After we dabbled in the deeper meanings of the Major Arcana, I would like us to focus now on the tarot’s court members, those royal characters that round up the suits of the Minor Arcana. They are infamously difficult to interpret, especially if you are a novice at reading tarot. Also, these characters are part of the Minor Arcana, because this Arcana deals with mundane and everyday aspects of our lives and their energies (while the Major Arcana deals with fated, predestined and deux-ex-machina kind of events in life).
After some time spent on feeling through their energies, I find that the court cards are also the most fun apparitions in a spread, especially in love readings. Tradition has it that they represent real people that might appear in your life, but they could also speak of traits that are energetically looming around you and you just need some tarot awareness to reach out and grab those traits and integrate them into your full, loving and wholesome Self. Overall, these cards show action, or the potential for action that appears in your life, and they mark events and the human energies that infiltrate such events.
In today’s post, I want to focus on the Pages. What is a Page? This is a young person, an apprentice, a mind waiting to be newly formed. Metaphorically speaking, the pages symbolise the life force bursting at the seems, and the excitement we all feel when faced with a new adventure. The Merriam Webster Online Dictionary defines a page as:
1): a youth being trained for the medieval rank of knight and in the personal service of a knight (2): a youth attendant on a person of rank especially in the medieval period, b: a boy serving as an honorary attendant at a formal function (such as a wedding), 3: one employed to deliver messages, assist patrons, serve as a guide, or attend to similar duties
So Pages represent potential and its awakening. They show what lies in balance, at the in-between, much like young people transition from the stage of childhood to adulthood, through adolescence – exactly this part, the tumultuous adolescence is marked by the Pages.
If Page energy could speak it would say: “Whooaw! Let Me Do it (Page of Wands)/Have it (Page of Coins)/Think it (Page of Swords)/Love it (Page of Cups)”. But while that yummy impulse is there, the skills and expertise are sadly lacking; most of the time the plan is lacking as well, but the drive is certainly there. And that is the Divine purpose of the Pages, to build on that drive, to allow it to manifest in order to prepare for the adventure (The Knights Group), which indicates how the energy of the Pages ripens at the Knights-stage in the tarot.
I always love to consider the order of the cards in the tarot, since to me it doesn’t appear random at all. The Pages usually follow the 10s of the Minor Arcana and are preceeded by the Knights. If it is easier to consider the growth of the youthful Page into the charming Knight, it is not usually discussed among the tarot readers on YouTube, what links are there between the 10s and the Pages. In my interpretation, what each ten ripens into and completes, the Page then shifts to another level. For example, the 10 of Swords is the epitome of the death of the Ego brought on by too much over-thinking; it is a dramatic card that contains a lot of pain and betrayal but also a lot of hope, since traditionally in the Rider-Waite deck it portrays a man stabbed in the back by 10 swords, bleeding to death on a peaceful shore over which the sun is rising or setting (at that beautiful Zenith hour of the day).
So the Page of Swords comes in after this energy, and you can imagine that considering the landscape just described, the Page of Swords is not a very happy guy – on the contrary he frowns, he is ready to defend himself, he is also swift and easy on the feet, capable of escaping the scenery any second now. The Page of Swords is about that uncomfortable realization that we can be our own worst enemies, through the pesimistic and victimsing thoughts we sometimes think. He is Air energy, and his light-footed stance shows us that to dispel lingering frowns, we are asked to change the way we think, and thereby how we speak to ourself and to those around us.
But let’s take each Page one by one and see more deeply what these young men are all about. Below is a summary I created from the booklets of my tarot deck collection, to which I added a personal twist:
The Page of Swords
Meaning & Interpretations:
- Represents the signs of Gemini/Libra/Aquarius as adolescents.
- This Page speaks of a new spark of inspiration, a change of mind that shapes your reality differently, a creative idea that can unblock communication, a desire to start up a new study program, to improve your education and social status. Air energy is about how we come across to others, it is about the creation of culture and many different forms of speech and communication, and the Page shows this potential, like a match lit in the dark, or ‘in the beginning there was the Word’.
