. They’re also
your immediate family and relatives. In the workplace, you may find them in the
human resources office or in the Employee Assistance Program. They are
people who have great empathy for others. So the cards in this suit, the suit
of Cups, deal with things as emotions, dreams, desires, and memories. The King of
Cups is the emotionally supportive person. When you seek a mentor in the
fine arts, look to this King. He has paternal instincts. The Queen of Cups is
also an emotionally supportive person, but is concerned primarily with matters
inside the immediate family. You can depend on this Queen to listen
sympathetically to your problems and well, maternal instincts. The Knight of
Cups is the romantic Knight. This card has traditionally meant a new romantic
relationship, but it can also mean expressing yourself creatively through
the fine arts: music, poetry, writing. Either way, when you see this Knight,
there is an opportunity to express love. Page of Cups is the dreamy, mystical Page.
This Page is learning how to express their feelings. That emo kid writing bad
poetry today? Well tomorrow is a rock star!
We all start from somewhere. Let’s move on to Swords. Swords! Now this is the
intelligence-gathering family. I think of it as a spy agency. They deal with
information, strategy, and planning. These are also the politicians, military
strategists, soldiers, and spies. Scientists, lawyers, and librarians are
also part of this family, as are tech analysts and whistleblowers. Oh yeah,
Edward Snowden: Definitely a member of the Sword family! The suit of Swords is
filled with action and intrigue. Very exciting! The King of Swords is the head
of the spy agency. When you need all sides of a situation to be thoroughly
examined or a masterful masterful plan of action for dealing with your
challenges, you look to this King. This King is your attorney or your CPA. The
Queen of Swords is an analyst who sees deep connections between the cold hard
facts. This Queen internalizes knowledge and gains brilliant insight into the way
the world works. This Queen is also known as the “widowed Queen.” The Knight of
Swords. Now this is our “James Bond” of the Tarot spy agency. If you need a bold,
brash champion or advocate to your cause, this is your guy! The Page of Swords. This
is the sneaky Page. This Page enjoys gathering information on everyone and
everything, but hasn’t learned how to determine the value of the intel yet. Moving on to Pentacles. Pentacles is the legacy family.
Remember how Cups was the emotionally savvy family? They’re very much like your
immediate family. Pentacles would be the family *legacy*. The one that’s going to
survive generations and generations. This is a dynasty! We are talking about “old
money” families like the Rockefellers and big business tycoons like Donald Trump.
But for all that grandeur and big talk, this is also the family that physically
works with the earth: the farmers gardeners, and yes, miners. Also folks
whose business involves property, such as realtors, land developers, ecological
conservationists, and environmentalists. Bankers and stockbrokers are also part
of this family. So the cards in this suit deal with resources, money, and property.
The King of Pentacles. This is the grand patriarch who established the family
business a very long time ago. It is this King whose painting hangs
prominently in the company lobby. When you need resources, money, time equipment, when
you need those things to reach your goals, this is the king to whom you must
request it! The Queen of Pentacles. Well, this is the grand matriarch of the
family business. this Queen is one of the “ladies who
lunch,” leveraging their position and power to help the less fortunate. They
set up foundations to make positive changes that will last long after they
are gone. The Knight of Pentacles is the slow-moving Knight. He brings the best
opportunity for wealth and position, but it will take a long time for these
opportunities to present themselves. If you’re looking for something to happen
quickly, like a new job or a new money offer…yeah, don’t count on this Knight
immediately. It takes a while. Then there’s the Page of Pentacles. This is
the most studious, bookish Page. This card frequently signifies a person in school.
They may lack practical, hands-on experience, but they’ve studied the
experiences of others. Now did any of these court cards sound like you or
remind you of people you know? When you’re doing a Tarot reading you may be
working with a spread (also known as the layout or a pattern) and it will require
you to choose what we call a significator to represent the person who is receiving the reading. Kind of an avatar. So let’s
play a game: Take out your court cards in the deck
and assign a card for yourself and for some of the people in your life. Be sure
to jot down your assignments in your Tarot journal. Now when you’re reading
for yourself in the future and you see any of those cards, you’ll know who they
represent. For example, if you knew a young person who was just starting out
in school, you might choose this Page of Pentacles to represent them. If you were
reading for an older woman who had lost her husband, you might choose the widow
card, the Queen of Swords. If you’re looking to establish a new business and
you need some advice, you might choose the King of Wands. That would represent
him. If you’re going back (to school) and perhaps learning a new artistic skill like
painting or poetry…yeah, Page of Cups. That would represent you. For myself, the
Queen of Cups represents my mom. So have fun with that. Next time we’ll talk about
the four Aces and I’ll share an original Tarot spread of mine that uses just the
16 cards you’ve learned so far. I call it the Dream Team Spread. It will be your
very first Tarot spread. Hey, exciting! Now remember: When you read for
other people they may have a very different idea of which card best
represents them. I had a querent many years ago that didn’t like any of the
court cards. She insisted on using a Major Arcana card. She insisted on using
the Star as her significator. Now always honor your querent’s wishes. It’s their
reading after all! So be flexible and chat with your querent to determine the
best significator card together. And that’s it for this time! If you’ve
enjoyed this video, be sure to Like it. And if you’ve really enjoyed it please
share it and subscribe to the channel. Tell me in the comment section what
kinds of Tarot subjects you want to see in future videos. Until next time,
remember: The magic is not in the cards; the magic is in you! Be awesome!

