Interpreting Court Cards in a Tarot Reading [+Free Guided Reference Worksheet!]

Tarot, Tarot Study, Worksheets

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The Elemental Royalties of Tarot: Recap & Overview

In Crash Course on Court Cards, I talked about how you can interpret court cards and understand them by personifying them into lively characters that are driven by their cultural background, elemental worldviews and personal motivations. The court cards are the royal members of the elemental kingdom, each with specific agendas and tendencies depending on their role (Page, Knight, Queen or King) and their elemental affiliation (Fire, Air, Earth or Water Kingdom). For example, Knight of Cups (Water Kingdom) cares more about the pursuit of happiness and emotional gratification, unlike Knight of Swords (Air Kingdom) which cares more about the pursuit of intellect, ideas, politics and justice. Using this storytelling framework of creative characterization, it is easier to understand what each court card represents and what they mean.

In addition, court cards represent personas and perceived roles in a social dynamic, and are nearly always interpreted in relation to something or someone else. You can be a parent with five kids or a wise 75-year-old, you can still embody the spirit and persona of a Page when you are placed in the role of a Page.  For example, maybe you’ve decided to take some piano lessons out of the blue. No matter how old you are, you are embodying the role of a student, placed in the care and knowledge of a teacher. In this relationship, you may embody the Page of Pentacles because you are developing a skill through practice, and your piano teacher may embody Queen of Wands, somebody who is nurturing you through her passion and excitement for music. however, once you are outside of the musical classroom, you may pose as the Queen of Cups to your children, or Knight of Swords to your colleagues. Depending on the situation, court cards speak to social relationships and how you are positioned in relation to others. 

So the next question is: okay, now we understand the individual personalities, tendencies and worldviews of each elemental royalty–how do we interpret them in a reading? How do we engage with them in a spread with the various spread positions? What do we do when they show up and start an awkward staring contest with us!?

Interpreting Court Cards in a Tarot Reading

Interpreting court cards can be very anal–I mean uh, difficult. They certainly require us to really shift gears so we can wrap our heads around them. Even though they may be difficult to read sometimes, the royalties of the Tarot Realm are all very eager to extend their wisdom and personalities to us humans who are seeking answers from them!

So fear not, because there is a way to talk to court cards. Let’s start by looking at the various spread positions and questionings in a tarot spread. You may ask–there are so many different types of questions–where do we even start? Don’t worry. I have conveniently grouped them into three main categories for the sake of easy discussion. The three types of spread positions or questions are:

  1. Descriptive
  2. Personifying
  3. Guidance/Advice

Descriptive positions are questions that paint a picture or describe a “scene”. For example:

  • What is the situation right now?
  • What are the challenges/conflicts/problems that you are experiencing?
  • What is the past/present/future?
  • What is the outcome of your efforts?

These questions all have one thing in common: they are asking you to describe occurrences, circumstances and events. Depending on your personal approach to tarot, this can translate to different things. For example, if you subscribe to a more psychological perspective of tarot and you receive 3 of Pentacles in a descriptive position, the “scene” that you describe may be “a situation that requires you to cooperate with your teammates and contribute to the community.” If you take a more psychic and fortunetelling approach, the “scene” may be “becoming accepted by the organization of your dreams and receiving a decent amount of compensation for your participation”. Either way, regardless how you interpret the cards based on your approach to tarot, you are describing a scene or a happening.

In short, descriptive positions have less to do with who you are as a person or how you should solve a problem. They’re positions that depict “what’s going on” or “what’s happening”. 

Personifying positions are positions that refer to personality traits, attitudes and beliefs. For example:

  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • What is he like? What kind of person is he? What kind of father will he be?
  • What is a perspective I am missing?
  • What is her philosophy when running and managing a company?
  • What makes her a positive person? What makes her a good teacher?
  • Why is he being a jerk? Why is she insecure about her appearance?

These positions are ideal for court cards because court cards are the personas of tarot, the “people” representing the Tarot Realm. Personality traits, attitudes and beliefs are exactly what they embody. For example, when King of Pentacles Reversed shows up for “What is my weakness?”, you may interpret it as a card warning you to keep your materialism and greed in check. If Page of Cups shows up for “What is the perspective I am missing?” Then you simply have to look into the qualities and worldviews of the Page of Cups to answer that question. Page of Cups is the dreamer, so the perspective you are missing may be a more fluid, imaginative and innocent outlook as opposed to business-oriented, practical and realistic.

Guidance/Advice Positions are, you guessed it, positions that ask the tarot cards for guidance and advice. For example:

  • What is the best approach in this scenario?
  • What do I do? How can I help?
  • How can I release my fears and heal my wounds?
  • What is a message from my spirit guides?
  • What does the Universe want me to know right now?

