meandering thoughts on the pages
Court cards have always been the most difficult cards for me to navigate. And it seems important to begin to build this new space in the ether starting with something I find difficult. When I first began a regular tarot practice, I had a hard time connecting with the queens, the kings, and the knights. The history I’d known in relationship to notions of queen and king felt uncomfortable, rife with the trappings of gender roles and patriarchal power dynamics. As for the knights, the knight of swords and knight of wands spoke to a rash and messy self I wasn’t ready to confront. The knight of cups reminded me of an open heart I felt distant from. And the knight of pentacles reminded me of a conviction, a stability that felt impossible. But the pages, they sang to me.
They felt, and still feel, queer. The pages are a moment of opening, a state of uncovering, a welcoming into the magic of self. Playful and curious, the beginnings of movement. And the word page itself, its many, many meanings, sang to a notion of being that resonated. Page as in to call, to name. A page as paper, a page as space to welcome inner expansion, inner exploration. Page as a ritual to write thoughts to burn, to write thoughts to hold, to write thoughts to remind. A page to meander. And pages do, they meander.
Pages often appear alone, carrying the item associated with their suit, ripe with the suit’s corresponding element. What they carry is not a badge, but a tool to help them perceive. Elemental energy runs through tarot. Wands as fire, swords as air, cups as water, pentacles as earth. Since we all have experience with the elements, they exist within us and sustain us, looking at the cards alongside their elemental correspondences is a connective place to begin our understanding.
The page of wands holds a wand the length of their body. Fire and magic. Creativity, passion, and warmth. The page of wands is in the act of uncovering their magic. That magic can be found in a creative project. That magic can be found in engaging and building with people who share similiar passions and work collectively to create bold ways of being. That magic can be found in expressions of self. That magic can be found in uncovering the breadth of one’s sexuality. The page of wands invites us to dance in our magic, begin to feel out the vibrant energy that courses through us, how we channel that energy into the world around us.
The page of swords holds their sword up as they learn its weight, its sharpness, and its impact. Air energy represents our perspective and our connection to truth. Swords invite us into reflecting on our mental health, our thought patterns, our perception of truth, and our communication skills. There’s a lot of messiness in the swords as we learn how our internal perspectives impact our external actions. (When we do work around dismantling internalized white supremacy, homophobia, and misogyny, swords appear A LOT.) The page of swords is learning. They know a truth is out there that they haven’t experienced yet. They know inner wisdom and clarity exist waiting to be known. The page of swords invites us to begin to assess our perceptions and our perspectives, to set off and to try.
The page of cups holds out a cup, both examinig it and offering it to the world around them. Their heart is opening, their heart is tender, their heart is earnest. Cups are the flow of water energy, our emotions, our intuition, our connection to spirit, our connection to the cosmic delight of being human. There’s grief and there’s ache and there’s mourning in the cups. But there remains an openness to experiencing what it is to be vulnerable with our feelings, what it is to develop trust with dear ones. The page of cups invites us to pause at the altar of self and trust our intuition as we explore the ebbs and flows of our emotional states of being.
The page of pentacles, filled with wonder, holds their pentacle up. Studying this discovery, feeling the weight of it. Where can this pentacle take them? How can they create and reimagine this pentacle? Pentacles represent earth energy. What nourishes us. The every day magic of being. The seeds we sow. The spaces we inhabit. The rituals that ground us. The creations we grow. The page of pentacles is beginning to take in the world around them. The birdsong. The seasonal cycle of plants. The daily dance of sun and moon. The page of pentacles invites to delight in the routines and the rituals that sustain us. The page of pentacles invites us to practice our mindfulness and attentiveness.
The pages are an entrance into an understanding, and perhaps adoration, of the court cards. The beginning of finding ourselves. And they’re who I turn to when I feel overwhelmed or stagnant, whether within or beyond my tarot practice. They manage to guide me out. To remind me that each breath is a chance to begin again. When I read for others, I read court cards as being an aspect of them. When I read for myself, I read the court cards as being an aspect of myself. And, yes, numerous court cards can exist within us all at once.
Like right now! I’m emerging from two weeks lost in sadness and mourning. I feel the knight of wands lit within me. My energy is bursting all over the place. This writing was twice as long with at least five more related topics addressed. Channeling the knight of pentacles, I took deep breaths, and deleted a lot. My heart feels open, calm, and encouraging, flowing with the queen of cups. And I’m returning to the daily rituals that I lapsed on during this time by channeling the page of pentacles as I reestablish physical practices that center me in my body, calming my soul, which, in turn, leaves me more compassionate and kind to the people around me.
It’s my discomfort within the court cards that helped me understand my gender, another writing altogether. I often used the pronoun they for figures in cards because this helps me make sense of them. But that’s not for everyone. We all find truth and comfort in different pronouns, words, and expressions. We all thrive in different ways of being. So my discomfort with the court cards helped me understand how to channel the tarot in supportive ways. The tarot encourages all of us to find our own meanings, to infuse our beings into practice while remaining open to different perspectives.
While I still crave and play with new words for these cards, I’ve found a deep inner knowing with the queens and a capacity to sit in my wisdom with the kings. The knight of swords and knight of wands have taught me that sometimes trying is better than not trying at all, even if it is messy. They teach me that fucking up is inevitable. They teach me that sometimes I’m not the best listener. But they teach me I can learn. They teach me I should try. And the knights in tandem with other cards (like the five of swords) have taught me that accountability helps. The knight of cups has taught me the healing powers of entering into relationships and situations heart first. The knight of pentacles has taught me how to pay attention to the seemingly small rituals - the morning cup of tea, the afternoon stare at the sky, and the evening juggle while the sun sighs beyond the horizon. And the pages are always there, dancing, inviting, meandering.