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Physical Descriptions for Court Cards

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 08 Mar 2003, and now archived in the Forum Library.



ironick  08 Mar 2003 
As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm new to studying Tarot cards. Do some of you sometimes use a physical description of a person for court cards (instead or in addition to the personality or traits they represent)? For instance, the queen of cups, is a blond woman with light skin and light eyes, etcetera. If so, what descriptions do you attach to each card? 


lawguy51  08 Mar 2003 
Not for every court card, but for some, I assign an actual person in my life who is the embodiment of that card. The King and Queen of Wands for instance. My ex-inlaws are the poster children for those two cards. It's a good place to start from and gives you a basis of understanding for the court cards, which I initially found difficult to interpret.

Lawguy51 


HudsonGray  08 Mar 2003 
For me it's nearly always aspects of the card that is the main thrust. The physical appearance on the cards is very limiting--what do you do with someone who's Hispanic, Phillipino, Native American, African American & shows up as a court card with blond hair & blue eyes? I ignore the hair & eye color. Just like I ignore the body image portrayed--notice how there's never any really fat people in the court cards? By using the aspects, I get a better reading, and let the physical descriptions just sit to the side. 


Trogon  08 Mar 2003 
For the most part I follow along with what HudsonGray says (aren't you extremely pleased to hear that Hudson??? ;) :laugh: ). However... every now and then I get a "flash", a "sense", whatever, that a particular court card in a particular reading actually does indicate just this sort of thing - that the card actually is describing a person. This doesn't happen for me very often and I can only recall (right off the top of my head) 3 times that it has.

Once was several years ago when I did a reading for a young woman who wanted to know about her "love life". The card showed up as the basis for the question and, it turned out, described a guy she was interested in quite well.

The second was last year when an on-line friend asked for a reading and a court card turned up as a strong influence in her life. It also correctly described her (at that time) romantic interest.

The last time was a clarifier card I drew in a reading. This was to clarify a "future" card in a 5-card PPF spread. This turned up a court card (Queen of Pentacles) and I felt this was a specific person who was going to have an influence in her hunt for a new job.

(BTW - the first 2 instances I mentioned were using the Rider-Waite Tarot, the last was using the Spiral Tarot.)

In all 3 cases, I got the general description from the picture on the card itself. As I said, this seldomly happens for me and I do not often think of the court cards as physically describing someone. Rather, the traights, the emotions and so forth, that they portray are the things I go with. This is especially true when I'm using the Röhrig Tarot (where everone looks too perfect) and the Victoria Regina Tarot (where everyone is in black & white). The question has yet to arise with the Dragon Tarot... "hmmm... the Queen of Wands... this indicates a mature woman with brown scaly skin... long horns, wings and a blue jewel in her forhead...". :D 


HudsonGray  08 Mar 2003 
LOL It's all intuition & instinct. Listen to your inner self--if it says blond & blue eyed, fine. If it says brown & scaley...um....you're probably looking at the masquerade at a science fiction convention, but it COULD be accurate! 


Trogon  09 Mar 2003 
Quote:
Originally posted by HudsonGray
LOL It's all intuition & instinct. Listen to your inner self--if it says blond & blue eyed, fine. If it says brown & scaley...um....you're probably looking at the masquerade at a science fiction convention, but it COULD be accurate!
ROFL! Never thought of that! "Hmmm... yes... I see you connecting up with... hmmm... a Vulcan?" 


Alex  09 Mar 2003 
Have people noticed that the most popular tarot decks portray white people (some a bit tanned in the suit of pentacles)? There is a bit of a "race" bias that might work in some parts of the world, but here in the D.C. area I think it falls short for the diversity of types. So I don't like to attribute physical characteristics to the court cards. 


Trogon  10 Mar 2003 
Quote:
Originally posted by Alex
Have people noticed that the most popular tarot decks portray white people (some a bit tanned in the suit of pentacles)? There is a bit of a "race" bias that might work in some parts of the world, but here in the D.C. area I think it falls short for the diversity of types. So I don't like to attribute physical characteristics to the court cards.
Yes... I have noticed that as well, and it is mentioned in a couple of books as well. But, for the most part, it hasn't really been an issue for me. It hasn't come up for me because, as of yet, I haven't had a person of color ask me for a reading yet. It is a good point and one to take into consideration when one starts thinking about designing their own Tarot deck. Though I have noticed that some decks are starting to get away from these anglo-centric images...

The Lakota Sweat Lodge cards leap to my mind because of the Native American population in Northern Arizona. The Tarot of the Ages comes to mind for this reason as well. Then there is the African Tarot, Ancestral Path Tarot and World Spirit Tarot all feature non-white people to one extent or another. There are many others which feature Hispanics, Native American and other peoples. So, while many of the most popular Tarot decks are anglo-centric, there are alternatives... 


Alex  10 Mar 2003 
I haven't either but it would be embarassing if that happening because my decks mostly portray white people. Alex.


Quote:
Originally posted by Trogon
I haven't had a person of color ask me for a reading yet. It is a good point and one to take into consideration when one starts thinking about designing their own Tarot deck...
 


XLCR  10 Mar 2003 
I use the Sacred Circle Tarot deck and have had a number of occasions where the skin color of the images on the card really didn't matter...once doing an online reading I drew the knight of swords and his complection "looked" dark to me - I told the person that I saw a dark complected male - she asked what I ment and i explained not blond not fair but darker skinned as in possibly Italian, Latino, African American etc...she happened to be an African American female so my intuition was correct...another time I did a reading and got The Web/Strenghth card looking at the card which in my deck is a woman of color - I saw a dark skinned women who was short of stature- turns out this fellow was dating a women who was Indian (from india) and was dark skinned and not very tall...so basically I say it's not so much the deck as your own intuition...although it would be nice to see other groups represented. 


DeLani  11 Mar 2003 
I agree with Alex & Hudson too - that the physical descriptions are at best, limiting, and at worst, racist.
I have done several readings for African Americans, Brazilians, Native Americans, and various "mixed-racial" folks. Not to mention folks whose skin, hair, and bodies have been artificially pigmented or altered in various freaky ways (tattoos, piercings, etc.) (including myself! :) ).
I never use a court card significator in a reading - I let the deck tell me what the significator should be, because people can be different things to different people, in different situations, and in different stages of their lives. Example: A single mom going back to school. Might be the Page of Cups (studing counseling), the Queen of Pentacles (managing a household), the Queen of Cups (loving mother to her kids), or even the Three of Pentacles (working hard for a greater reward).
As for court cards in a reading, I agree that you should use the character traits to describe the person, not a physical description (although sometimes I do get flashes of this from my intuition). This opens up the possibilities a lot more, allowing you, the reader, to be more accurate.
Blessings! 


MeeWah  12 Mar 2003 
I tend to see court cards as representing traits or aspects of a person, including representing astrological correspondences. Also minor cards to represent an individual. Have read for folks of different racial backgrounds & sexual orientation. The moment of the reading is what carries, not necessarily what seems to be depicted on the cards. 


The Physical Descriptions for Court Cards thread was originally posted on 08 Mar 2003 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the active threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.

 


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