These positions are usually seeking to problem-solve, to cultivate wisdom and to generate insight. They are not as tricky as the descriptive positions, but they can require some mental adjustment and re-orientation of the brain. In my video Crash Course on Court Cards, I mentioned that you can do some role-playing and pretend to have a conversation with the Elemental Royalties when they decide to grace your reading with their presence. I feel that role-playing works best with guidance/advice positions because you can interpret the court cards by stepping into their shoes and trying to give yourself advice from their perspective.

Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself. More on this later!

How to Interpret Court Cards in Descriptive, Personifying and Guidance/Advice Positions 

Now that you are acquainted with the 3 main categories regarding spread positions, let’s see what you can do when a court card falls into either one of them.

Interpreting Court Cards in Descriptive Positions 

These positions are probably the most problematic when court cards show up. Imagine asking your friend a question: “How was your day?” and your friend replies, “Lady Gaga!” Which will most likely leave you wide-eyed and scratching your head, mouthing a silent WTF? Like did you see Lady Gaga? Were you listening to her music? Did someone dress up like her? WHAT IS IT YOU ARE TRYING TO TELL ME HERE!?

Know that feeling all too well? Hopefully this little section will help you solve your court card woes!

To start, we’ll use “What is the situation?” as a general question to address using the court cards. When you see a court card fall on the position What is the situation? Here is what you have to keep in mind:

  • the court card points to a situation or relationship that requires you to embody the role of that court card, or
  • the court card points to the role or attitude that you currently/already embody in a situation or relationship or
  • the court card points to a person that you are involved with in a situation or relationship which embodies the role of that court card
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Queen of Swords, from Dreaming Way Tarot by Rome Choi (U.S. Games Systems)

What does this mean in practice? For instance, if you draw the Queen of Swords as “What is the situation?”, try plugging her into the question to jumpstart your thought process:

  • What is a situation or relationship that requires me to embody the role of Queen of Swords? E.g. Queen of Swords is eloquent and fearless in her speech. Where in my life right now am I required to convey my passion and my values in an articulate, expressive and assertive way? I am invited to speak at a Ted Talk next month, in which I need to embody all of these qualities that are represented by the Queen of Swords. Now I know this court cards is referring to the Ted Talk opportunity and the role I will play in that talk.
  • Do I already embody the Queen of Swords? How am I currently embodying the Queen of Swords right now? E.g. Queen of Swords is all about personal truths and boundaries. As I go through a divorce with my husband, I am required to communicate my boundaries very clearly and assertively. I am also learning how to connect with my personal truths so that I can voice them and express to others. This is how I am embodying the Queen of Swords right now, so the situation this card is referring to must be my divorce process with my husband.
  • Does Queen of Swords refer to somebody I am involved with right now? E.g. Queen of Swords is very direct with her words and is not afraid to let people know what she thinks. My roommate Julie has been criticizing my decision to reunite with my ex quite ceaselessly in the past week. The light aspects of the Queen of Swords is tough love, so perhaps Julie is speaking out of her concern and care for me as a roommate and a friend. Queen of Swords’ shadow aspects are unwanted judgement and harsh criticisms, so it could also be that she is picking on me on purpose. (To determine which aspect or layer a court card embodies, you can look at if the card is upright or reversed, and you can also look at the other cards that showed up in the spread. And of course, always listen to your intuition.)

By examining and exploring the context that requires you to embody the role of the court card you draw, you should be able to read a court card in a descriptive position, no problem!

Interpreting Court Cards in Personifying Positions 

As mentioned before, this category should be the easiest because court cards are personas and embody human traits and tendencies by default. When you need to interpret court cards that occupy a personifying position, you simply have to tap into the personality traits, perspectives and attitudes that are represented by that specific court card. A good way to tap into the persona of a court card is to include the name of the court card in your answer and create a statement that frames the answer, in a way that will allow you to list the attributes of the court card in response to your question, then continue to expand on the reading. It’ll look something like this:

E.g. She will act like [name of the court card], which means [court card attributes] + more thoughts and explanations
E.g. My strengths are embodied by the [name of court card], which are [court card attributes] + more thoughts and explanations

Let’s take a look at a few of the sample questions, again using the Queen of Swords. Note that in the following examples, the court card “plug-in’s” are underlined so you can see how you can apply it to your own thought process, and the [court card attributes] are wrapped in square brackets.

