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How to Read the Court Cards

A mini series. Part 2: Wands

Part 2 of the Court Cards series continues with a look at the Courts within the Wands suit. If you’ve landed here and haven’t yet read part one, I’d recommend you hop backwards and begin with the Cups.

Page, Knight, Queen and King of Wands on a wooden surface
Wands Court Cards: The fiery, creative family within tarot. Deck: Rider Smith Waite Tarot

Wands represent the element of fire. At its most basic, fire warms us and cooks our food. It lights our path and chases away darkness. Fire also burns within. It stokes passion, determination, and transformation, but can be a destructive force, too. An untended fire can rage out of control, reducing structures and environments to a pile of ash.

When Wands appear in a tarot reading, they indicate movement, creativity, and adventure. Think of Wands as the season of Summer, when the earth is alive with growth. It's hard to keep gardens tamed during this season. A spell of heat and rain, and growth spurts overnight. Summer also stirs a sense of adventure; the call to explore and expand horizons. We spend more time outdoors, lazing over meals, indulging our senses as we taste, feel, hear, touch, and see. These fiery qualities transfer to the Court Cards in the Wands suit. Where the Cups are touchy-feely and love deep, meaningful conversation, the Wands prefer to be dashing into adventure, testing boundaries and embracing creativity.

A quick reminder of the foundations of Court Cards: They represent people, traits, and personalities. Unlike the other cards within the deck, they don’t relate to events or life lessons.

As discussed in Part 1, it helps to frame the Court Cards as a family, with the King representing the father, the Queen, the mother, the Knight, a teenager or young adult, and the Page, a child or pre-teen. Gender is flexible with the Court Cards. We all possess both masculine and feminine qualities, so a female querent can take on aspects of a King, or a male the qualities of a Queen. The same applies to age. Remember, too, that while the cards represent age, gender, and personality traits, they’re not set in stone, especially if intuition tells you otherwise.

When interpreting Courts Cards, consider first what the card represents by ascertaining if the card holds a literal or figurative translation.

Literal interpretation means the card represents an actual person in the querent’s life. Clues to that person’s identity will be visible in the card.

Figurative intrepretation means a symbolic representation, for example, an aspect of the client themselves, or the energy encompassed by the card influencing the querent’s situation. Upright Court Cards typically represent the influence is a positive or active one, reversed cards indicate a more positive or latent effect.

Literal translations of the Wands

Physical Attributes

While a loose guide, typically, Wands attributes are a pale to olive complexion, blue or green eyes, and hair that is blonde, light brown, or red.

Personality Traits

Page: Enthusiastic, confident, and impulsive. The Page’s heart is in the right place, but gets carried away with their passion. Eager to learn and quick to dive in.

Knight: A roguish daredevil full of charm. He can be cocky, but generally gets away with it. He can be impulsive, preferring to act before thinking.

Queen: Warmth, creativity, and passion surround the Queen of Wands. She oozes personal power, but is sometimes fiery. She has the ability to command a room, yet is equally proficient at nurturing.

King: A creative master. Full of charisma, he’s an inspirational leader who gathers devoted followers. Success and completion come easily to the King. He achieves with perceived ease, but in reality, he’s a smart cookie.

Need to picture a character who represents the Wands energy? Here are a few literary characters that embody that passionate Wands vibe. Who would you add?

Page: Frodo Baggins, Anne of Green Gables, Willow Rosenberg.

Knight: Han Solo, Harry Potter, Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Damon Salvatore.

Queen: Maleficent, Samantha Jones, Bonnie Bennett, Frida Kahlo.

King: Aragorn Stormsinger, Mr Big, Jerry Maguire.

Signs of the Zodiac Wheel

Astrological Attributes

Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius correspond to Wands. Aries mantra is ‘I am’, Leo; ‘I will’ and Sagittarius; ‘I perceive’, reflecting the confident, determined, and passionate characteristics of the Wands. These zodiac signs represent warm, charismatic people. Reflect on Aries, Leo, or Sagittarius people in your life and how they embody Wands energy.

