How to read the Court Cards in Tarot. Part three: The Pentacles
Welcome back to the How to Read the Court Cards series, which continues with the suit of Pentacles. If this is your first intro to this series, I recommend you hop backwards and begin with Part 1: The Cups.
Pentacles represent the element of earth. Earth is a grounding energy that keeps us centred. It helps to stabilise us in times of uncertainty, but also nourishes the seeds we sow.
Within tarot, Pentacles represent the material aspects of life; career, work, home, and finances. These are the elements that bring security; our roots. When the element of earth is balanced, we feel grounded and secure. Life is in order, our work is rewarding, our purses full, and our homes happy. An imbalance can bring rigidity, scattered thought, a sense of losing control, and endeavours that fail.
When Pentacles appear in a tarot reading, they point to stability, security, and our material concerns.
Pentacles are often associated with autumn, when attention turns to the land and the crops we have sown. It’s the season for harvesting, but not just of the land. Pentacles encourage us to look at what our efforts have achieved, and how we can bring further abundance and stability into our lives. Unlike the expansive, exciting nature of Wands, Pentacles are all about steady pace, our resources, and comfort. They represent how we manifest ourselves in the world.
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.
A 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 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 Pentacles
While a loose guide, typically, Pentacles attributes are an olive to dark complexion, brown eyes, and hair that is brown or black.
Page: Hard-working and practical, the Page holds a deep respect for learning. They are logical, results-oriented, and possess a strong sense of purpose. They can be extremely resourceful, and tend to favour intellect over emotion when challenged.
Knight: The most sensible of all the knights, the Knight of Pentacles is a rational, practical character. They don’t rush in like their counterparts, but take a slow and steady approach. They can be conventional almost to the point of being dull, but are reliable and loyal. Clever with finances, they take good care of loved ones.
Queen: Nurturing and resourceful, the queen brings creativity when it comes to work and family. They take pride in their home and possessions, and can be materialistic, but only so loved ones can be secure and comfortable. Skilled at gathering abundance, the queen holds a strong sense of responsibility and is considerate of others. They may repress emotion, preferring to be logical and centred when challenged.
King: An industrious, mature energy, and always in control, the King brings reliability and security. A provider, defender, and leader, they rule their kingdom with fairness. Prone to placing a lot of importance on material possessions, they can neglect the spiritual aspects of life. Enterprising and clever, the King has a Midas touch when it comes to business and finance.
Consider these fictional characters and how they embody Pentacles energy. What people in your life reflect these qualities?
Page: Hermione Granger, Elle Woods (Legally Blonde)
Knight: Dwight Schrute (The Office)
Queen: Professor MacGonnagle, Sansa Stark
King: Giles (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) Tywin Lannister
Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn are the astrological signs associated with Pentacles. Taurus ‘I have’, Virgo ‘I analyse’, and Capricorn’s ‘I use’ natures, all reflect the logical, material, and earthly energies of Pentacles. They all seek to build and sustain with a logical, grounded approach. What suit does your sign represent?
Figurative Translations of the Pentacles
When reading, if applying any of the above literal translations to Court Cards doesn’t intuitively sit right with you, then consider the figurative interpretations. While Court Cards typically reflect a person in the querent’s life, they can sometimes take on a symbolic meaning, or represent an aspect challenging the querent. Always take the surrounding cards into consideration and listen to your intuition.
Page of Pentacles: News or a message relating to finances, wealth/possession, or property.
Knight of Pentacles: Action or progress relating to finances, wealth/possession, or property.
Queen of Pentacles: Positive nurturing or development of finances, wealth/possession, or property.
King of Pentacles: Effective management and expansion of finances, wealth/possession, or property.
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 Queen appearing in their reading, it can reflect the client focussing on progression and nurturing. In the case of a Page, it indicates ideas and drive to begin a a new project or the drive to enhance skills.
Traditional Meanings of the Pentacles Court Cards
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 of the Pentacles:
Page: A focused and driven person; someone who’s going places. Good news in relation to finances; perhaps an investment paying off, or the launch of a lucrative project. Where the Ace dreams, the Page takes action, so this is a card of bringing dreams to life, or proving oneself, and working towards the future.
Knight: A steady and calm energy, the Knight of Pentacles indicates a cautious, logical approach. A reliable person whose conservative ways will benefit a situation. There may be stubbornness, a tendency to dig heels in, but the Knight knows what they’re doing, and their wisdom will pay off.
Queen: A fertile and creative energy, when this Queen appears, she calls for reliability and nurturing. Be resourceful. You have what you need, and a little creative thinking will allow you to make ends meet. Abundance, generosity, and manifestation are also represented. The Queen of Pentacles is happiest when creating a comfortable, peaceful environment. She cares deeply for her loved ones and protects them.
King: The master of manifestation, when the King of Pentacles appears, it’s a positive sign. Hard work and dedication will pay off with abundance. The King can appear as a mentor, someone who guides you with integrity and generosity. Productivity and affluence come with this card, as long as the intent behind the wealth is positive. Too much focus on material possessions can lead to skewed morals. A generous leader who enjoys the good life.
When Court Cards appear reversed, there are two aspects to consider. First, a simple reversal of the card’s traditional meanings detailed here:
Page: Distraction or lack of focus leads to failure. A plan or investment crumbles. A reversed Page is a lazy student, one who can’t be bothered to study. They may have a greedy streak or lack integrity. If focus isn’t pulled in, the outlook is bleak.
Knight: A lazy, good-for-nothing person who does nothing to better themselves. Stubborn and materialistic, they want the good life, but without putting in any work. They can also refuse to see sense and insist on doing things their way, which typically leads to failure and pushing people away. Sometimes, a reversed Knight of Pentacles can indicate failure, despite your best efforts.
Queen: A reversed Queen is a selfish, lazy woman, who takes no pride in her appearance or home. She can be envious and conniving, thinking only of what she can gain from a situation. Her focus is typically on herself, not her family, and when she does interact with them, it’s to control and criticise. A reversed Queen can also represent relying entirely on another for finances, and perhaps feeling trapped in a relationship because of this lack of financial independence.
King: A greedy, manipulative person, one who typically lives beyond their means. They want it all, but have no interest in working to achieve it. Self-worth is based on status symbols and wealth with a reversed King of Pentacles. Corruption, embezzlement, or using money as a means of control are typical behaviours. A bully who cares only for personal gain.
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 King 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 final part of the Court Card series dives into Swords. Spend time with the Cups, Wands, and Pentacles 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?
Now you have three suits to compare, what common themes can you see? Journaling is a great way to connect with tarot. There’s an article here 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 email@example.com
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