  • What are my strengths? Answer: Your strengths are the qualities that are embodied by the Queen of Swords, which are [eloquence, clear communication, and precision.]
  • What kind of father will he be? Answer: He will be like the Queen of Swords, [someone who nurtures his children by being fair, logical, and communicative]. He will be very strict with the rules he has in place, especially the ones that he believes to be beneficial for his children. While he cares deeply, he may lack the ability to respond to his children’s emotional needs and their need to be heard and not corrected. 
  • What is a perspective I am missing? Answer: I am missing Queen of Swords’ perspective. QoS [sees things clearly and logically and she never tolerates anything that is unfair or wrong.] Perhaps this is indicating that I need to work on personal boundaries and communicating those boundaries. 
  • What is her philosophy when running and managing a company? Answer: She believes in the same things that the Queen of Swords would believe in. Queen of Swords would believe in [fairness, clear communication, respectful boundaries, and honesty.] When it comes to running and managing a company, she believes in establishing clear boundaries at the workplace to cultivate cooperation and respect. She values responsibility and accountability. She will always provides clear instructions to her employees, and does not shy away from communicating what she wants from the people who work for her. 

Interpreting Court Cards in Guidance/Advice Positions 

Picking up from my enthusiasm earlier–roleplaying works perfectly for this position! Getting advice from a court card can be incredibly fun, insightful and interactive. Of course, if you’re not into the idea of talking to yourself and pretending that you’re embodying different voices, you don’t need to act out an entire scene of dialogue. But I believe the process of going “back and forth” as you approach a court card can be very helpful. When you perceive the tarot reading as an interaction (which in many ways, it is), and it’s not just you the reader trying to stare down at a court card so you can extract wisdom from its poker face–the process gets a bit easier and more fluid because you’re not putting a lot of pressure on yourself to “download” the right answer! It’s more about the talk, the conversation, the “back and forth”.

Start by greeting the court card in question, then ask meaningful questions such as:

  • What message do you have for me?
  • What do you think of my situation?
  • Do you have any comments or feedback on what I did or what I’ve experienced?
  • What would you have done in this scenario?
  • Do you think this is a good idea? Why?

If you are looking for more question prompts, you can find them in the guided reference worksheet!

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Knight of Wands, from Dreaming Way Tarot by Rome Choi (U.S. Games Systems)

Let’s take a look at a few examples. 🙂 This time, let’s have a chat with the Knight of Wands. Queen of Swords is tired of talking (just kidding. She never gets tired of talking. I just thought I would switch up the court card a bit because Queen of Swords has been stealing the show!) Since it’s a role-playing activity, put on your thespian hat, get creative and have a little fun!

The question: What is the best approach in this scenario?

  • Reader: What is the best approach in this scenario? *looks at Knight of Wands* Hey what’s up, man. Well, what do you think?
  • Knight of Wands: Getting straight down to business, are we? I like I like. Okay, so obviously the best approach in this scenario is to act like good old me. *wink*
  • Reader: What does that mean? You mean like–be more experimental and adventurous? Since that’s all you do. Going on adventures and stuff. And what else…don’t fuss and worry so much?
  • Knight of Wands: Yeah! Relax and just go for it, man! Don’t think too much. Don’t think about why. If you want it, you don’t need a why! Just show up and have fun. Just enjoy life. Enjoy the adventure, the action.
  • Reader: So like, YOLO?
  • Knight of Wands: Yes! Say what you want. Do what you want. Sing when you want to. Paint when you want to. Be yourself. Just do whatevs, man. Do what you WANT the most. Than do the second thing you want the most.
  • Reader: Okay, I think I get it. I’ve been too cautious and neurotic about going on this trip with my best buddies. I should just stop worrying and enjoy it as an adventure.
  • Knight of Wands: Yup! Anything else you want to ask me?
  • Reader: Uh…yeah. You got any hot tips on picking up girls?
  • Knight of Wands: *winks* You know I do.

The best part about role-playing is that while you are embodying the voice of Knight of Wands or a court card, you are really having a conversation with yourself. You are checking in to see how you personally understand the Knight of Wands and you can draw on his energies and qualities to benefit your current life. It also activates your sense of play, which helps you approach a tarot reading in a more relaxed, less structured and less stressful way.

To Close and to Recap! 

  • Court cards can be a bit tricky to read because they always need to be considered in relation to something or someone else, unlike the major arcana cards and the numbered cards.
  • There are 3 types of spread positions/questions that you usually get in a tarot spread; the 3 categories are descriptive, personifying, and guidance/advice. 
  • With each position type, you can consider the roles you play in relation to a situation or a person.
  • You can “plug in” court cards and frame your answer statement in a way that will help you establish meaning and extract information based on the circumstances and energies of your reading.
  • You can use creative techniques like roleplaying or storytelling to interact with the court cards using conversation!

