Court Cards

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The Queen of Spades (or Cherries) court card from a Russian-Ukrainian playing card deck

In a deck of playing cards or tarot cards, there are, in addition to the numbered or pip cards, a sequence of cards depicting royal personages or members of the nobility. These are the court or face cards. They have traditionally been shown as nobles because in card games they they rank or are scored more highly than pip cards, which are "common" cards.

• In a 52-card deck of playing cards, these royal cards are the Jack, Queen, and King of the card suits clubs, hearts, spades, and diamonds. There are 12 court cards, 8 male-gendered and 4 female gendered. When using playing cards for divination, the Kings represent four types of "men," the Queens represent four types of "women," and the Jacks represent four types of "young men" or "young people" in the querent's life.

• In a 78 card tarocchi or tarot deck, there are four court cards per card suit: the Page, Knight, Queen, and King. In the interests of gender parity, these are sometimes called the Princess, Knight, Queen, and King. In divination, they represent four types of people: "young women," "young men," "women," and "men."

* Most oracle card decks do not have any designated court cards, although quite a few so-called "Gypsy" decks do show members of the nobility among their array of figures.

When reading cards, some fortune tellers and diviners use a card layout that requires them to select a so-called "significator card" to represent the sitter or querent -- that is, you.

It is very common for a card reader to choose a court card for a significator and to base the selection on your zodiac sign, gender, and age. The zodiac sign determines the suit, while your gender and age, or your level of responsibility for others, determines which of the four court cards in your suit is your card.

In a reading concerning a love relationship or business partnership, two significators may be selected, if the layout permits it, one for you and one for the person of interest in the case. If you know that person's age and zodiac sign or birth date, it will be a simple matter for your card reader to pull out the significator card on that person and to insert it into the layout, thus reading for both of you at once.

For example, if you are astrologically a member of one of the water signs -- Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces -- your suit in tarot cards would be cups and your suit in playing cards would be hearts. Furthermore, if you were a married man with children and a career, you would be the King of cups or King of hearts; while if you were a young, unpartnered, childless man in college, you would be the Knight of Cups or the Jack of Hearts. Of course, not all readers adhere to this system, but it is common enough to deserve mention.

Additionally, if you, as the querent, want your reader to provide insight into the thoughts or activities of a group of people -- for instance co-workers, family members, or prospective romantic partners -- court cards may be selected to represent several persons of interest. If no photographs are available for photo-psychometry, these significator cards may be used as stand-ins and the divination may proceed by pendulum dowsing while asking questions over each court card.


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