- Practical application of ideas, putting words into action and renewing your thinking. Acknowledging your curiosity about something, developping your capacity to rationally balance sides and analyze a situation, and training your spirit of observation.
- This card can also indicate somebody who is skilled at perceiving hidden truths but is often underestimated due to his youth. A person with a very inquisitive mind who needs a lot of mental stimulation, a person adept at perceiving the unknown – so in a love spread this Page indicates that the truth will be revealed and swift communication is on the way (could be blunt). There is a struggle here to birth the truth by marrying opposing forces, the unconscious archetypes with our conscious reasoning. This card also indicates a frenetic mind, one which is not mature enough to find profound stillness – a storm of learning, restless communication and uncomfortable nervous states, buzzing about with intellectual excitement and impatience to know as much as possible, and quickly.
- The Good Tarot offers the following affirmation to pair with the Page of Swords: If I explore this way of thinking, what can I learn?
The Page of Cups
Meaning & Interpretations:
- Represent the signs of Cancer/Scorpio/Pisces as adolescents.
- This Page speaks of new emotional spark, a timid beginning, a flash of insight into the workings of your unconscious, a love offer, an invitation to open up your heart and just go with the flow. The act of surrender will actually benefit you in your next endeavour (think here of the Hindu Goddess Akhilanda).
- This card can also indicate a compassionate person, a moment of deep gratitude, someone who is innocent and has a dreamy nature, but can also be overly-sensitive or deeply vulnerable. He comes right after the blissful 10 of Cups, so he has the consciousness of personal bliss and is able now to take action in fulfilling his dreams into reality (that is, if he decides he genuinely wants to pursue his feelings and not simply feel them and remain remote).
- This is the Page of impressions, he prefers quality over quantity anytime and he sometimes might prefer the act of imagining over that of doing or genuinly manifesting something into being. Often the realm of romantic fantasy is somehow more real to our Page than reality itself.
- This card indicates a person who is willing to offer help and services. Our Page is learning from our Knight of Cups how to court without coming across too aggressively, how to sensitively approach a relationship and how to deal with delicate matters, even how to keep secrets and to become good at love-making of all kinds (the Water element is fertile, imaginative, secretive, creative and retentive).
- This young man is just about to begin his psychological journey, where he will have to rise above jealousy, manipulation, possession and seduction; he will need to reconcile his intuition (the fish in his cup) to his physicality (his human body). He is a great romantic who falls in love easily without observing the entire situation. I love how in the Muse Tarot, this Page symbolizes a light releasing of control, similar to the water pouring into his cup to save the fish asking for his help.
- The Good Tarot offers the following affirmation to pair with the Page of Cups: I open my heart fully, allowing myself to feel childlike wonder and innocence
The Page of Coins/Pentacles
Meaning & Interpretations:
- Represents the signs of Taurus/Virgo/Capricorn as adolescents.
- This Page represents a new material spark, learning the ropes of the trade, developping a good work ethic, beginning to understand how the law of manifestation and a prosperity mindset work in everyday circumstances.
- The Page looks like he just discovered a precious coin, a treasure, and he is about to pour all his energy into making that coin into his farm/his house/his castle. So this card symbolizes a gift from God, much like the Ace of Coins, but with the Page you have to put in the effort to take advantage of the opportunity, and invest your gift wisely.
- You are now learning how and whom to trust with your gifts, whom to listen to and take on as a mentor, and how to use your energy in pragmatic ways: how to build things and preserve them, how to eat well, dress well, study well, and save up money, how to keep your body healthy and in line with traditional expectations.
- The Page of Coins wants to understand tradition in order to uphold it. Keep in mind he comes into being right after the 10 of Pentacles, so he has the abundance mindset, unconsciously wired into his being, which means that he knows deep down inside that the land is wealthy and filled with opportunities that he can capitalize on. So he wants to invest well his gifts in order to learn how to control his resources and make from one coin, a thousand coins.
- This Page is slowly learning from the Knight of Pentacles, how to work well in the service of others and thereby acquire material goods and financial rewards. I think I just realized while writing this article, that the Page of Pentacles is the one closest to my heart, or at least the one I am better able to comprehend.