96 Responses

  1. ChrisAnn says:

    I would love to see you do more Tarot tutorials…any chance you're gonna do more?

  2. Adriana Colino says:

    It's the best video in the matter, and I'm telling this after having seen a lot, both in English and Spanish. Also have to say you're very didactic and your English is very clear

  3. journey2blue says:

    Well constructed and presented video! You have an effective teaching voice. Very well done 😊

    At my life stage, business, corporate, career analogies and comparisons no longer speak to me. But I think those work for most folks. I'm more toward the semi-retirement "reflection" stage of my life.

    Maybe think about doing one exposition of the court cards for the older sage / crone population 😊. Would probably be an interesting exercise for you too! 😮.

    I think you're a very effective teacher.

  4. Lindsay Travis says:

    "as if everyone was cisgendered and everyone was straight." I LOVE YOU!

  5. VanvouverWeightLoss says:

    Well articulated, Georgina Toland. Thank you for concisely unpacking the court cards. Great job. And hey, geeks are so in. 😉 😉 😉

  6. PSXfiles says:

    Thank you so much for this video! I'm relatively new to tarot and the court cards have been difficult for me to interpret when they show up in a spread. You did a great job of putting them into context and it helps a lot.

  7. Spiritual Casino says:

    This was Excellent! Thank you so much!

  8. Sangeeta Vohra says:

    want to understand in simple method how to predict time event

  9. Elba Jimenez says:

    I have watched many many videos and read many tarot books, but never found something so clear and to the point like this! Thank you so much. I love it!!!!!

  10. Guido Bossi says:

    you truly have a gift for teaching. muchísimas gracias

  11. Ashleigh Acker says:

    Brilliant! Thank you!

  12. Satyr says:

    I love the tarot, i am a man that uses both white and black magic…. but please.. stop the bullshit about other "genders" because we are part of nature in nature there are only two genders, sorry people, grow up and be realistic, love to you ladys and gentlemen!

  13. crh1960 says:

    Thank you for your video. It is always nice to know that someone with 40+ years of experience is willing to give to others. That's why we do it, right? Stay in the light. 🙂 Kind regards, Clark

  14. Marisa Means says:

    Love this modern interpretation!!

  15. justmeeagainn says:

    First you say that you're doing a modern interpretation, then you put the kings and queens right back into their traditional gender-specific roles! "The king started the business. His portrait hangs in the lobby." Wow, interesting. I guess no women ever started a business. You're not nearly as progressive as you think you are. Maybe you should have made it more clear that BOTH males and females can possess characteristics of kings and/or queens, depending on the circumstances. Fail.