The Guided Reference Worksheet

For quick references and examples on the go, please check out the following reference sheet I’ve created for you. ❤

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE GUIDED REFERENCE WORKSHEET

Anyway. Phew! I hope this post has helped you with your tarot practice in some way + clarified some of the questions you may have about approaching court cards in a tarot reading. And by the way, as you go forth with your court card adventures, I just wanted to let you know that it’s completely fine to take some time to arrive at an insight when you’re doing a tarot reading. It doesn’t make you incompetent or incapable. It just means that in that particular moment, you require some time to channel an archetype. And if you’re just learning, it simply means that you are learning how to engage and interact with a court card. So there’s really no reason to stress out when you’re slightly blanking out. ❤

Questions? Comments? Wanna Join My Facebook Group? 🙂 

If you have any other questions or anything else you are wondering about regarding court cards, please leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to get back you. Also, if you are a fellow A Tarot Story wayfarer and you’re looking to connect with other peeps who are also studying tarot with a creative storytelling framework, or if you’re looking for more discussions, activities and exercises–I have recently created a Facebook group for all of us to hang out and to do just that! So please join and come hang out at A Tarot Story, the Facebook corner of the Tarot Kingdiom! 🙂

COME JOIN

 

A Crash Course on Court Cards [+Free Worksheet!]

Tarot Study, Worksheets

18641648_10158611129645580_1277585099_oCourt cards. You know what they’re good at? Staring contests. When a court card (or several!) shows up in a reading, it’s awkward because it seems nearly impossible to break the ice with the royals. *cue Lorde*

In this post, you will learn about a simple framework based on creative storytelling and characterization that will help you get to know the royal members of tarot. I am going to heavily personify the many aspects and intersectionalities of the court cards so it will seem like I am introducing a group of people and their cultures, so just a heads up in case you get confused!

Working with Court Card’s Base Element: The Elemental Kingdoms

Where are these people from? Every court card has a base element. This is their home suit, or their primary element. In this post, I will refer to their home suit as “kingdoms”, since we are talking about the royalties of tarot.

Suit of Wands = Fire Kingdom
Suit of Swords = Air Kingdom
Suit of Cups = Water Kingdom
Suit of Pentacles = Earth Kingdom

Each suit represents a kingdom. Think of each kingdom as a separate nationality or culture, and each culture has a different set of values and things they care about over others. For example, in real life, North American culture puts more emphasis on individualization, independence and the pursuit of personal success, while Asian culture tends to put more emphasis on tradition, family structures, and familial piety. The court cards are the same way. Depending on which kingdom they are from, they are going to be affected by their kingdom’s cultural values.

Here’s is a quick look at their “cultural” differences:

People from the Fire Kingdom (Suit of Wands) care about the pursuit of desire. They feel the most alive when they are actively pursuing their desire. They are people of action. They are passionate about going on an adventure or a quest. Most of the time, they aren’t working towards a prize at the end or for a specific goal. They do something simply because they enjoy the experience, and simply because they want to.

People from the Air Kingdom (Suit of Swords) care about the pursuit of order. They like to “put things in their rightful places”, and they hate to be on the wrong side of the argument. They will oppose anything that is against their logic and their ideas, and will sometimes put themselves (or other people) in harm’s way (ranging from a bruised ego to sacrificing their own lives for a cause) to protect their idea of “how things are supposed to be”.

People from the Water Kingdom (Suit of Cups) care about the pursuit of emotional and social fulfillment. They care a lot about their fellow humans because of their empathy. They invest a lot of time and energy and heart into building good relationships with others, pleasing others and maintaining social bonds. They feel alive and validated when they are emotionally and socially connected to someone or something.

People from the Earth Kingdom (Suit of Pentacles) care about sustainability. They invest their time and energy in the pursuit of establishing and securing themselves a place in the world. This could mean becoming an active and valued member of their family or community (reputation), accumulating resources (wealth), and/or taking care of themselves to make sure they can perform at their optimal condition (health). They will do some or all of the above to make sure they are able to “sustain” their own existence.

Court Cards & Their Roles

On top of where they’re from, what do they do? Within each kingdom, there are 4 royal members. The King, The Queen, The Knight, and The Page. In my video, I addressed the Knights and the Pages as Princes and Princesses, but I decided to stick with the traditional roles in this post to focus more on the traditional structure of tarot.

On top of their elemental “culture” based on which kingdom they are from, each member of the court card will have specific agendas and concerns as well based on their role. The things that the Kings will care about will be different from what the Pages will care about, because their roles are different.

The King’s primary concern is government, and his primary function is to rule.
The Queen’s primary concern is welfare, and her primary function is to nurture.
The Knight’s primary concern is validation, and her primary function is to express.
The Page’s primary concern is education, and her primary function it so to grow.