Figurative Translations of the Wands

If applying any of the aforementioned literal translations to Court Cards feels intuitively off track, it’s time to examine the figurative interpretations. Occasionally, Court Cards don’t reflect a person in the querent’s life. Instead, they can take on a symbolic meaning or represent an aspect the querent is experiencing. Always take surrounding cards into consideration and listen to intuition.

Symbolic Representations of Wands

Page: News or a message relating to work/career or creative projects.

Knight: Action or progress relating to work/career or creative projects.

Queen: Positive nurturing or progression of work/career or creative projects.

King: Effective management or a leadership role in work/career or creative projects.

In terms of energetic representations, I like to apply the following aspects to the Court Cards:

Pages: The spark

Knights: The action

Queens: The nurturing

Kings: The culmination

If, for example, the client has a Knight appearing in their reading, it can reflect the client being proactive in the drive to succeed, or in the case of a King of Wands, an indication they’re about to see a creative project reach a successful close.

Page, Knight, Queen and King of Wands tarot cards

Traditional Meanings

While the above are all important when getting to know the Court Cards, we’ve also got the traditional meanings to consider. You can open any tarot book to dive deeper into each card, but here are a few keywords for further understanding of the overall meaning:

Page: Good news relating to career/work or a creative project. A spirited new beginning. A youthful, energetic person whose confidence may lead to impulsiveness. Talent, original thinking, and determination will prove invaluable.

Knight: An energy of fiery bravado. The Knight gallops into action, chasing his desires without care. A sexy charmer, he’s roguish, but full of adventure. Energy is primed and is ready to fire on all cylinders with the Knight. Whatever the focus, determination is unfaltering and passion burns.

Queen: A courageous leader who inspires. Hooked into her creativity, she’s a powerhouse of passion and nurturing energy. Where the Page and Knight brought spark and action, the Queen transforms the matter into being. Full of vitality and power, she’s a true witchy energy.

King: Mastery of creativity. With the King of Wands, it’s time to be fearless. Express yourself, make bold, courageous moves. An almost flamboyant energy, there’s no hiding with the King. An original thinker with lots of charisma.

Page, Knight, Queen and King of Wands reversed
The Court of Wands reversed. Deck: Rider Smith Waite

Reversed Wands

When the Court Cards appear reversed, there are two aspects to consider. First, a simple reversal of the card’s traditional meanings detailed here:

Page: Unwelcome news comes with a reversed Page. A project falls apart, or enthusiasm fades before action can be taken. Sometimes, it can represent attention flitting from one shiny thing to the next, or a person who talks the talks, but fails to walk the walk. Reversed Pages can be lazy and/or rebellious, throwing a spanner in the works.

Knight: Unchecked impulse, with regret typically close behind. A reversed Knight hops from one relationship to the next, not giving a damn about leaving a trail of broken hearts. Stagnancy can also appear with this reversal; a situation where hesitancy brings action to a grinding halt and passion quickly fizzles out.

Queen: Instead of nurturing, a reversed Queen represents selfishness. She works only for herself and what she can gain. A classic ‘Mean Girl’ who bullies and demeans. It can also indicate a promiscuous lover or a shuttered heart.

King: Fearful and timid. Afraid to stand out or speak up. Manipulation or the abuse of power. Allowing ego to lead the way. Blindly following a passion, only to end up disappointed.

When it comes to literal translation of a reversed Court Card, the same personality, age, and physical attributes apply, but the overall suggestion is that their influence on the querent or situation is a negative one. Therefore, an upright Queen could represent a positive, active influence on the querent, but reversed, could indicate a negative, latent influence. Again, listen to intuition and take into consideration the surrounding cards. Read reversals on a case-by-case basis. There are no hard and fast rules.

The next part of the Court Card series dives into Pentacles. Spend time with the Cups and Wands Court Cards until then. Pair them with people or characters familiar to you. Consider how you may embody some of their traits, or reflect on aspects with which you don’t connect. Can you decipher why? Journaling is a great way to connect with tarot. Check out this article on journaling if you’re new to the practice or looking for inspiration, and if the idea of tailored, affordable tarot tuition piques your interest, check out Tarot Tuition here.

Until the next time, enjoy hanging with the Courts!

What are your experiences with the Court Cards? Do you struggle to read them, or find them an enjoyable part of tarot? I’m always open for a tarot natter, so reach out to me at


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