Essence of the Tarot (The Court Cards)

Court Cards: Astrological Attributions

The key to understanding the Hermetic Court Arcana is knowing the Elemental (and secondarily, the Astrological) attributions, and also the characteristics of the card ranking representing personality types.  (click here to review the Elemental meanings)

There are considerable differences between Hermetic (Thoth derivatives) and Classical deck interpretations of the Court Cards: each requires a different interpretation.
Note: It is not simply a matter of mapping the Thoth Knights to Waite-Rider Kings  (or alternatively Knights to Princes) to arrive at a parallel meaning.

Attributions of Court Cards:

  1. Each Court Card's Rank (Knight, Queen, Prince, Princess) has an Elemental attribution.

  2. Each Court Card's Suit also has an Elemental attribution.

  3. Each Court Card is the combination of 2 Elementals and also has astrological attributions.

  4. Elements have effects on each other when paired, some work well together, others weaken the other.

  5. The resulting meaning, is generally expressing: Personality traits, specific people, relationships or types of experiences.

Court Cards


Elementals Tetragrammaton

Combination Effects



Knight Fire Yod Fire and Water are enemies King (or Prince in some systems) Will
Queen Water Heh weaken each other Queen Emotions
Prince Air Vav Air and Earth are enemies Prince (or King in some systems) Intellect
Princess Earth Heh weaken each other Page Senses

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The Four Elements interact with each as follows:

1. Fire and Water are enemies; they weaken each other.
2. Air and Earth are enemies; they weaken each other.
3. All other combinations are friendly; they strengthen each other.
4. Fire and Air are active.
5. Water and Earth are passive.

Waite Court Cards


Meaning Elementals   Combination Effects Thoth  
King Fire Fire   Fire and Water are enemies Knight  
Queen Water Water   weaken each other Queen  
Prince Air Air   Air and Earth are enemies Prince  
Page Earth Earth   weaken each other Princess  

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The Court Cards: General Meanings

Court Card

Knights Queens Princes Princesses

Court Card

Kings Queens Knights Pages
simple meanings   mood change messages, opportunities


Astrological Planetaries

Planetary and it's attributes


Sun - energy of life  
Moon - the Reigning Need of the Personality; how the Sun's energy is expressed in Personality  
Mercury - Mind; Nervous System, Movement, Communication  
Venus - Romantic, Relational, Social, Aesthetic Concerns  
Mars - Applied energy, assertion, aggression  
Jupiter - Expansion, enthusiasm, and optimism (benefits) [higher mind]  
Saturn - Ambition, Necessary Controls  
Uranus - Intensification, Eccentricism, Individualism  
Neptune - Creative Visualization; Camouflage  
Pluto - Perspective; Empowerment (transformation rebirth)  

Court Personalities



Court Card

Knights Queens Princes Princesses

Wands - Fire

Fiery  part of Fire Watery part of  Fire AIRY  part of   Fire EARTHY part of Fire


Two-thirds Sagittarius, one-third Scorpio Two-thirds Aries, one-third Pisces Two-thirds Leo, one-third Cancer.  

Cups - Water

Fiery  part of Water Watery  part of Water AIRY part of  Water EARTHY of  Water
astrological Two-thirds Pisces, one-third Aquarius Two-thirds Cancer, one-third Gemini Two-thirds Scorpio, one-third Libra  

Swords - Air

Fiery  part of AIR Watery part of  AIR AIRY  part of   AIR EARTHY of  AIR
astrological Two-thirds Gemini, one-third Taurus Two-thirds Libra, one-third Virgo Two-thirds Aquarius, one-third Capricorn  

Disks - Earth

Fiery  part of   EARTH Watery  part of  EARTH AIRY   part of   EARTH EARTHY of  EARTH
astrological Two-thirds Virgo, one-third Leo Two-thirds Capricorn, one-third Sagittarius
Two-thirds Taurus, one-third Aries  


The Court Cards: Elemental/Astrological Attributions

In the Sign planetary associations:: Positive (+) is often described as Masculine;   Negative (-) described as Feminine

  Aries -- Leo -- Sagittarius Cancer -- Scorpio -- Pisces Libra -- Aquarius -- Gemini Capricorn -- Taurus -- Virgo  
Cardinal Aries  +mars Cancer -Moon Libra +Venus Capricorn -Saturn  
  Aries - Ego importance, assertive, exerting force, being number one [adventurous, perceptive, personal focus to life]

impulsive selfish

Cancer - emotional and domestic security [seeks popularity]

tenacious, sensitive, clinging

Libra - to please and gain appreciation socially; being popular, fair, attractive[reformers, prophets, idealists; sensitive, humanitarian, truth, beauty]

co-operatively, lazy

Capricorn - making things happen; organizing, strategizing and deploying resources, ambition, worldly
[power, hardworking, serious...but an ascent is possible into spiritual/householder]

prudent, cautious, suspicious

Fixed Leo  +Su n Scorpio -Mars, Pluto Aquarius +Uranus [+Saturn ] Taurus -Venus  
  Leo - seeks recognition, respect, love and honor, ego triumph, Will

generous, proud, theatrical

Scorpio - control by knowing; get to the bottom of things; research; being significant, self-sufficient, right
 [mysterious ++ occult, yoga (Tantra) >> profound insight]

passionate, sensitive, anxious

Aquarius - Innovation, social outreach, humanitarianism
(mw)  [self-negation or sacrifice; no charisma]

democratic, unconventional, detached

Taurus - Keeping things as they are, or making them as they should be, to maintain structure, organization and security
 [stable, enduring, strong sense of relationships, happy home life]

resourceful, thorough, indulgent

Mutable Sagittarius +Jupiter Pisces (mw) Neptune [-Jupiter] Gemini +Mercury Virgo -Mercury  
  Sagittarius - Opinionated; self-assertion to know what is proper; affecting thought; idealistic
 mutable [harmony, moral or higher mind disposition, conventional]

freedom, straightforward, careless

Pisces - Feeling, understanding, having compassion and identifying the ideal; working with the intangible
[intuitive, mutable, sentimental, past, ceremony, music, amorphous, weak confidence]

imaginative, sensitive, distracted

Gemini - diversity, communication, cleverness, inquisitive, wit, and the idea of being scintillating, clever

logical, superficial

Virgo - refinement, discrimination, being exact, cerebral, correct, accuracy

practical, efficient, critical




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Last modified: December 20, 2012

Updated: December 24, 2012 03:13:56 AM