- The Good Tarot offers the following affirmation to pair with the Page of Pentacles: Everything starts with a plan, and I am beginning to see results generate prosperity
The Page of Wands
Meaning & Interpretations:
- Represents the signs of Aries/Leo/Sagittarius as adolescents.
- This Page speaks of a new dynamic spark, a burst of excitement, starting on a new endeavour/project/game/chase/adventure. Building your self-confidence through conscious awareness of how others perceive your actions. Setting the intention to explore your sexuality, to improve and be more confident in your romantic pursuits.
- Indicates a free spirit, one crowned by the soul’s path, a visionary who oftens forges ahead into unexplored territories, guided only by belief. An envoy, a stranger with good intentions, a bearer of important news. One who is learning about magic and energy, by carefully controlling his will and his body (the staff the Page is admiring seems to be a strong phallic symbol, so in a love reading this card also indicates the control over an orgasm or physical pleasure in general).
- Our fiery Page has a zest for life, and is very vibrant and a little bit cocky 🙂 In the Muse Tarot this card signifies a symphony of solutions, answers and potentials. He represents a willingness to try new things, to take risk, to be playful and to bravely confront and battle inner demons. Our Page wants to become the hero, and he is learning this under the tutelage of the Knight of Wands, who carves the path forward on which our Page is optimistically treading, as he is becoming independent and learning to handle himself in many unexpected situations.
- He comes right after the 10 of Wands, which speaks of releasing a tremendous burden and letting go of the fight. So in this well-rested mood, our Page dresses up to the Aces and with confidence and gusto tries to see what manipulating only one and extensively long wand could do for him (cue all the sexual innuendos you’d like, this card is as straightforward sexually as the phallic Ace of Wands).
- The Good Tarot offers the following affirmation to pair with the Page of Wands: I am finding my purpose, as I take the next step into something new
Alternative Tarot Interpretations
In my view, there is no better and more comprehensive interpretation of the court cards than the one provided by the mystical Mary-El tarot. This was the first deck I purchased, after the classic Rider-Waite deck was gifted to me, and its mystical energy can be deeply felt just by holding the large cards. Marie White took 20 years to paint the images that are depicted in the cards, and most of them stemmed from her therapeutical sessions. The booklet that accompanies the tarot deck has a comprehensive explanation of the Kabbalistic, Christian-Orthodox and Occult significance of each Page, and many times their are portrayed in a gender-bending manner which appeals to me very much!
In the Muse Tarot the elements of the Pages get transformed – from Swords to Voices, from Wands to Inspiration, from Coins to Materials and from Cups to Emotions. Then in the Voyager Tarot the Pages take the shape of the Children of a family group (while the Knights are the Men, the Queens are the Women, and the Kings are the Sages). It’s a beautiful interpretation that is close to my heart, since I also see the Pages as this vibrant and youthful burst of energy, that requires some training to grow into something magnificent. On a deeper level, Page energy is about bringing back a spark into your life, or restarting a relatioship by approaching it in a different way (whether through a new mental, material, emotional or sexual medium).
Lastly, in the sensitively channeled Mystical Dream Tarot, the Pages are now Dreamers. They bridge the realm of the realm with the realm of the possible. I love this vibe and I feel that this entire deck has a very strong Neptunian influence, as if captured from a life-long dream. Unsurprisingly, it inspired me to create a Dream Love Story Tarot Series, so all my gratitude goes to Janet Piedilato for creating this deck. Janet much like Marie White, spent a considerable amount of time paiting this deck, which also stemmed from her therapeutic sessions where she explored images from her unconscious. I think such a background in personal development adds some extra ‘spiritual weight’ to these two tarot sets and makes them unique.
To some extent, I see modern day tarot readers as the brave explorers of the unconscious much like the Dada and Surrealist Group of Artists were between the World Wars, with figures such as Dali, Max Ernst, Leonora Carrington and Lee Miller. I hope this post helped you see your own tarot practice in a new light. Keep in mind this is only my perspective which was acquired from studying the tarot since 2012, but feel free to share your opinions in the comments section below.
With universal love,
Want to support my writing? Feel free to buy me a coffee here https://ko-fi.com/thespiritualsocial to keep these posts flowing 🙂