Using the Court Card Map

Reading the tarot Court Cards (the Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings of each suit) is one of the most confusing and frustrating aspects of learning the cards.

But it doesn’t have to be so hard!

With a little bit of common sense (and this handy tool called the Court Card Map), you can read the tarot Court Cards confidently and with ease.

I’m going to cover how to use this Court Card Map, but first you’ll need to download and print your own copy. Just enter your name and email below, and the Court Card Map will be delivered immediately to your inbox (it’s totally free):

The Court Card Map from Learn Tarot With Me will help you learn how to read the tarot court cards easily!

Okay, now that you have that printed, you should notice that it’s 5 pages of tarot goodness. Ignore the first page for now – this is where we’ll record the answers we come up with on the last 4 pages.

Those last four pages are our brainstorming area. Let’s start with the Cups, but before we do…

Remember: This is fluid

Your life isn’t static and neither is your Court Card Map. People come into your life all the time and your relationships change. Someone may be your Prince-Charming Knight of Cups today, and he might become your good-husband-and-father King of Pentacles in a few years. Or, he becomes an evil-ex and is now your gossipy, spying Page of Swords. Ugh. People change.

So, the work we’re doing today will change. You will have to update this Court Card Map every once and awhile. There is no right or wrong answer when you fill it out. Just give it a start and the rest will become clear with time.

Step One: Your People

Before we even touch the Court Card Map, it will be helpful if you get out your journal or some scratch paper and list out the important people in your life with a few notes about their major characteristics.

Some relationships to consider include your parents, caregivers, siblings, extended family, lovers, crushes, friends, frenemies, enemies, co-workers, clients, bosses, mentors, teachers, ex-anythings, children, and in-laws. The Court Cards will be people who have a direct influence over your own life, so public figures, politicians, and famous people will not be on this list (unless you actually know them in real life).

After listing the people, make a note about each person’s major qualities. Are they loyal? Creative? Argumentative? Grumpy? Athletic? Lusty? Just note whatever comes to mind and we’ll start matching them up to the cards next.

Learn the Wands Court Cards tarot card meanings from Learn Tarot With Me and get a free tarot printable journaling page and tarot cheat sheet.Learn The Sun tarot card meanings from Learn Tarot With Me and get a free tarot printable journaling page and tarot cheat sheet.
These tarot cards are from the Llewellyn’s Classic Tarot by Barbara Moore and Eugene Smith © 2014 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. 2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125. All rights reserved, used by permission.

Step Two: The Four “Groups” of the Cards

The Court Cards are organized into the four suits of the tarot: the Cups, the Pentacles, the Swords, and the Wands. In general, the suits are associated with the following “aspects” of human behavior:

  • The Cups: The emotions
  • The Pentacles: The body & the physical world
  • The Swords: The intellect
  • The Wands: Creative power and energy

Using fancy colored markers or index cards or a new list, divide “your people” into those four categories. Some will be easy to place and others will be difficult. That’s okay.

Just go with your gut and divide your people into the 5 categories, one for each suit with an “unknown” pile for the tough ones.

Remember: No one is 100% anything

Obviously, humans are emotional AND physical AND intellectual AND creative. No one person is only one thing. But some people have tendencies and that’s what we’re looking for here. Just go with what feels right.

And go with YOUR own gut. Your bookish and academic uncle is extremely sentimental and cries at every family gathering? He might consider himself to be a Sword (intellectual) but you think he’s more of a Cups (emotional). Go with what feels right to YOU.

Step Three: The Easy Fits

Now we’re going to start matching up the people in your life with the cards. There are going to be some easy fits – but most of the people will be a bit more challenging. That’s okay, let’s just do the easy ones first.

Using the last 4 pages of the Court Card Map, start fitting your people with the places where they seem to fit. Remember: there’s not right or wrong way to do this!