Like I mentioned in my video, you can also consider the court cards as a royal family unit. Instead of Knights, we have the Princes (off to yet another gallant quest to prove himself worthy to his people). Instead of Pages, we have the Princesses (the queen-to-be, and is developing herself to become queen). Another useful framework to look at the court cards is to view them as a modern nuclear family unit (father, mother, son, and daughter). If you choose to perceive court cards through this lens, consider the roles of each individual and how they function in a family setting. E.g. The mother is associated with child-rearing and the home,while the father is associated with being the “breadwinner” and the protection of the home. The associations may be gender stereotypes and may no longer apply to the diversity of modern family structures, but they are still useful when you are trying to contextualize the court cards in a more relatable setting.

Characterizing Court Cards based on Where They’re From and the Role They Play

To flesh out the character of a particular court card, you simply have to combine their various concerns and functions according to their base element and their class. Take a look at the following examples:

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Let’s take a look at Knight of Wands. As a member of the Fire Kingdom (Suit of Wands), he is concerned about the pursuit of his desires. Playing the role of a Knight, he seeks to validate and express his identity. How does he validate and express his identity? He does this in a “fire” fashion, which is through action. As long as he is doing what he loves, he feels validated. As long as he is doing something that excites him and allows him to feel like he is engaged with some kind of action, he feels validated. Unlike the other knights, Knight of Wands isn’t pursing a goal or seeking a reward. He acts because he wants to act and you can say that he quests just for the sake of questing. He doesn’t care about the glory or potential marriage that comes after slaying a dragon and rescuing a princess. As long as he gets to slay a dragon and rescue that princess, he’s quite happy to be doing just that.

If you apply this attitude to a more contemporary setting, Knight of Wands will be somebody who pursues something simply because he enjoys pursing it. If he’s an artist, he makes art because he enjoys the process of creating and expressing his visions. Lacking the sensitivity of Knight of Cups, the practicality of Knight of Pentacles, and the righteousness of the Knight of Swords–Knight of Wands doesn’t really care about making a living, winning somebody over with his art, or fighting for a cause. He does something simply because he wants to. On the contrary, if making money is something he’s currently interested in, he will give it his all and enjoys the experience of rolling in the dough. If he feels like winning somebody over will give him the thrills and the adrenaline rush, he does it because he wants to.  Knight of Wands is a free spirit, chasing his whims, one after another.

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You can also do this the other way around; you don’t necessarily have to begin with their kingdoms or where they’re from. Let’s take a look at Queen of Swords, for example. As Queen, her primary concern is the welfare of her people, and her function is to nurture. As a member of the Air Kingdom (Suit of Swords), she is mainly concerned with order and logic. Therefore, she nurtures her people by pointing out what they are doing wrong or correcting illogical actions that serve nobody, even when doing so will hurt your feelings. It’s not that she doesn’t care about how you feel; it’s just that she cannot continue to see you making the mistakes that you do because in her mind, it doesn’t make sense. It is illogical to continue to act this way. Therefore, she must “right” it and restore order. And she does this by exposing your wrongs and persuading you to do things her way.

For example, if you go to a Queen of Swords type person for break-up advice, she will be the one handing you some tough love. She will most likely say something like, “Well, it is wrong for you to indulge in your boyfriend’s dishonesty and pretend that everything is going to be okay.” She will tell you this because it doesn’t make sense to her. What your boyfriend is doing isn’t right and must not be tolerated. Allowing yourself to suffer isn’t right and must not be tolerated. It is of utmost importance for anybody to do the right thing at any given time.

Putting 2 and 2 Together

With this framework, you will be able to understand and characterize the court cards in a fun and creative way. For the rest of the court cards, you simply have to follow the “formula” and create fun, memorable characters based on the individual court card’s elemental association as well as their roles. In this post, I have simplified these associations so that it is easy to combine. Feel free to dig deeper and apply your own understanding of each element and role to “create” your own set of unique characters.

Of course, there’s a Worksheet!

What’s a Fables Den tarot post without a worksheet!? So of course there is a worksheet. Woooot! The following worksheet will help you keep track of your personal associations of the elements and the roles, allowing you to combine different personalities and attributes together so that you can flesh out each court card through some studious imagining.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD WORKSHEET #9

More Resources

If you are interested in reading more about viewing court cards through the lens of storytelling as well as cultivating an intuitive tarot practice, check out my e-book: Tarot Beginnings: An Introduction to the Story and Study of Tarot. 