  16. Aries Charm says:

    I really love the way you explain this ….excellent video thank you so much,can't wait to listen to more of your classes ….I have been curious …when readers say secrets are coming out ..or secrets are being kept …I'm one to be all about knowing what is the secret ? Or like to ask in a love reading what was he hiding from me ? What secret didn't he want me to know ….in regards to seeking answers after a break up with out clarity…some readers seem to know in detail…..how do you get a detailed answer to a question of revealing a secret ? Are there certain tarot card decks to use to get this out come ? I have heard some readers say certain oricle decks go deeper into a issue or situation ….so if you could please explain how to reveal hidden truths or detailed secrets pertaining to love / relationship issues that would be great…and also advise explain different tarot decks / oricle cards that are best used in different readings ….just thought I would ask ….you are very inspiring ! Many Blessings to you !

  17. Natalie Wang says:

    This was incredibly useful, and I really appreciate that you've done your best (and imo, successfully) to break the cards away from gender roles.

  18. Rita S Lyons says:

    Wow! I have just learned more about the court cards than from any of my tarot resource books or classes. Thank you for this amazing and clear video, with a touch of humor (which makes me remember things easier). I think I just found my tarot mentor.

  19. meia noite says:

    can you do one on the hermetic deck

  20. Chris Lassiter says:

    Fantastic videos. Youve taught me more than a couple weeks of obsessive studying of books of all points of view. Thank you!

  21. vapid rabbit says:

    i got scapini cards… they look awesome, but they don't really correspond to the typical waight rider version… for example, 2 of swords is two knights holding an apple together, and the description is that it means friendship, companionship etc…. what should i do? should i always refer to the manual, or should i just go by what i think it might mean?

  22. Lu No says:

    Thank you for your time and knowledge and for sharing it with us. You explanations are clear, thorough, and practical. Sweet voice too. You sure are a light worker. Thank you.

  23. Chelly Wood says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this video, and I even took notes. I've been reading intuitively for friends/family for years, and have been considering going more public with my readings. So I'm trying to learn the traditional interpretations of the cards by carrying a card in my pocket each day. I'd love it if you'd do a series of videos explaining the traditional meanings of each card.

  24. Reinu says:

    Thanks so much!!!

  25. Saveurital says:

    I really agree with you concerning sex, gender and coloring of skin and hair! I'm glad there is someone sane!

  26. Lil' Horn says:

    Thank you, very good presentation!

  27. Captain Nolan says:

    How can you tell if someone on a card is straight by just looking at the picture?

  28. tsubaith says:

    i really appreciate you addressing different sex and gender in tarot 🙂

  29. Ado Centyn says:

    Arthur Waite was a character.  The tarot is bigger than human attributes.  The great alchemical hermaphrodite is evidence of that.  Thoughtful words, good voice and a well thought out vid.

  30. Katie Thompson says:

    You are a FANTASTIC teacher!!!!

  31. charyinvic says:

    Thanks, I have always had problems with this theme!

  32. Tom Benfell says:

    You lost me at cis gender

    It’s man or woman. Learn it. It’s literally the way we are made. It’s down to every single cell in your body and not what you ‘feel’ in your head. Know the difference. If you think you’re a woman and you have a penis, seek mental help to accept that you’re a Man.

  33. L. Bug says:

    this is so informative and I love your positive cheery voice and attitude! thank you for these videos!

  34. Cheryl Lees says:

    Georgina just on the off chance that you may answer this one: I'm doing a Celtic Cross for my mum and she's asking about her financial position in the future and the first 2 cards (heart of issue and crossing) are the King of Cups (Heart) and the Knight of Cups (Crossing) – she is definitely the King as she is the glue of our family and very caring/supportive but how would I interpret these 2 cards when she's asking about finances? Would I apply them to finances (ie. the Knight is a financial opportunity coming, etc) or as they are supposed to be interpreted – ie. purely as cups cards? Would I assume the Knight of Cups could be a new romance even though she is married and is asking about finances? Sorry for the long message and no problems if you can't answer… I'm a relatively new student 🙂 Thank you in advance xx

  35. Larry Turner says:

    love tarot cards

  36. Léa Solex says:

    Thanks for existing 🤗

  37. Selina Boyd says:

    🤓☻🙏👌

  38. Butterfly Magic with Hot Tea says:

    This presentation is lovely.

  39. Matilda Clementine says:

    Thanks again!!