The Court Card Map has a few hints about each of the cards printed right on it, but if you want more details, here are the detailed descriptions for the Court Cards:

Learn the Wands Court Cards tarot card meanings from Learn Tarot With Me and get a free tarot printable journaling page and tarot cheat sheet.Learn The Sun tarot card meanings from Learn Tarot With Me and get a free tarot printable journaling page and tarot cheat sheet.
The tarot cards shown are from The Wild Unknown Tarot Deck, used with permission. This deck uses Daughter-Son-Mother-Father (instead of Page-Knight-Queen-King) for the Court Cards.

Remember: Sex doesn’t matter

Well, obviously, if you’re not getting as much (or the kind) that you want, sex does matter. But when it comes to the Court Cards, sex has nothing to do with anything.

The biological sex of the real people in your life doesn’t need to match the traditional sex of the card. In other words, the Kings don’t need to be male and the Queens don’t need to be female.

This means that ANY of the cards might relate to ANYONE in your life. This is actually quite freeing and it opens up lots of possibilities for matching people to cards.

Step Four: The Hard Ones

Once you have the “easy” ones matched up, you will still have people and cards left over. There are a few things to remember…

  1. You may have multiple people who match to a single card. This is okay. During a tarot reading, you’ll just be able to choose which person seems to make the most sense for the situation and question asked.
  2. You will have some cards where nobody matches. This is okay, too. If you come across one of these cards during a tarot reading, you’ll know the card doesn’t match a person in your life, so you can then read the card as a role you need to play, advice you need to take, or as a message.
  3. Some people seem to fit multiple cards. If you can, choose the one that seems to fit the best, but make a note that they have other characteristics. Remember, this is all fluid! People change and they may match different cards at different stages of your relationship to them.

There’s no right or wrong answer! Just do the best you can to match your people to the cards and leave spots blank if there is no one who matches the card.

Step Five: Putting it all together

Once you have those 4 brainstorming pages covered in notes and ideas of how to match the people in your life to the cards, you can come back to the first page of the Court Card Map to make it all pretty.

Write the names of each person that you’ve matched up in the correct box, relating to “their” card. You can color-code this section or use symbols or markings to show strong relationships and weaker or duplicate relationships.

Remember, some spots will be blank (no people match the card) and some spots will have multiple names (multiple people match the card) and some names will be on multiple spots (some people match multiple cards).

Once you’ve got the Court Card Map complete, you can laminate it or add it to your tarot journal.

This first page of the Court Card Map becomes your cheat sheet as you read the court cards during a tarot reading. It’s a super handy tool for making the court cards simple and easy to relate to the actual people in your life!

Your Free Court Card Map

If you haven’t already downloaded your own copy of the Court Card Map, just enter your email below and it will be delivered automagically to your inbox:

The Best Tarot Resources for Summer 2017

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

The Princess Bride Deck of Cards
Um, yes, I think The Princess Bride is the best movie of all time. And yes, that is a Princess Bride deck of cards I TOTALLY use as a tarot deck. It even has swords & wands printed on them! No pentacles or cups, though, so you have to get creative. But isn’t it AWESOME????

I’ve been gathering up my favorite best tarot resources, books, decks, and tools to share with you. Of course that deck had to be number one! In no particular order, here are the rest of the most-used, favorite, or just-plain-best tarot resources in my toolkit right now…

The Creative Tarot by Jess Crispin, one of the best tarot resourcesThe Modern Tarot by Michelle Tea, one of the best tarot resources

The Creative Tarot by Jessa Crispin was one of the first tarot books I found that feels modern. It’s not terribly woo-woo, it’s inclusive, and it deals with real problems. Recommended for beginners & experienced practitioners who want a different way of looking at the cards.

Another “modern tarot book” I just discovered and quickly fell in love with is Modern Tarot by Michelle Tea. She’s a very creative storyteller and writes descriptions of the cards you really remember. Like Jessa Crispin’s book, Michelle writes in a way that is inclusive without the woo-woo wishy-washy descriptions found in many other tarot books. Recommended for tarot beginners who want to get away from the boring “little white book” and actually tie the meanings of the cards to their own life.

