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Court cards

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greycats
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Re: Court cards

Post by greycats » 28 Sep 2017, 05:56

Here’s what I did to the Court and How: Starting with the result.

I did a three card draw and come up with Queen of Wands, 5 of pentacles & Knight of Pentacles. Ordinarily I be asking myself, “who are these people and why are they here ? But now, no mystery: I need to pay the property tax. It’s due in a week and I’d forgotten about it.

Five of pentacles means somebody’s bank account is going to take a hit.

I pay the bills for the farm, a family enterprise. So I’m the Queen of Wands in this instance.

And who is the Knight of Pentacles? Someone who performs earthbound services and is connected to me in some way. My son might fit the description but he’s a thousand miles away and there’s no debt between us. The most likely candidate is the County Road and Bridge Maintenance Department which is supported with tax dollars some of which are sitting in my outbox. The irony is that the Maintenance Department is the one hurting for cash. Not us.

********************
Here’s how I got here.

I asked myself why we didn't just have pip cards up to #14? Some game card decks do. Why do we need a court? What does it do? I confess I didn’t want to get rid of it, but I didn’t know if the court had an essential function.

Then one day I looked the court when it happened to be arranged in an array and wondered if what I was seeing was a network. Tarot, in general, is not very organized except for the court which is organized to a fault. And the only organizational basis that I saw was rank.

But rank implies obligations in both directions. The page owes the King and Queen certain services and they owe the page something valuable in return. Etc. Start filling in that array and you get quite a bit of information.

Then I asked myself what these people did. What was their basic function? That opened the gates. What did kings do? What did queens do? They were CEOs, war leaders, entrepreneurs. They wore all kinds of hats. So their aspect might change with the function they were fulfilling. And the same thing to a lesser degree applies to knights and pages.

Next issue: how does all this apply to us, now? Through our communities. Castles were communities, not just housing. We’re still the same creatures that we were in 1400 A.D. We need the same things.
So the court can serve to map relationships and obligations. #s 11 through 14 can’t do that.

greycats

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Barleywine
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Re: Court cards

Post by Barleywine » 28 Sep 2017, 09:20

Thanks for creating an opening for me to insert my spread that's based on the hierarchical roles of the medieval court. i added a few fantasy elements to it, but the core as you envision it is still intact. I do seem to have missed the Pages, though.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/qogh7mkon0h0e ... .pdf?raw=1

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Nemia
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Re: Court cards

Post by Nemia » 21 Oct 2017, 07:23

I want to show you all a very interesting variation of the court cards, one I've never seen before. In the Star Tarot by Cathy McClelland, the Kings, Queens and Knights keep their title and sex.

But the Pages become Princes and Princesses. The "masculine" Wands and Swords get a Prince, the "feminine" Cups and Pentacles get a Princess.

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Now one might argue that this emphasis on the masculine, active character of Fire and Air vs the feminine, passive character of Water and Earth underlines gender stereotypes - but let's be honest, the theory of the Four Humours is gendered from the start; the whole binary split of the world uses the man-woman-difference in a way that we today see as 1. too simplistic because not everyone fits neatly into one category (actually quite a large number of people don't) and 2. these categories were used to keep women in the "inferior" position since it defined them as passive, unspiritual and uncreative by nature.

The only way to deal with it is to see the whole male-female thing as metaphor and as an offer to identify with whatever degree of passivity or activity, light or darkness, spirit or matter etc we choose at a specific moment in time. Categories have become fluid.

And I see McClelland's choice as expression of this fluidity. I'd probably have liked it even more if she had given us Princesses of Wands and Swords and Princes of Cups and Pentacles to break up this whole active/passive thing but I like this solution, too.

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Re: Court cards

Post by Nemia » 23 Oct 2017, 22:48

And some more interesting court cards - while I re-organized my collection, I found some interesting court card families and scanned two of them.

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The Orbifold court is abstract and elemental - the colour code is easy to understand once you see them together.

Each card shows the gradient colour of its element - red for Fire, blue for Water etc. From the bottom part of the border, where this colour is strong, it gets lighter - and the upper border is in the colour of the elemenatal assignation of the court itself. All Kings are Air, all Queens are Water, all Knights Fire and all Pages Earth. In this deck at least ;-)

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The Wild Unknown does it differently. Four animal families represent each element. Father, mother, son and daughter of snakes, swans, owls and deer. Within the families, the elements don't play a role anymore - they're "sorted" by age and gender. Older and male of female, younger and male or female.

Very interesting.

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Re: Court cards - Idiosyncradeck

Post by Nemia » 24 Oct 2017, 01:03

I'm having fun with more court cards.

Idiosyncradeck:

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These cards show growth and development differently. Pages are the fresh, innocent morning - Knights the active, dynamic day full of sunshine - Queens the wise and beautiful evening - and Kings the fully developed, starry night.

I remember Michelangelo's Medici chapel when I look at these cards (although I'm pretty sure the creator didn't).

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Beneath the portrait of the active person (Giuliano de Medici): male Day and female Night

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Beneath the portrait of the contemplative, melancholic person (Lorenzo de Medici): male Dusk and female Dawn

We have four "types" here, shown in allegories. The active, decided person is associated with Night and Day, the times of day that have a clear and obvious character. The contemplative, passive, melancholic person is associated with Dusk and Dawn, the times of day that have a transitory, unclear, undecided character.

Day and Dusk are male, Night and Dawn female. I don't know the reason but I have always supposed this is a reverence to ancient mythology, where the goddesses of the Moon (Selene/Artemis/Luna/Diana) and Dawn (Eos/Aurora) are female, while the gods of the Sun (Helios/Apollo/Sol) are male. There is no god of dusk, though, only the Hesperides and they are female (and much less important than Selene or Helios).

