Many who have undertaken the study of Tarot have found the most challenging cards in the deck to be the Court cards, the kings, queens, knights and pages of the four suits of cups, wands, swords, and pentacles. Do they represent aspects of the seeker's personality? Or are they other people impacting the seeker's experiences and emotions? Still yet, do the Court cards represent the subtle shadow self of the individual? The exercises and explanations in Understanding The Tarot Court by Mary K. Greer and Tom Little attempt to answer these questions and more.
The book is intended not as an introductory lesson but for those advanced students of Tarot who already understand basic card meanings and symbolism who are looking for more progressive tutoring in specialized topics. Still, the book opens with a basic explanation of the suits and their generalized meanings. A valuable exercise demonstrates how to read a card by intuiting several keywords and determining one's own interpretation of the card. Greer and Little often remind their readers that while countless compendia of card interpretations exist, all provide slightly different explanations, and the authentic, effective Tarot card reader intuitively determines each card's unique meaning during a specific reading.
To better understand the Court cards, the Court is explained in both familial and societal settings. An intriguing aspect of the book is the incorporation of psychology and the mention of the Myers-Briggs (Personality) Type Indicator in determining the meanings of the cards. Jungian psychology and a discussion of archetypes add an entirely different dimension to the interpretations. Combined with the astrological meanings behind the cards, one has a plethora of tools at his disposal to adequately interpret the Court cards.
The authors move on to the more mystical aspects of the Court cards, incorporating detailed explanations of the Kabbalah, Neopagan Cosmology, and numerological meanings. All of these aspects and possible interpretations are tied together using several Tarot spreads, and the position of the individual Court card within the spread will help the reader understand whether the card refers to the seeker himself or someone else within the seeker's life. Should you want to design your own Tarot deck, the authors also offer an entire chapter of recommendations for establishing your own Court.
Although Greer and Little encourage individual, intuitive interpretations, they do offer their thoughts on the meaning of each individual court card as a starting point. The interpretations, along with the exercises, are illustrated using several popular Tarot decks for a variety of meanings. The information is at times overwhelming, and the attempt to incorporate such a vast expanse of knowledge and history into a relatively short book can leave the reader feeling anxious. To best learn from this book, use it as a reference tool, referring back to it time and again when working through individual Court card interpretations. Especially useful are the appendices and bibliography, citing many more useful sources of information.