Holistic Tarot by Benebell Wen, one of the best tarot resources

The only tarot book I turn to over & over again is Holistic Tarot by Benebell Wen, which is focused on using tarot for personal development. Her blog at www.BenebellWen.com is also one of the few tarot blogs I obsessively read. She’s a brilliant thinker with a wide range of metaphysical interests that she weaves into her personal and professional lives. Recommended for anyone who uses tarot for personal self-development and thinks the idea of fortune-telling or divination of the future through the cards is just plain wacky. (If you use tarot for fortune-telling or divination, that’s totally cool. I just don’t use the cards that way, so I don’t have any resources to recommend.)

The Morgan Greer Tarot Deck, one of the best tarot resourcesThe tarot deck I use for teaching is the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck from U.S. Games. Although I don’t really like the style of the artwork, this deck has the clearest images with symbols & stories that are the easiest to read. This is the deck I recommend if you are just starting to learn tarot. You don’t have to fall in love with it – it’s just a tool to help you learn, then you can move on to the prettier decks.

Like this one! This is my favorite tarot deck and the one I use every day. The Morgan-Greer Tarot Deck is totally my jam. I LOVE this deck, but it’s not for everyone – it vibes very 1970’s with lots of macho pornstaches and colorful exuberance. Before you buy, check out some of the images of the Morgan-Greer Tarot Deck to make sure it’s to your liking.

And that’s it! I hope you found at least one helpful new resource to make your tarot journey a little easier or a little more fun.

Learning Tarot if You Don’t Have Time or Money

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Learning how to read tarot cards doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time. Truly! While some free tarot resources are useless, there are definitely ways to learn tarot that are inexpensive and will lead you to your goals.

Learning tarot is similar to learning a foreign language. There are many ways to approach the challenge and not every way will work for you. It depends on your experience, situation, purpose and end goal.

If you want to read the French version of the Harry Potter books, your approach will be totally different than if you want to talk about your favorite books while traveling through France.

Each choice will point you on a different path. But no matter what route you choose, if you throw everything and never give up, you’ll reach your goal. Guaranteed.

In an effort to “throw everything at it” for every individual circumstance, here are my favorite resources for when you don’t have much time, money, or energy.

If you have lots of time but no money…

  • Draw one card a day and record the card in your tarot journal. It doesn’t need to be fancy – a cheap notebook is totally fine. If you need help with the meanings, bookmark this page on the LTWM website or use an inexpensive “tarot card meaning” book. This one is my absolute favorite (affiliate link) – it’s more workbook-like and creative than most tarot learning books, and I’m constantly referring to it.
  • Record everything you are learning in your tarot journal and refer to it often. Even if you had a million zillion dollars, your personal tarot journal will always be your best resource for learning and remembering the cards.
  • Sign up for the free tarot e-course with my 10 Tips for Learning Tarot. Wait until Lesson #4 (where there is a sweet discount code for 20% off) and then get an undated tarot planner or tarot journals to help with your daily practice.
  • Be brave and read tarot for others. Yes, it’s scary, but they will give you invaluable feedback about the accuracy of your readings and will probably be eager to help.

You don’t need a lot of money to learn the tarot, only time and dedication. Don’t let your budget hold you back!

If you have more money than time…

  • Find a tarot reader you connect with and pay them to read for you regularly. You’ll gain insight into yourself, your life, and the tarot through their readings. You can study their readings and interpretations to see if they are in line with your own experiences. Don’t forget to record this all in your tarot journal!
  • Take an online (or in person) tarot course, where all the learning is condensed in one place. I highly recommend the Alternative Tarot Course from Little Red Tarot. Beth takes a tarot journal-based approach to learning the cards and you can do the course at your own pace. A little bit each day really adds up!
  • A tarot journal is still your best resource for learning, but don’t wait until you have the time to use one “perfectly.” Start with a daily draw and just write a few words instead of a full journal entry. When you are really strapped for time, use your memory and intuition instead of writing things down.

If you don’t have either money or time…

  • Acknowledge your tarot journey will be slow. This isn’t a race – it’s a lifetime of learning. If you study one card every four days, you’ll still master them all over the course of a year!
  • Put a deck by your coffeepot or toothbrush. Draw one card a day and meditate on it while you brew or brush.
  • Carry a deck with you (or a create your own tarot flashcard deck) and rubber-band it to your phone. When you’re waiting in line, browse through the cards instead of Facebook.