Anyway, I think the artist's choice to depict the four court cards as four times of the day is very clever, and it's done beautifully.

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Re: Court cards

Post by Nemia » 24 Oct 2017, 01:33

And while I'm at it, here is another intriguing pair: the Universal Fantasy vs Epic Tarot. Both decks were painted by the fantasy artist Paolo Martinello and have a lot in common. One of the points where the decks definitely differ is the treatment of court cards.

In the Universal Fantasy Tarot, we have quite traditional court cards.

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In the Epic Tarot, the conceptual creator of the deck, Riccardo Minetti, went for something totally different.

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Four mythological animals moving in four different environments. Innocent, playful unicorns for the Pages - active, impatient gryphons for the Knights - transformational Phoenixes with healing power for the Queens - and powerful, victorious Dragons for the Kings.

When the deck was discussed on AT, Lo Scarabeo's Riccardo Minetti himself explained his intentions:
This deck came from a script that I made almost 10 years ago.
I recall at that time I made two Tarot scripts. One was the Tarot of Peace and the other what is now the Epic.

So long ago that I actually forgot most of the detail. To be honest, Barbara made a wonderful work of giving sense and shape on my scattered notes.

The deck started as an experiment on the Majors actually. When I made the Manga Tarot, I focused most of my attention to the minors. And with the Epic I wanted to complete the journey. My idea was to create a strong connecting structure among the cards, linking them in simmetry of opposition and complementarity. Something it's apparent in most esoteric systems (like Wirth or any related to Cabbalah). But I wanted it to be free of an outside system.

As for the Courts, I embraced willingly the 4 animals for two main reasons.

First, I didn't want the Court to be confused with other cards. So many times in a deck I have the feeling the Courts have no real place inside the deck. They are wonderful... but all the meaning the artist was asked to place was "make the Kinf od Cups: he is a King and holds a cup. Make it emotional but strong".

The animals are even more like this (or should I say they are purposefully like this). In a way, the Unicorn of Cups it's not different from the Unicorn of Wands, because they are actually the same Unicorn. In a different landscape.

But it was long ago. My passion for Tarot burned much brighter. And I always looked for the "why" of everything, trying to break and stretch the mold.

Today it's not a deck i would have done anymore. But... also, today, I don't feel anymore like doing a deck.
Interesting concept, isn't it? Actually, it's one and the same animal/court card that goes through different experiences. While in other decks, the court cards are coherent as families (four swans vs four owls, or four queens/pages etc that are distinctly different from each other), here, the coherence goes through the ranks. Four unicorns that are actually one etc.

Maybe Minetti's loss of interest that occurred between the conception of the deck and its actual production is responsible for my feeling that this deck, beautiful as it is, is a bit undercooked. Barbara Moore's lwb doesn't go into much detail. But the one advantage of such decks with conceptual lacunae is the opportunity for the reader to add his own stories and interpretations.

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kyan
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Re: Court cards - Idiosyncradeck

Post by kyan » 12 Mar 2018, 07:28

Nemia wrote:
24 Oct 2017, 01:03
I'm having fun with more court cards.

Idiosyncradeck:

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These cards show growth and development differently. Pages are the fresh, innocent morning - Knights the active, dynamic day full of sunshine - Queens the wise and beautiful evening - and Kings the fully developed, starry night.

...

Anyway, I think the artist's choice to depict the four court cards as four times of the day is very clever, and it's done beautifully.
i like this approach too, would like to see it in other decks.

those minetti creatures are amazing too. great artwork.

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Re: Court cards

Post by Nemia » 12 Mar 2018, 10:39

More interesting solutions to the court cards: in the Star Tarot, there are two Princes and two Princesses.

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Swords and Wands, the active-masculine suits, have a Prince, and Cups and Pentacles, the passive-feminine suits, have a Princess. I confess I'd have loved for the creator to play with these traditional associations a bit and give us active Princesses and gentle Princes... but the idea is interesting.

Another deck with an interesting twist in the court cards is the Anna K. (another deck I simply love). Sorry for the bad pictures taken ages ago, I don't have the time now to scan them but I will as soon as I have the time.

The idea is that the Ace and Page are younger versions of the Queen and King - either their young selves or their children. That leaves the Knights out a bit but I really like the connection between Aces and Pages. And obviously the family aspect. Family is a system that teaches us about the world and others.

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The Cups Family

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The Disks Family

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The Swords Family

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The Wands Family

Interesting, isn't it?

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Barleywine
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Re: Court cards

Post by Barleywine » 12 Mar 2018, 13:03

In a reading I bin the court cards into three possible groups:

First, other people. I always ask my sitters about this first because so many of them are itching to find someone else to blame their troubles on but don't want to volunteer that information. The court cards can help them do so.

Second, as a fallback, they can show characteristics or attitudes the querent (or I, when reading for myself) should either adopt or avoid in dealing with the situation. Reversed or ill-dignified cards often, but not always, present the "avoidance" scenario. It's also possible that multiple court cards in a spread can mean different things, so context and position are important.

Third, and least likely, they can show external forces that are (or will be) at work in the matter, sort of a less potent manifestation of a trump card's influence. (In fact, I have a model where I see the King of Wands as an emissary or accomplice of the Emperor (I call it the "little brother"), the Queen of Cups ("little sister") as a stand-in for the High Priestess, and so forth. I may have posted that here before, but I know I did on AT.) If not, here's a link: https://parsifalswheeldivination.com/20 ... or-arcana/

"Events" I see as either stemming from the action or inaction of other people or the querent, either of whom can precipitate them wittingly or not, or from the impact of external forces, in which case they may seem random but aren't. (Think of the remark "He really set himself up for that one!") I don't put them in their own bin.

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