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Tarot - 10 Minor Arcana - 00 The Court Cards introduction



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

The culmination of the spiritual path ends with the Aces.  Whilst one is partaking of the spiritual path one is known as a Prince or Princess, and once one has succeeded or reached a level beyond which you are unable to go but which still has some measure of success attached to it, you are a Queen or King.  The female members of society become Queens, and the male members become the Kings.    

The Knights are the ones who embark on the Hero’s journey, and they can be male or female these days, although the Tarot depicts them as male.  In some decks, a female equivalent to the Knight is provided known as a Page or ‘Lady in Waiting’. 

All these are mundane roles- earthly roles and from there one uses the spiritual power and connections one has made to tackle relevant projects in the Great Work.  The Major Arcana roles and the people [or spirit helpers] in them still help with the projects chosen, but the objective of most of the Major Arcana people is to make new Adepts from Initiates.

There are links here too with Chess.  The Pawns are Initiates and the equivalent symbolically to the Prince and Princess, the game of chess is the Great Work with its two great opposing ‘sides’ driving the change and each pawn undergoes their own spiritual path, being moved around the board helped by the Queen, the Knight, the Bishop [hierophant], and the Castle.

Just like Chess, Queens are intended to be powerful.  Unlike the Kings who remain largely stationary and exert their power from a distance, the Queen is active in her execution of the power and responsibility vested in her.  In Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through the Looking Glass, for example, which is all about chess, both Queens [Adepts] help Alice [Initiate].  Both Red and White Queens in this case provided support and acted together.  The Knights are much the same – defending, supporting and guiding Initiates.

Thus the King may stay in his castle or palace issuing orders and directing operations from there.  The Queen on the other hand has to drive the change required.  Contrary to what one might expect, the success of any project of the Great Work is dependent on the feminine driving the change along.

Note that in this symbolic system there may be millions and millions of ‘Queens’ and ‘Kings’ executing parts of the overall Great Work.

A E Waite

IN respect of their usual presentation, the bridge between the Greater and Lesser Arcana is supplied by the court cards--King, Queen, Knight and Squire or Page; but their utter distinction from the Trumps Major is shewn by their conventional character. Let the reader compare them with symbols like the Fool, the High Priestess, the Hierophant, or--almost without exception--with any in the previous sequence, and he will discern my meaning. There is no especial idea connected on the surface with the ordinary court cards; they are a bridge……………..

Which is not to reduce their value to the overall plan, but it means that if there are any symbols in the card, it is not deliberate, they are as they are, a representation of their roles.

A E Waite

We seem to have passed away utterly from the region of higher meanings illustrated by living pictures……………., such devices were sporadic inventions of particular artists and were either conventional designs of the typical or allegorical kind, distinct from what is understood by symbolism, or they were illustrations--shall we say?--of manners, customs and periods. They were, in a word, adornments, and as such they did nothing to raise the significance of the Lesser Arcana to the plane of the Trumps Major; moreover, such variations are exceedingly few..............

For this reason, other than indicate the card is a Queen or King etc there are no references to symbols.  But the suit is intended to indicate the type of Queen or King, Knight or similar one might be encountering.  Is the person down to earth [Disks], or have they a rapier like tongue or wit [swords]?

Remember that these are all archetypes.

Of great importance is the correspondence that exists between these human figures and the Intelligences whose symbol is the Planets.  We have now, by going into the Inward court, become Courtiers - hence the Court cards


The source of the experience

Tarot, the

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps