16 Lessons from the Court Cards Part 1: Pentacles

 16 Lessons from the Court Cards Part 1: Pentacles and Court Cards Tarot Cheatsheet!

This post is part of a blog post series exploring the tarot card meanings through storytelling. 

For the major arcana, the story is told from the point of view of the Fool who is undertaking his journey through the arcana. The rest of the posts are from the point of view of another character who has heard about the Fool's Journey and goes on a journey of her own.

If you've already read the previous posts in this series you'll know that we've already completed our fictional Fool's Journey through the major arcana and we're continuing our journey through the land of tarot with a new protagonist, the Traveller. 

By now, we've already journeyed through all four elemental kingdoms: wands, cups, swords and pentacles.

Today, we will begin to explore the court cards and meet all of the court card characters.

Posts in the series include:

If you have not yet read the other posts in this series, I recommend starting from the beginning.

The major arcana, minor arcana, and court cards can also be read as stand-alone sections as well but for maximum benefit I recommend going in order.

Right, are you ready to explore the court cards?

First up, our protagonist attends a royal ball held at Pentacles Palace! 

We're not going to be following the same order we used earlier to go through the suits (wands, cups, swords, pentacles), but I've changed the order to fit in with the flow of the story.

Let's begin!

Keep reading to get your FREE Tarot Cheatsheets!


The court cards are basically personality cards. They represent the essence of the element distilled into four distinct personality types for each suit.

Understanding the Court Cards

Before we dive in to the story, and meet all of the court card characters, let's take a minute to go over the court cards and what they represent.

Up until now we've been working under the assumption that the major arcana represents the land of archetypes, the godly realm, if you will, and the four suits represent four elemental kingdoms. We've already discussed in detail about what each suit represents and the culture of each kingdom in the story.

What about the courts? Well, the court cards are exactly that. The royal court of each elemental kingdom. Unlike the numbered cards 1-10 of each suit, which represent moments taking place within the kingdom, the court cards are sort of like the essence of the element distilled into four distinct personality types. 

They're basically personality cards. That is the simplest and easiest way of understanding the court cards that I have found.

As personality cards, they represent:

  • You

  • Another person

  • A way of behaviour

In a reading, court cards can mean either of the three. It either indicates the presence of a person, you or someone else, who fits the personality type of the court card character, or a type of behaviour that matches what the court card character would do in your situation. 

For example, if you're acting brash and rushing into a situation without thinking, you are behaving like the Knight of Swords. See what I mean? 

Now you know what court cards broadly represent, let's dig in a little bit into what each type (page, knight, queen, and king) represents on the whole. 

In short:

  • Pages represent learning

  • Knights represent action

  • Queens represent understanding

  • Kings represent control

The courts can also be divided in terms of masculine, yang, assertive vs feminine, yin, receptive energy as well as experienced vs inexperienced.

  • Pages have inexperienced feminine energy

  • Queens have experienced feminine energy

  • Knights have inexperienced masculine energy

  • Kings have experienced masculine energy

So, pages and knights are sort of like younger, not yet fully developed, versions of kings and queens. 

How does that fit into the four suits? 

Well, the four court cards of each suit are like one family unit representing different expressions of the suit's elemental energy.

For example, wands tend to be fiery people and have a lot of energy but the way in which each each expresses that elemental energy in their personality is a little different.

How different?

Let's return to the story and find out by interacting with them!

A small note first: although pages are depicted as young boys in many decks, I am choosing to portray them as teenage girls here to fit in with the concept of court cards being one family unit and to illustrate the yin/yang division a bit more clearly. The images are only meant for illustration.

DOWNLOAD THE FREE TAROT CHEATSHEETS!

If you're having trouble remembering the card meanings and want a quick reference to look them up when you need to, download my free printable cheatsheets for the majors, all four suits, and the court cards to help you learn!

Arriving at Court

You sat in the carriage, clutching the pristine white invitation card in your hand. While you were staying at Ten Pentacles House you had received an invitation from the royal palace!

Apparently, every year the royal families from all four kingdoms would meet to discuss trade and politics. The meeting was held in a different kingdom each year and it was always preceded by a ball. This year, it was to be held here in the Kingdom of Pentacles.

You looked at the invitation in your hand and read your name, written in fancy golden script, again and again. You were invited to meet the royals and your hosts were not.

Why would you be invited? You were a nobody. Perhaps news of your travels had reached court and the king wanted to meet you for himself. Were you that well-known? You didn't feel any different.

In any case, you were invited and the Ten Pentacles family were not and that made things a little awkward. They seemed initially upset and more than a little jealous but in the end graciously allowed you to borrow a fine gown and their carriage. You weren't sure you deserved all this but were thankful all the same.

The carriage ground to a halt. Looks like you had reached Pentacles Palace. The footman opened the door and extended his hand. You took his hand, lifted your gown slightly, and stepped out of the carriage.

You gasped at the sight of the palace. It was simply magnificent. Pentacles Palace was a huge, sprawling, place with gardens that you could get lost in, and an ornate golden fountain right in front of it. Everything about it screamed opulence, beauty, and wealth. And you weren't that surprised to be honest. You didn't expect anything less of the richest kingdom in all the lands!

Best not stand around gawping. You already felt a little out of place here, no need to look like it! You thanked the footman and walked into the palace. 

There were already a lot of nobles present and milling around. One of them pointed you in the direction of the main ballroom. You followed and soon found yourself in front of an ornate archway that led into a large, beautifully decorated room. 

You presented your invitation to the master of ceremonies. He studied it carefully, looked you up and down, grunted, and handed you back the invitation. You stowed it away safely in your purse. The man then turned around and announced your presence. "Presenting, the famed Traveller of the Four Kingdoms"

Time to go meet the king.

King of Pentacles: The Provider


The King of Pentacles' Lesson

There is no reward without risk. Create opportunities, don’t be afraid to fail, and invest your time wisely.

 King of Pentacles Tarot Card Meaning

You walked up to the dais at the front of the hall and bowed before the royal family.

"Rise" said the king. You stood up straight and looked at him. He was dark haired older man, impeccably dressed, wearing only the finest furs and the very best damask silk. He sat back confidently on his throne, resting his beringed hand gently on the tall backed throne. 

"So you are the famous Traveller of the Four Lands, I keep hearing about" he said as he studied you. 

"Only good things, I hope, Your Majesty" you said, uncomfortable under the scrutiny. 

"Yes, good things" he said with a slight smile. "I have worked hard these many years to create a prosperous kingdom. I hope that my subjects have shown you the best we can offer here in Pentacles and that you will speak favourably of us when you reach home. Indeed, where is home, if I might ask?" 

"Most certainly, You Majesty" you said. "And I come from a small mountain village across the sea"

He scratched his beard thoughtfully. "Across the sea you said?" he said, with a glint in his eye. "I believe we have ourselves a most unique trading opportunity"

You furrowed your brows in confusion. "I'm sorry? Trade? I'm no merchant and I don't have the authority to negotiate trade deals"

"And if you don't take risks how will you ever become successful? By coming here and visiting all four kingdoms on your own you have proven yourself capable" he began.

"I can see you are still doubtful. My dear girl, a golden opportunity has fallen right into your lap. Exclusive trade between your land and mine could make us both very very rich" he said. I could almost see the wheels spinning in his mind. He really never does lose an opportunity to gather wealth and provide for his kingdom does he?

"And what are you planning to do once you get home?" he continued, not waiting for my response.

"I'm not quite sure, to be honest. I haven't thought about it" you said.

"You should invest. You've seen all four kingdoms. If I were you I'd buy shares in a diversified portfolio of companies across all four lands. I'd also take with me some of the finest goods from Pentacles and sell it there. I'll pay for all of it in fact"

Your eyebrows shot up. "You'd pay for it? And what do you want in return?"

The king grinned. He obviously knew that he had hooked me. "An introduction and lucrative trade deal with your king. Do this for me and I'll write off your debt to me. Fail and I'll expect the money back with 10% interest. You'll make all the money back and double it for sure so it's a win-win for you. What do you say?"

"I'd like to think it over" you said.

The king shook his head. "There can be no reward without risk, Traveller. Answer now or the offer is off the table" he demanded.

"Alright, I'll do it!" you said.

"Excellent!" he exclaimed. "I'll have my lawyer write up the agreement. Now, let me introduce you to my wife" he said.

Queen of Pentacles: The Nurturer


The Queen of Pentacles' Lesson

A loving family is one of the greatest blessings in life. Protect and care for them no matter what.

 Queen of Pentacles Tarot Card Meaning

"Oh come now, you're bewildering our lovely guest" The queen chuckled. The queen was a voluptuous woman, who looked equally as opulent as her husband, and was bedecked in jewels. But, she had a very warm and disarming demeanour. Somehow, she didn't intimidate you as much as the king.

I turned to the queen and curtsied. "Your Majesty" 

"So, Traveller, tell me. How long have you been touring the kingdoms?" she asked.

"A few months" you said. 

"Oh my, that is very long. You must be rather exhausted going from place to place all that time. You must miss home very much" she said.

You felt a wave of homesickness wash over you. It had been so long. You hadn't allowed yourself to think of it until now but it was true that the journey did wear on you.

"Oh, you look so lost, come, let me take care of you" she said in a warm, motherly, voice and ushered me towards the banquet table. There was a staggering amount of food on the table and all equally mouthwatering.

"Help yourself to anything you'd like and feel free to stay with us tonight, here in the palace. I know that this is not your home but I like to make my guests feel as much at home as possible"

"Thank you very much" you said, genuinely touched.  

"It is nothing! I take pride in caring for others" she said with a warm smile. "In fact, I planned every single detail of this evening myself. From the menu, down to the decor and centrepieces, all of it"

"Really? You did all of that? But couldn't you have let your staff do it?" you asked.

"I could have but here's the thing. To you this is a grand palace but to me it's my home and I strive to take care of everything and everyone in it" she said. "Yourself included." You could see the joy in her eyes as she said this. She reminded you a little of your own mother.

"Now come and meet my son. A beautiful girl of your age should mingle!" she said and ushered you towards her son before you could get a word in edgewise.

DOWNLOAD THE FREE TAROT CHEATSHEETS!

If you're having trouble remembering the card meanings and want a quick reference to look them up when you need to, download my free printable cheatsheets for the majors, all four suits, and the court cards to help you learn!

Knight of Pentacles: The Guardian


The Knight of Pentacles' Lesson

You can’t get the result without first doing the work. show up, work hard, and keep pushing every day.

 Knight of Pentacles Tarot Card Meaning

The Knight of Pentacles stood very stiffly by the wall. He was handsomely dressed in a fine red suit but looked entirely uncomfortable in it.

You approached him. "Your Highness, you don't seem to be enjoying yourself very much" you observed. The knight looked startled. "Forgive me, I'm the traveller you may of heard about, and your mother urged me to mingle"

The knight nodded. "Yes. I suspect that may have been more for my benefit than yours. You see, I'm not comfortable attending balls and mother hates it when I stand around alone like this. Honestly, I find such affairs to be a waste of time" he said.

"Oh?" you said.

He nodded. "I'm a knight, I'd much rather be training with my men, be on patrol, or assisting those in need. There are so many people in need here. I consider it my purpose to serve and protect them"

You thought back to the poor man and his mother you met back in the city. "Yes, indeed there are. A worthy pursuit" you said. 

"I'm glad you think so" he said, brightening up with a smile. He was rather handsome when he smiled. "In fact, I'd probably be working right now if it weren't for the ball. There is so much to be done across the kingdom"

"Really? Even at this hour?" you asked in surprise.

The knight nodded. "There's always someone that needs help. Am I to turn them away and cease my duties just because night has fallen?" The knight was quiet and unassuming from a distance but he seemed to possess an inner strength, hard working spirit, and a noble heart.

"I admire your sense of responsibility, Your Highness. You're making a difference with your work" you said. You smiled at him. Perhaps you could dance with him later, after you had met everyone.

Page of Pentacles: The Student


The Page of Pentacles' Lesson

Never stop learning because if you think you know everything, then you know nothing at all.

 Page of Pentacles Tarot Card Meaning

You found the knight's sister, the Page of Pentacles, sitting under an alcove not far off from where he brother was, reading a book. Kind of odd to be reading a book during a ball, isn't it?

You cleared your throat. "Sorry to disturb you, Highness, but I very much wanted to meet you. I'm travelling the four kingdoms you see and your father invited me to the ball" you said.

"Oh! You're that traveller everyone keeps talking about!" she said. She shut the heavy leather bound tome she was reading. 'A Beginner's Guide to Horticulture' read the title. Horticulture?

"Indeed, I am" you began. "What is that book you're reading?"

"Oh this? It's a book about horticulture. I'm learning about how to grow plants. I'm very much interested in building a greenhouse" she said, her face immediately brightening. 

"That sounds very interesting!" you said.

"Oh yes. I very much love learning about different things. Last month I learned how to design my own ball gown" she said, standing up and twirling around. "Do you like it? Mother wasn't too happy about it but the seamstress who taught me was very pleased with my work!"

She did that herself? What an industrious family! "Wow! That's amazing! You've done a great job" you said. "So your hobbies are horticulture and fashion design?"

She shook her head. "In truth, I just love the act of learning in general. There's always something to learn, some new skill to master, you see and I strive to continuously improve myself" she said. 

Gosh, what an impressive young girl she was! "Any professor would be proud to have you as a student" you said.

"You really think so? I'm attending university next year! I'm so very much looking forward to it!" she said.

You smiled. "I'm sure you will do very well"

DOWNLOAD THE FREE TAROT CHEATSHEETS!

If you're having trouble remembering the card meanings and want a quick reference to look them up when you need to, download my free printable cheatsheets for the majors, all four suits, and the court cards to help you learn!

Alright, so Traveller has met the pentacles family. What do you think of them? Do you think you'd get along with them?

The story is not over yet though! The night is young and Traveller has yet to met the other court card characters. 

In the next post, she meets the wands family! Keep reading to see what they're like!

Continue to next post >>

Tarot Card Images: Modern Spellcaster’s Tarot by Melanie Marquis, Scott Murphy © 2016 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. 2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125. All rights reserved, used by permission.