Arthurian Legend - the Four Pages


I found it interesting that rather than having the Pages appear as humans accepting the gift of their suit, Ferguson chose to show the gift as an animal. I actually like this a lot.

The Four animals are : Swords - The Adder; Spears - The Hare; Cups - The Salmon; and Shields - The Badger.

The one I connect with the most is the Salmon, because I know two stories in which the Salmon is the fish of wisdom. ( I mentioned this in an earlier thread.)

The Hare seems to be a shapeshifter -- there are stories in which shapeshifting happens, and the hare always seems to figure in that. I also think of the Goddess Eostre (after whom Easter is named) - and one of her forms was a rabbit. So the energy of new life (thus the easter egg with the bunny - two symbols of spring), the huge reproductive capacity of hares and rabbits seems right with the sexual energy of the fire suit as well.

The Adder, a snake or serpent, is often connected with wisdom and is often another Goddess symbol. In the book, Ferguson says the serpent was timekeeper for Arthur. His coming was foretold by a sky serpent (comet), and the adder incited the battle between Arthur and Mordred that ended the kingdom. Interesting that here she chose the Adder, the poisonous snake of the end, rather than the comet which she uses as the star card. So this card relates to the Star card as a beginning and ending. The serpent is thought to be intelligent but not good in Christian tradition. Thus, St. Patrick chasing all the snakes out of Ireland, meant getting rid of Goddess religion and evil to the Christians.

In spite of the Grail and everything else, though, it is the Adder who ends it all, a messenger of the Goddess. Interesting.

I love the Badger, who lives in the earth. In my tradition, we have Grandmother Woodchuck, who also lives in the earth. She is wise, old, and steadfast. The Badger is seen as courageous, and is a good omen.

Does anyone else have thoughts on these cards?


It is really different having the animals on the cards rather than humans. Court cards are always hard for me to read, but these really make me have to stop and think, especially since I'm trying so very hard to read the cards and not the books. I find I draw a lot on my own preconcieved ideas of the animals themselves rather than the traditional meanings.

Badgers lived in ditches and embankments near the farm I grew up on and were dangerous, or atleast that's what I remember about them. Not very nice or even tempered, so I have to chuck that concept. Or I think of Badger from "Wind in the Willows". Rabbits were wary and ran away, so I think of them as timid, another thing I have to disregard, or Peter Rabbit, that naughty boy. Snakes were just plain scary and to be avoided, we always had to be on the look out for rattlesnakes. Everytime the Page of Cups comes up, I always relate it to fishing, since that is our livelihood and think of Omega III, the oil in salmon that improves your health, well being, and makes your mind work better. Not very Tarot, but ...


I have to agree. I have always had troouble reading the court cards, because they give no clues in the images of what they mean. I, too, am conected with the Page of Cups. The Adder I always read as a need for more prudence in you choices. Question, WHat does the Page of Shields mean?


I think of the Page of Pentacles as reliable, tenacious, resolute, nose to the grindstone, the perfect student, serious, practical, diligent. Slow to make judgment, conservative, thourough. Probably study engineering or natural sciences, banking, business management, farming, veterinarian, etc. If he has any messages, they would be how to remove spots from your carpet and how to change the oil filter in your car, or maybe an invitation to a health spa, or a pie eating contest. If you were down he'd bring over comfort food and give a reassuring massage or something. He'd be the one to say a homily, "Don't cry over spilt milk" and grab a sponge. His motto might be, "early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise"

Wands are passion, Pentacles are sensation, so he is about feeling good in the physical/material sense. Hate to be a pig, but he is also about self gratification in all it's forms, or so I was told.

This one would be more comfortable in rural settings, somewhere he can wriggle his toes in the dirt, play with the animals, enjoy the great outdoors, a real nature lover. If this is a kid, you can never keep his hands, face or clothes clean because his favorite thing is making mud pies or digging the moat for the sand castle, building tree houses, etc. It reminds me of my cousin who dug trenches out in the tree grove and made a whole WWII war zone complete with barbed wire so we could play Combat Zone when we were kids. I would also imagine this to be a very physical person, athletic, more football than track team.

I hadn't really thought of all this until now. Don't know where it came from.


wow. I'd never thought of the Page quite so graphically. That is really great. What I think is interesting, is that Rachel Pollack describes the Page of Pentacles as the most spiritual card in the deck. He is contemplating the Pentacle, seeing the divine in the mundane.

