Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
LLEWELLYN JOURNAL
Article Topics
List of Articles
RSS Data Feeds
Mission Statement
Use of Our Articles
Writers' Guidelines

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

November/December 2016 / Gift Guide Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.


The Llewellyn Journal
Print this Article Print this Article

My Life with the Tarot Court

This article was written by Mary K. Greer
posted under Tarot

Agatha Christi’s elderly detective, Miss Marple, solves crimes by recognizing, in the suspects, personality characteristics like those of people in her village whose quirks and foibles she knows so well. It was a tremendous breakthrough when I realized that if I was to know the cards of the Tarot court, they must become, for me, the well-known inhabitants of my own small village. I needed to know what kinds of cars each knight drives, what the pages are studying, what the queens desire, and what the kings dictate. Some drink too much, some are avaricious, others jealous, and each has their own kindnesses. When I walked into a sitting room or a beach party, I needed to know who I wanted to spend time with and who I wanted to avoid. I worked out who was attracted to whom and in what way. I explored their talents and their weaknesses. I ferreted out their family/suit dynamics, recognizing where the families were dysfunctional and where they were strong. Eventually, I met with those I had formerly avoided, and got to know their stories and what they had to teach me. When writing the earlier Complete Book of Tarot Reversals, I learned that, when reversed, the court cards didn’t become evil or malicious as the old books claimed. Instead, I found that they turned up in situations where their natural talents were not being nurtured and supported but, rather, were denied and thwarted, or unrecognized and unappreciated. Thus, they were either acting out or languishing. The person who makes my work environment unpleasant may be totally different if, instead, she were able to work in her garden all day.

I’ve come to fondly appreciate all the manifestations of the court cards, both for their variety (even within a single court figure) and for what they have to teach me. Just as for Agatha Christi, the mystery writer, the village has to exist first and foremost within each of us.

The book Understanding the Tarot Court emerged out of a short-lived but exciting email discussion group moderated by Tom Little. We began by exploring the court cards of what’s known as the antique tarot decks, decks based on French and Italian models from the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries. One of our first tasks was to describe the families depicted in each suit, and we were amazed at how rich with detail these became. We intimately knew these “people” and how they related to each other, even though our stories differed.

In 1981 I spoke at one of the first Tarot conferences before several hundred people gathered at the Unitarian Church in San Francisco. Wanting to challenge myself, I had picked the court cards as my topic. I approached them as roles, masks, and subpersonalities of the self. Instead of a single significator, I asked, “what if we have sixteen cards that signify us?” From this viewpoint, everyone we encounter, when depicted in a Tarot reading, can be seen as a projection of some aspect of ourselves. According to Jungian psychology, whether in the guise of child, wise elder, flamboyant showoff, belligerent antagonist, or artistic dreamer, a projected quality (be it bright or dark) is unconsciously attributed to someone else, while denying it in oneself. One of our tasks is to reclaim these powers. By owning these powers within ourselves, we simultaneously make room for the other person to express the full range of themselves.

Most of us have not only a personal significator, but we know which card signifies those personalities closest to our own. But, if we see them this way all the time, then we only see a piece of who they are. As I got to know my then-husband, he began appearing as more than one court card. Upon first meeting, he was an intellectual Knight of Swords (a Gemini), but rapidly grew into the King. Over the years he manifested as a wide variety of court cards (including page and queen), and I discovered I could often predict his mood, attitude, and how specifically to relate to him from the court card appearing in readings involving him. In our shifting dynamics, we became the whole village—mother, father, child, lover, and challenger to each other. I also came to recognize my own parents in many different guises, and could see how and where these parts of themselves influenced me.

Most of all, I now know that when several court cards appear in a reading they represent different parts of me—each with a different agenda, different styles and needs, and a will to make me their own. Sometimes I have to leave an old self behind, other times I have to balance the needs of many, making deals, negotiating benefits, and, hopefully, turning them into a team. All in all, I’ve found that if I listen respectfully to their advice, they only have my good in mind. They are wise advisors (if each limited to their own sphere of expertise), these members of my village, and I am grateful for having found a way, through the Tarot, to get to know them better.


RELATED PRODUCTS

Mary K. Greer's 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card
Mary K. Greer's 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card
Mary K. Greer
$19.99 US,  $22.95 CAN
$15.99 US,  $18.36 CAN On Sale! | Add to Cart

Please note that the use of Llewellyn Journal articles
is subject to certain Terms and Conditions

Ah, the ego! That little voice that constantly talks to you in the back of your mind. The all-too-familiar, endless dialogue that taunts and teases you. It can be the withering sub-text of an argument or the moral boosting rant of how you are better than all that. Yet, at the end of the day, as you lie in bed tossing and turning listening to the... read this article
6 Ways to Use the Crystal Intentions Oracle for a Happy Life
Dealing with Shadows During Channeling
Witch’s Runes: A Simple Introduction to Rune Reading
6 Ways to Awaken Your Inner Psychic
3 Theories to Explain the Loch Ness Monster

Most recent posts:
Information is Everywhere
The Ultimate Guide to the Thoth Tarot by Johannes Fieberg & Evelin Burger Even if you don’t use a particular deck, there can still be...

Empathy for the Mystically Inclined
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Raven Digitalis, author of Goth Craft, Shadow Magick Compendium, Planetary Spells & Rituals, and...

Once There Was a Dream
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Atherton Drenth, author of the new Intuitive Dance. Many years ago, I had a dream where I was aware...





Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN
$9.59 US,  $11.99 CAN On Sale!
Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Calendar Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Calendar
By: Llewellyn
Price: $13.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
$11.19 US,  $13.59 CAN On Sale!
Llewellyn's 2017 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2017 Astrological Calendar
84th Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

By: Llewellyn
Price: $14.99 US,  $18.99 CAN
$11.99 US,  $15.19 CAN On Sale!
Llewellyn's 2017 Daily Planetary Guide Llewellyn's 2017 Daily Planetary Guide
Complete Astrology At-A-Glance

By: Llewellyn
Price: $12.99 US,  $15.99 CAN
$10.39 US,  $12.79 CAN On Sale!
Wheels of Life Wheels of Life
A User's Guide to the Chakra System

By: Anodea Judith
Price: $21.95 US,  $25.50 CAN