Tarot Worksheet #7: Tarot’s Suit of Cups

Worksheets

An exploration of tarot’s Suit of Cups through creative storytelling. Learn about the definitions of each card + how the elemental associations intersect with the numerological associations in this video!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD WORKSHEET #7

Worksheet #7 is designed for you to explore and deepen your understanding about the Suit of Cups. The worksheet includes 4 sections:

  • Would You Like a Cup of Water: a mindmapping activity to help you establish the connection between the cup and water as symbols
  • Lacking Clever Water Pun: seriously, I didn’t have a good water pun or reference for this section, but it’s basically an exercise that will help you unpack the symbolic dimensions of natural  + other occurrences of water
  • Chemistry-Mixing It Up: let’s do some fun tarot math and explore how the elemental + numerological meanings intersect and amalgamate!
  • Time for a Swim in Your Soul: questions and journal prompts for further exploration!

Happy worksheeting! 🙂

More Resources

If you are interested in reading more about viewing tarot cards through the lens of storytelling as well as cultivating an intuitive tarot practice, check out my e-book: Tarot Beginnings: An Introduction to the Story and Study of Tarot. 

Tarot Worksheet #6: Tarot’s Suit of Swords

Tarot Study, Worksheets

An exploration of tarot’s Suit of Swords through creative storytelling. Learn about the definitions of each card + how the elemental associations intersect with the numerological associations in this video!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD TAROT WORKSHEET #6

Worksheet #6 is designed for you to explore and deepen your understanding about the Suit of Swords–from Ace of Swords to the 10 of Swords. The worksheet (more like a package!) includes 4 sections:

  • Draw Your Sword: stretch your limbs, ready your swords for these warmer activities to limber up your symbolic muscles!
  • Air We Go: examine both “man-made” or naturally occurring instances of air such as the breath or the wind and what they can symbolize
  • Aerodynamics: let’s do some fun tarot math and explore how the elemental + numerological meanings intersect and amalgamate!
  • Gone with the Wind: questions & journal prompts for your quest of fire!

Happy worksheeting! 😀

More Resources

If you are interested in reading more about viewing tarot cards through the lens of storytelling as well as cultivating an intuitive tarot practice, check out my e-book: Tarot Beginnings: An Introduction to the Story and Study of Tarot. 

Worksheet #5: Tarot’s Suit of Wands

Tarot Study, Worksheets

An exploration of tarot’s Suit of Wands through creative storytelling. Learn about the definitions of each card + how the elemental associations intersect with the numerological associations in this video!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD TAROT WORKSHEET #5

Worksheet #5 is designed for you to explore and deepen your understanding about the Suit of Wands–from Ace of Wands to the 10 of Wands. The worksheet (more like a package!) includes 4 sections:

  • Define the Fire: expand on the literal and dictionary definition of “fire” and explore its symbolic representations!
  • Transform the Fire: examine the qualities and uses of fire on a physical and literal level and expand its symbolic horizon!
  • Calculate the Fire: let’s do some fun tarot math and explore how the elemental + numerological meanings intersect and amalgamate!
  • Connect with Fire: questions & journal prompts for your quest of fire!

Happy worksheeting! 😀

More Resources

If you are interested in reading more about viewing tarot cards through the lens of storytelling as well as cultivating an intuitive tarot practice, check out my e-book: Tarot Beginnings: An Introduction to the Story and Study of Tarot. 

Exercise #3 + Tarot Worksheet #4 Working with the Four Elements in the Minor Arcana

Exercises & Journal Prompts, Tarot Study, Worksheets

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD TAROT WORKSHEET #4

Earth. Air. Fire. Water. The four elements play crucial roles in the symbolic construction and interpretation of tarot, especially in the minor arcana where each suit is represented by a specific elemental affinity. Each element comes with its own temperament and ways it translates into different aspects of your life. As you go forth and try to familiarize yourself with the elemental associations, it is important to go through the process of how you arrive at each conclusion or categorization about each element. For example, why is the suit of wands or fire associated with career, dreams, and drive? Why is the suit of cups or water associated with relationships and emotions? When you make your own connections and relate those insights to your personal life and experience, it is much easier to internalize the knowledge and make it your own.

What you need for this exercise:

  • Space. Where you will be required to draw a huge rectangular box. This could be done in your notebook, a loose sheet of paper, or a large poster paper or board. Whatever works for you, really. As long as you have a rectangular shape that has four corners (this is called the four corners exercise, after all!) and allows you to take notes–you’ll be fine. It might not work as well on the laptop, unless you are capable of producing any types of graph via a computer software. If that’s the case, by all means, do whatever that’s comfortable.
  • Something to write with, duh. Whether it is your vintage fountain pen or a Harry Potteresque quill–get your favourite utensils out!
  • A basic understanding of the elemental associations in tarot. Some key words will definitely help you contextualize and engage with this activity better. If you are starting fresh, here is a quick reference guide to help you:
    • Fire is typically associated with motivation, passion and creative self-expression. It is therefore often linked to one’s career and passionate pursuits.
    • Air is typically associated with information, logic, and intellect. It is therefore often linked to language, expression of ideas and opinions, and psychological processes.
    • Earth is typically associated with security, foundation and prosperity. It is therefore often linked to money, health, and society.
    • Water is typically associated with emotional exchanges, intuitive insights and the subconscious. It is therefore often linked to relationships, imagination and spirituality.
  • A sense of adventure and a pinch of poetic spice in your soul. You’ll be working with metaphors, so gear up your right brain!