I would have thought that cousing who made the WWII combat zone would be the Knight of Pents, all that action. I don't know, it may still be my difficulty with the Court Cards.


Since we were about 10 or 12 at the time...Knights in training? LOL


I also find the Pages intreguing.

The Page of Shields is often a reminder to me that I am badgering something to death, worrying it - because it's there, because it's real, because I am attracted to it, because I am curious. He can also be defensiveness and protective - badgers have a thick, loose skin which helps them wriggle out of the clutches of would-be predators and protects them against insect stings. What stands out the most at the moment for me about this Page is his pain tollerance and ability to thrive in a dry (or, in relation to the tarot elements, emotionless) environment because they are for the most part solitary, taking what they need in the way of sustanance - he is a survivor.

The Page of Swords I relate sometimes to invasiveness - like security cameras, prying for information, keeping secrets - things you would rather hide, whether it is an action, feeling or thought - something you may know and are not sure what to think of or say about it because it may pose danger either to yourself of someone else - having the wisdom to know when to keep quiet or skirt direct response - suspecting or anticipating something and taking evasive action or seeing a situation you are not sure what to make of, but that grabs your attention - wanting to find out the facts. The adder is smooth and fast, generally only aggressive when threatened - a master at camouflage.

Whilst I don't know much about salmon, the spawning aspect always brings to mind birth or beginning - something to celebrate. The fragility of something new - special feelings and friendships, the mystery of the imagination poured out into creating something beautiful. I've read that salmon don't eat whilst swimming upriver, making them weak, and I presume, easy prey in this sensitive state. For me the Page of Cups lives in and for emotional experience - the water that surrounds the salmon is it's life, it's world - how do they know where to go to breed? - they just know.

Hares (unlike rabbits) are born with their eyes open - ready to take on the world, they can see where they need to go and have strong back legs to take them there. The Page of Wands, although it can be skittish when frightened, is very often banter between friends and the enthusiasm with which we go into a situation, it is delightfully trusting of peers and very aware of what it can accomplish. He tends to be shy but very sociable when engaged in activities or conversation.

Thanks for looking at the Pages RedMaple - just this morning I was having a confrontation with my Page of Shields - it's so good to get other's perspectives! :)


Lyones, your interp for Page of Cups...spawning!!! How could that have escaped me? So could it also be slippery and elusive? They do just know where to go instinctively, even if they were moved to another place when they were little, they will go to where they were born to start the cycle over again. So this could be about cycles too, inborn patterns or repeating ones.????

It is true that once salmon are into the spawning mode, long before they hit the stream, they stop eating and sort of start disintegrating, by the time they have laid their eggs or fertilized them, they look...gross. Sort of like they are decomposed before they are dead, but it provides sustainence for the babies once they hatch. Sorry, I'm sure that's a visual no one needed.


So this could be about cycles too, inborn patterns or repeating ones.????

As it's seen as a "courtship card" in most decks, I suppose it could relate to cycles in the way one goes about attracting love - I do find it interesting that they disintergrate though, perhaps on a metaphorical sense it is peeling away old hurts and allowing yourself to be open to what can be, or what is, "shedding detachment" - the exterior is of no importance, it only serves as a vehicle for what's inside - the emotion, the intuition. Forgetting to eat and sleep could also be symbolic of someone whose sole motivation is devotion (either to someone/something special or a new born?). It's as if their whole life has been designed to return, create and sacrifice (the old way of life for someone or something else that takes presedence?)

So could it also be slippery and elusive?
*lol* I will remember that next time I see this card reversed! I like it :)


I like the way you took my questions and opened up a whole new dimension for this Page. That emotional turbulence of the early stages of romance, when your stomach is so full of butterflies (they do eat bugs) that you can't eat and have no need to.

The self sacrifice to nurture young...or even something that is contained in a cup and has to emerge before you know what is in it...fertility issues? Pregnancy. We feed our babies from ourselves. I'm forgetting my medical terminology, but at one point in our gestational state, sometime in the early formation, before the arm and leg buds develop, we really do look like little fish.

Or another one for the fish leaping up, is getting your head out of your emotions so you can see what is going on. A reality check.

So if it's reversed...there's something fishy about it? Some big stink? Or there are lots more fish where this one came from? LOL
Sometimes I take it literally, like a fish out of water...not quite sure what's going on and feeling out of my element.

Or be careful around the aquarium...don't want them falling out and all over the floor.