No matter your circumstances, there are always creative ways to work towards your goals and desires. Tarot is a life-long journey – the only way you fail is if you give up.

Sign up here for the free e-course with 10 Tips for Learning Tarot, which is helpful no matter your budget, situation, or goals. (This is also where you’ll get the 20% off discount code for everything in the Tarot Shop – the discount code will come in Tip #4).

My #1 Tip for Learning Tarot with Joy and Ease

When I began learning tarot, I struggled with learning the meanings of the cards. It was overwhelming and confusing and there was no clear guide.

It seemed like the secret of the tarot lived in those meanings. I thought If I could just remember them all, then I’d know tarot and could read with confidence.

But tarot doesn’t work that way. Although learning the meanings of the cards is necessary, it’s not what makes tarot important. They are just little pieces of cardboard, after all.

The true lessons of the tarot live beyond the meanings.

Tarot is a way to get to know ourselves and others deeper. Tarot helps us learn and trust our intuition. And tarot is a creative outlet that is “just for us” – even if we read for others.

These “benefits” of learning tarot come to us all, but they are not the reasons we first turn to the cards.

We all turn to tarot for different reasons. We each have our own WHY.

Some people want to learn tarot to impress their friends. Others learn tarot as a way to get closer to the dark, shadow side of their soul. Others read for money, some read for love, and even more read for truth.

No matter what your reason, your WHY is 100% acceptable and 100% correct.

This is the first of the tarot lessons I’ve learned: know your own WHY.

For me, I started learning for the silliest and most selfish of reasons – I wanted to get closer to (and impress) a man I was dating.

All WHYs are okay, even weak and ridiculous ones like mine.

That weak WHY brought me here today, where I use tarot every day to connect with my intuition, learn and accept the honest and unpleasant truths about myself, and connect with others through Learn Tarot With Me. The man is long gone, but the lessons have remained.

It has been life changing, and I want to share that experience with you.

Learning (and fully accepting) your own WHY is Most Important Lesson Number One.

Learning the meanings of the cards is just the start of the journey, though. Tarot is a life-long quest, and Learn Tarot With Me is your guide and community as you travel your own path.

If you’d like to receive a free e-course with everything I’ve learned on how to make learning tarot as easy as possible, just enter your email below. You’ll receive the 10 Tips for Learning Tarot e-course by email, totally for free.

This e-course includes the best ways to finally master all of the tarot cards and feel confident every time you pick up your deck, so sign up today!

Practice How to Read Tarot Cards with Me

Reading tarot for other people is strange, especially as a beginner. There can be so much pressure to get everything right, but you barely remember the individual meanings of the cards.

The solution is just to get some practice. Lots and lots of practice. So get out your deck and join me!

Practice Reading Tarot Cards With Me

Let’s pretend…you’re waiting in an endless line at the DMV to renew your driver’s license. As you wait, you pull out your tarot deck and start reviewing the cards.

The older woman sitting next to you notices and asks if you will read for her. Here’s her question…

My oldest son and his wife want me to move in with them in Cleveland. My younger son wants me to move closer to him, in Florida. How do I decide?

Here’s the cards, as they are laid out:

What Tarot Spread Do You Use?

For this reading, I’m using a spread with this interpretation:

  • Card 1 – Option #1
  • Card 2 – Option #2
  • Card 3 – What you need to know to decide

It’s easy to get into a rut with your readings, especially when you find a spread you’re really comfortable with. If you’re looking to shake things up a bit, here’s a big list of 3-card tarot spreads to inspire you.

What Do You See?

I see a mix of cards, with nothing from the Major Arcana. None of the people on the cards are looking at the viewer – there is one who is blindfolded, and two who are looking away.

What Do You Feel?

I feel a mix of energy and a bit unsettled. The card in the center (the Six of Wands) feels like the strongest card to me, whatever that means.

Putting It All Together

Here’s what I would tell my friend at the DMV…

The Two of Swords represents the option of living with your son in Cleveland, the the Six of Wands represents moving to Florida.