Warm Up

As mentioned before, you will be working with symbolism and metaphors. Here is a mini warm-up activity that will get your creative and poetic juices flowing. Check out the following few prompts to help you get into the figurative zone:

  • I’m on fire when ___________
  • What grounds me in life is ___________
  • What does it mean when you “get wind of something”? How is the word “wind” used to convey this?
  • What is the social significance of sharing sharing a drink with somebody?

The Four Elemental Corners

Alright…time to get down to business! The first thing you have to do is to create something that looks like this (or you can also click here to download a printable worksheet containing this chart):

elemental-corners

Next, go through your daily activities and routines and examine their elemental nature. Write down a list of minimum 10 things that you do each day. Ask yourself: Is this an “earth” activity? Why? You would then position that activity on the chart according to its elemental association.

Some activities are easily categorized into an elemental corner. For example, maybe you wake up early in the morning in order to go to the gym and exercise. Exercising helps you stay connected with your physical self and keeps you grounded for the rest of the day. Therefore, exercising is an “earth” activity since It makes you feel healthy, empowered and secure. You have to feel your feet on the ground first before you can venture into anything else. Since it’s an earth activity, you put it directly next to the Earth Corner.

Some activities, however, may have a combination of two or more elemental associations. For example, after you finish all your morning routines, you sit down to work on your short story. This engages you creatively and satisfies you emotionally. Creativity is associated with the creative and expansive nature of fire, and happiness is associated with the subtle and nourishing flow of water. So you place this activity in the middle of the Fire Corner and Water Corner, but closer to the Fire Corner because you feel that creativity is more predominant as you engage in story writing.

elemental-corners-sample

You would continue to figure out the elemental associations for each activity until you run out of space. Or you set a timer for 15-20 minutes to help you concentrate your thoughts in a short burst of time. However long you want to do this is up to you, you can set a timer or no timer at all. The purpose of this activity is mostly to help you make connections between how you live your life and the elemental associations behind each activity you engage in.

Post-Activity Reflection

After you have completed the exercise, go through the following questions and prompts and reflect on your progress:

  • Looking at your elemental corners chart, which element do you find yourself gravitating towards the most? What does this reveal about you as a person and the activities you tend to enjoy?
  • How easy or difficult was it to categorize everything? Was there a particular item that you struggled with and didn’t know where to place? Why do you think this was the case? On the contrary, what were the “easy items” where you immediately knew where they belonged? What does this reveal to you about how you think and who you are as a person?
  • How has this exercise deepened your perspective and understanding of the four elements in tarot?

To close…

So that’s it. How did it go? I hope you enjoyed this exercise and I hope this exercise has helped you reach a better understanding of tarot’s four elements, or that it has given your brain some new “tarot food” to chew on. Either way, please let me know how it goes in the comments below!

Much love,

xoxo
Kim

More Resources

If you are interested in reading more about viewing tarot cards through the lens of storytelling as well as cultivating an intuitive tarot practice, check out my e-book: Tarot Beginnings: An Introduction to the Story and Study of Tarot. 

Tarot Worksheet #3: The Shadowmetre

Tarot Study, Worksheets

This worksheet is designed for you to explore the shadow aspects of the major arcana archetypes–but of course, it is not just limited to the major arcana. You can use it for the minor arcana, the courts, and oracle cards.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD TAROT WORKSHEET #3

This is how I approach the shadow aspects of each archetype:

  • Each archetype has an ideal or balanced state: this is when the archetype is at its best and optimal, in which the lessons and the traits of the archetype are positively integrated and engaged
  • When the archetypal energies go into overflow or lack, this is when you step into the shadow aspects of the archetype. For example, too much Emperor energy turns into despotism. Too little turns into lethargy. Too much Death turns into a rootless identity. Too little turns into a stubborn existence.