  40. Chaira Cabrera says:

    i love it

  41. Aim to Praise Today says:

    Commenting prior to the conclusion of this video.
    When does your book come out, 'cause I'll be first in line. Natural-born teacher are you. Thank you most kindly for offering your expertise to all so graciously. Thank you for unblocking the last Tarot hurdle, the court cards. I greatly enjoyed your enthusiasm, highly engaging tone, and measured speech. Subscribed and will check all your other stuff. Miss, if you're not a teacher please consider it. This was a veritable treat that I will watch again. Extremely well done.

  42. shawn lamar daniels says:

    Wow, this is amazing

  43. VENUS ASTRIA says:

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge, best teacher ever !!! : )

  44. VENUS ASTRIA says:

    Could you please explain the meaning in the images ? like lizards , dogs etc ? thanks

  45. loanz doctor says:

    just Awsome!Thanks..

  46. Kevin Sochia says:

    "As if everybody were cisgendered and everybody were straight" SUBSCRIBED

  47. Kevin Sochia says:

    Also this the best explanation of court cards I've ever heard. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  48. MissGoddess UniverseYan says:

    Ty. New subbie

  49. Two of Pentacles says:

    Georgina, you are such a good teacher. With a fantastic voice and narrative ! I am learning yaya!!!!

  50. Kimaya Fields says:

    So helpful,

  51. MarSsiah888 says:

    Thank you! Great video ♡

  52. Shanna Riley says:

    I've been going thru Tarot tips and videos for a while now but none really clicked for me until I found your channel and I must say I truly love and appreciate your lessons. Thank you so much for putting all of this together to help others. I'm just getting back into reading after many, many years away and I'm wanting to refresh what I know and go further in my studies than I did in my younger years and I'm getting that, and more, from your videos. Many bright blessings (also, I agree with the others here – you have a wonderful teaching style and most lovely voice!).

  53. Merlot Time says:

    Dang you are the best tarot teacher ever! Thank you! I’m subbing.

  54. AtlanticRaven says:

    This video was so helpful! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge of the tarot.

  55. Gloria says:

    Thank you so much I have never looked at the court cards in this way but it makes total sense and is much easier to understand and read than the old way. Brilliant!

  56. Gloria says:

    Can we get a transcript of this video?  Thank you.

  57. N Sin says:

    Being a beginner reader this was very helpful. You explained this very well and in great detail. New subbie tfs✌😊💚

  58. max2020able says:

    Hi Miss G would i take the signifier card and put it aside or would just look for it if it appears in the reading. Thank you

  59. Tarlok SB Singh says:

    This was really good

  60. Richard Goff says:

    This is so helpful. I had problems differentiating the differences between them all. Thank you!

  61. Shawnie Race Tarot says:

    You are awesome

  62. Q P says:

    I love her clear voice and well-structured video. It's very helpful for beginners also. thanks!

  63. April Anonymous says:

    I know this video is old but I just watched it. Bravo! I finally understand those pesky court cards. I saved thwm for last, but still nothing really clicked until watching this. Your lessons are very informative and I really appreciate what you do. I'm skipping around your videos and find each one I watch very helpful. Thank you again.

  64. Sissy Awakened says:

    I'll stick with the old traditional archetypes. Otherwise, teach on.

  65. Noemi Perez says:

    I have struggled with the court cards for over a year . This was the best explanation that I've come across that I can connect with immediately. Thank you so much!

  66. Nightwolf1972 says:

    Really love your videos, so helpful and well versed. I have a question if you don't mind, the four wands court cards you show in the beginning, all the members have the fiery salamander present in the picture except the Queen, she has a black cat. The King has his trusty salamander at his feet, the Knight and Page wear the salamander image on their clothing…but not one hint of it on the Queen card, she has her black cat. Do you know why this is?

  67. Katelyn N. says:

    You spoke quite clearly and at a speed not too fast or too slow.
    I found it very helpful while learning!
    Thank you for sharing! <3

  68. siiiri ously says:

    so great, that you interpret the card in a contemporary, inclusive way! LGBT community member being tremendously grateful! <3

  69. 3 minutos says:

    late at night and i am doing? watching this.i really want to learn tarot i cant wait to my first tarot deck that bought arrive

  70. Mary Hill says:

    I've just started — finally!!! — to revisit your Lenormand videos to learn! And regarding the Tarot, you're totally right regarding gender and ethnicity. That's why I always tried to capture the personality of each card. But you do it better! But I have 2 questions: in your opinion, who could represent a teacher best? A king of swords or a knight of swords? And what about a widower? Also the queen of swords? Ok, ok… a 3rd question 😉: who could represent a divorcee and also someone who chooses to remain single? THANKS!!!