From the Two of Swords, it seems as if you don’t want to live in Cleveland, although you see the benefits. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so you haven’t spoken the truth about your feelings.

From the Six of Wands, it seems as if moving to Florida is slightly more appealing to you and you have a lot more support there.

However, the Four of Cups card is giving some information on how you should make this decision. And it seems as if you have an option you haven’t seen or considered yet. You’ve been so focused on what other people want for you that you have been blind to the other opportunities that are being offered to you. Spend some time thinking about what you really want before you make this decision.

What do you think of this interpretation? How would you have read the cards differently?

Practice How to Read Tarot Cards for Me

Reading tarot for someone else is scary, especially when you are still struggling to remember all of the meanings for the cards. It’s great to practice in a safe setting. So get out your tarot deck and practice along with me…

Practice Reading Tarot Cards With Me

Let’s pretend…one of your favorite local nonprofits is hosting their annual fundraiser with a 1000 Nights theme, and you agreed to volunteer at the party.

After mingling with the guests, you set up in a little private nook and your first visitor is a man who asks you this question…

I started working at this company five months ago, and I was just promoted to supervise seven guys who have been there for years. I’m getting some push-back from them and I want to know what I should do so that they will accept me. What actions should I take?

Here’s the cards, as they are laid out:

What Tarot Spread Do You Use?

For this reading, I used this 3-card spread:

  • Card 1 – What you think about a situation
  • Card 2 – What you feel about it
  • Card 3 – What you need to do about it

Feel free to use whatever 3-card spread you feel most comfortable with. If you’re looking for ideas, here’s a list of 3-card tarot spreads to inspire you.

What Do You See?

I see three men, two of them looking towards the left (the past?) and one looking towards the right (the future?). There are no Major Arcana cards, but there is one court card.

Also, I see a lot of plant life on these cards.

What Do You Feel?

Solid, stable masculine energy. These cards feel grounded and secure.

Putting It All Together

Here’s what I would tell the man at the party…

From these cards, I get the sense that you’ve put in your time – maybe not at this company, but in previous positions. You should be reaping your harvest, not spending all of your time pulling out weeds.

You’re feeling a little unsettled, almost like you need to watch your back. However, that’s not truly the case here.

Your new reports will take time to adjust to their new situation, but ultimately they will respect you if you act with respect towards them. This will take time, so be patient.

Use this card – the King of Pentacles – as your model, and go to him for advice when you need it. He’s a mentor or stable authority figure who will have the guidance you need.

What do you think? How would you have read these cards?

Learn the Tarot Card Meanings

Bookmark this page as a handy reference for each of the tarot card meanings.

The Major Arcana Tarot Card Meanings

My Tarot Manifesto

Ever since watching Hackers (one of my top 3 favorite movies), I’ve wanted to have a manifesto of my very own.

So here is my Tarot Manifesto. It’s my personal philosophy for learning and teaching tarot.

If you want to know how I approach Learn Tarot With Me (LTWM), here are the rules that I live by and how they apply to LTWM:

  1. There is no right way or wrong way to learn. There is only YOUR way.

    LTWM has resources for every price range and every level of experience.
  2. There is no right or wrong reason to learn. All WHYS are valid.

    LTWM is inclusive and nonjudgmental.
  3. Everything that works is valuable. Throw everything at the problem until it is solved.

    LTWM includes unusual (and controversial) resources, even if they are not “popular” or “the right way to learn.”
  4. Try, try, try again. Fail fast and often. Learn from each failure to propel the next attempt.

    LTWM is supportive but realistic. This is going to be hard sometimes, but that’s normal and okay. Learning anything new puts us in the mud. It’s our job to enjoy getting dirty while we try to get clean.
  5. Persistence beats Resistance. Daily action is far more important than talent, intelligence, or ability.

    LTWM will be here for you today and tomorrow. I can show you the path, but it’s your job to walk it.
  6. You can’t accomplish anything alone. One plus one equals the strength of ten.

    LTWM is a community, not one person. Your knowledge & experience is every bit as important as mine. We help each other and bless our differences. They are what make us strong.