This worksheet has room for you to note down the various states of the archetype, from ideal to the two ends of the spectrum. There are two versions:

  • A full-page letter-sized version, which gives you lots of writing and note-taking space
  • A compact mini version, which allows you to track 2 archetypes on one page if you prefer a tighter or more concise working space, or if you are trying to save paper

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD TAROT WORKSHEET #3

Tarot Worksheet #2: The Archetype Explorer

Tarot Study, Worksheets

This worksheet is designed specifically for the exploration of the major arcana archetypes.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD TAROT WORKSHEET #2

How to use the worksheet’s different sections:

  • LESSONS: What are the lessons you can learn from this archetype?  What wisdom does it offer? How does it inspire you to move forward in a positive way?
  • KEY WORDS: Write down the key words (nouns, verbs and adjectives) that encapsulate this archetype. For nouns, what are some of the concepts that this archetype embodies? For verbs, how does this archetype interact with your life? Does it nurture you, motivate you, or break you apart so you can grow? For adjectives–if you were to describe a moment in life or a character trait associated with this archetype, what words would you use?
  • LIFE MOMENTS: What are the moments in life that this archetype can come to represent? For example, what would be considered a Tower moment? A Star moment? A Magician moment? These could be events, actions or any kind of happenings you can think of. E.g. A break-up, a promotion, marriage, a road test, etc.
  • TEACHING STYLE: This is probably my favouirte category. 🙂 If this archetype is a teacher, a life coach, a lightworker in real life–what kind of teaching style would it have? For example, The Empress would be more motherly and nurturing in its approach, while Death may be more ritualistic and likes to have its students participate in symbolic rites. Use your imagination and intuitive understand for this one!

As per usual, a sample page is attached to the worksheet. Feel free to look at it for ideas!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD TAROT WORKSHEET #2

More Resources

If you are interested in reading more about viewing tarot cards through the lens of storytelling as well as cultivating an intuitive tarot practice, check out my e-book: Tarot Beginnings: An Introduction to the Story and Study of Tarot. 

Tarot Worksheet #1

Tarot Study, Worksheets

 

Update 9/22/2016: Fixed blatant mistake on the actual worksheet section! Changed “Misc” to “Lessons”. Now the world is all better.

Update 7/12/2016: Worksheet has been relocated from DropBox to GoogleDrive. Background image has been removed from document to minimize file size. Minor changes and typos have been made.

I started making tarot worksheets. Unleash. The Inner. Tutor. Wooooot!

Other than being a tarot nerd, I am a full-time self-employed English Tutor. I’ve finally figured how I can combine creative lesson prepping with my tarot passions. I think I’ve always enjoyed helping people with the “process”. A lot of my blog posts are creative tarot exercises that I come up with to spice up the routine.

So here’s my first official tarot worksheet. It has the most original name: Tarot Worksheet #1. It is a generic one-card worksheet that will help you explore a single card in depth.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD TAROT WORKSHEET #1

How to use the worksheet’s different sections 

  • FREE ASSOCIATION: As the section heading suggests–freely associate. Use your imagination and the power of your mind to form connections with the card and better integrate definition into your own understanding. It could be a burst of single-worded vocabulary, a creative phrase, a quotation, an imagery evoking the 5 senses, a stream-of-consciousness style word-vomit, or snippets of poetic language. Anything goes, really.
  • SYMBOLISM: break down the specific images on the card and address them individually. What does each image represent? What does it mean for you personally? You can use this space to note down the general definition of a universal symbol, or note down any personal connotations that you may have. Or both.
  • STORY: I hope this section excites the creative storyteller/writer in you. You can use the card you are working with as a prompt and compose a short creative writing piece that (and it doesn’t have to be writing! It could be a comic stripe, doodle, abstract art…)
    • describes the scene of the card
    • taps into the atmospherics of the card
    • animates the card as if it is a scene from a movie and is in motion
    • allows the characters to speak and converse with each other or with you
    • evokes the 5 senses and sensory understanding of the card
  • LESSONS: This one is pretty self-explanatory. What is the lesson or wisdom that this card offers? In what way does it empower you? What life lessons does it remind you of? What is something you have learned in your own life that can be applied to this card?
  • KEY WORDS: Now that you have gone through the 4 other sections, you can use this circle to note down the key words that you have chosen to represent this card. What words encapsulate this card? If you distill the vastness of meanings that is this card and only 4-5 words are left, which words would remain?

Remember, there is no particular order in which you have to go through these sections. You can fill in all of them or only some of them, in any order that you feel like. If you’re not sure what to fill in, you can look at the sample page on page 2 for ideas.

Happy Worksheeting! (Sounds kind of strange, but you know what I mean.)

Oh yeah in case I haven’t already mentioned, the worksheet is free to view, download, and share. Hurrah!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD TAROT WORKSHEET #1

More Resources

If you are interested in reading more about viewing tarot cards through the lens of storytelling as well as cultivating an intuitive tarot practice, check out my e-book: Tarot Beginnings: An Introduction to the Story and Study of Tarot.