  71. Mary Hill says:

    Ok, sorry about this! One more question: is a sigificator card really necessary? I never use them, in case that particular card is needed for another position. What do you think, and again, THANKS!!!

  72. New Day Metaphysical says:

    Georgina, what do you do if you are wrong during a reading? What if the querent says you're way off? This is what I'm terrified of!

  73. Ganga Sharma says:

    Georgina: What if, we don't choose a Significator Card? How does it impact the Reading? Ganga

  74. Rooibos says:

    subscribed immediately after your woke intro! queen

  75. Kristina Michelle says:

    Excellent information! Thank you! Gave me a whole new perspective! 💜✨🔮🙏

  76. ThE_sKeLetOnS cOffiN says:

    Great explanation of the court cards! Thank you for this video

  77. Like IDK Whatever says:

    I got some really good information out of your videos. They are informative, easy to understand, and make learning tarot non-intimidating. And the whole set up and production of the videos is nice too – stable camera, clear visuals. And thank you for listing which decks you use in the description of the videos (by the way, you should create an Amazon Affiliate account and add the links to each video for the different decks, you could make a little extra money that way).

  78. Summer Breeze says:

    Lovely clear precise video and so quirky with presentations like the Sword suit Love it.!
    Georgina , I do relationship spreads, and clients more often are not interested in validations on themselves, but want to know about the significant other in detail. Do you have a vid. which focusses and gives this kinda info?

  79. BeingHonest says:

    cis gender???

  80. Georgina Toland says:

    People who start fights here over gender roles will be cussed out and tossed out. I am in no mood to entertain caveman thinking. The world is evolving. Too bad some folks insist on dragging us backwards.

  81. Jessica says:

    Of all the court card videos out there… this is the most concise, helpful, straightforward and simple, wow! Thank you!!!

  82. Gary Kline says:

    this is the most professional, well made, and educational tarot video ive ever seen. thank you sooo much for what you do, i drew heirophant today for CotD and now i know it was you i drew.

  83. Janice Foehner says:

    At 5:30 the page of cups is the "youthful early learning phase" in arts and etc in preparation to advance to "rockstar" … So my question is which energy would rockstar vocation be? ie is a 'rockstar" knight, queen or king energy? Thanks

  84. cheesesmiles says:

    The way you explained the cards was very easy to understand and I love how you gave examples in real life situations and what type of person each suit is! SUPER HELPFUL!

  85. Perfecto Ali Salaam El says:

    Exxxxxxxxcellent. This was my 4th "court card" YouTube search, the best.

  86. Amen Hush says:

    I use Hermann Haindl tarot cards which doesn't have king, queen, Knight and page. But rather has Father, Mother, Son and Daughter. And it has totally différent meaning

  87. Someone New says:

    You're wonderful…I would love for you to mentor me in my tarot business…

  88. Randomly Create says:

    Thank you!

  89. DarkSideOfTheMoon says:

    5:28 to 5:34 hey! Don't involve ME. I'm just learning….

    Literally talking about me

  90. S S says:

    The magic is in YOU! 🤘

  91. The Crystal Courses says:

    Very helpful video, thank you <3

  92. GLFab says:

    You are an awesome teacher! Thank you. I have a question. I respectfully ask: What about associating the court cards with astrological signs? Example: I am a mature Leo (woman), so could the Queen of Wands represent me?

  93. SilverScreenJean says:

    Love your courses! You are such a brilliant teacher 🙂 Will you be continuing with the classes for the Rider Waite Deck? There seems to be some courses missing?

  94. Ophelia S says:

    This is freaking amazing!! I'm just learning tarot and this makes everything seem not so scary and overwhelming. Question. When you're choosing an avatar, is that for a reading where the person isn't present (i.e. online)?

  95. Amani Bass says:

    You are an excellent teacher. You must have strong Saturn or Capricorn influence.

  96. Just Me says:

    Yeah this is why I love abstract decks like Voyager tarot. Not race or cultural dependant.

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