Cartomancy 101.5 – Court Cards & Significators

Court Cards
The court card meanings I have supplied you with are traditional. The coloring assigned to individual cards – a medium-fair woman, a dark-haired youth, and so on – were useful once. When I started to learn how to read the cards, these descriptions helped distinguish one person in the inquirer’s life from another. This was in a Britain where almost everyone was Caucasian and few women dyed their hair. Things are different today. I would suggest you discard the parts of the descriptions relating to coloring and concentrate on the descriptions of personality and other indicators given. The Jack of Clubs, for instance, can indicate an admirer for a female inquirer. If upright, his intentions will be honorable but if reversed he may play the lady false. The King of Diamonds is a man of influence, which he may use to aid the inquirer’s interests should the card be upright or to block their progress should it be reversed.

Familiarize yourself with the temperaments or personality types associated with the suits as this will stand you in good stead when you come to interpreting the court cards in a reading.

Temperaments of the Suits
Hearts denote persons of affectionate disposition, home-loving and genial, fond of entertaining, given to hospitality, sympathetic, but sometimes weak and pliable.

Clubs denote persons of constancy, reliability, integrity. They are generally intellectual, or follow pursuits that are mental. Even when not an out-and-out intellectual, a Club person will be a good speaker, clever with words, often blessed with the power of persuasion.

Diamonds indicate persons bright and breezy in their approach to life, with buoyant, optimistic outlooks, but easily distracted. They incline to inconstancy, following one fad after another. They are hardly to be depended upon, yet are often inspiring to others.

Spades show persons with melancholy minds, reserved, introverted, self-contained. Some Spades subjects are quietly persevering; others are easily discouraged and give up on projects or ambitions at the first sign of serious opposition.

Interpreting the Court Cards
The courts can be interpreted in a variety of ways. On our list, the Queen of Spades has the meaning: “A very dark-haired woman. A widowed or divorced woman. An unscrupulous woman.” For reasons already discussed, we can set aside the first of these. In its place, we can rely on the Spades temperament as a basis for the Queen’s description. That would make her reserved, self-contained, possibly hard to fathom. The second meaning of the card makes the Queen a widow or divorcee. This may help identify her to the inquirer. Where the card is upright, the woman denoted by the Queen of Spades will further the inquirer’s aims or be supportive of them. The third meaning, “an unscrupulous woman”, may point to an individual who will damage the inquirer’s cause; as such she is not to be trusted. At times, the card-reader’s intuition will indicate when the third meaning comes into play. For those lacking in intuition, the best way of assessing the card is through the signification of other cards in its vicinity. Trapped between the 5 of Hearts (Jealousy) and the 2 of Clubs (Malicious gossip), we see the Queen of Spades functioning as a deceitful woman whose envy prompts her to spread untruths intended to harm the inquirer’s prospects.

Apply this principle to the interpretation of all court cards. As a further example, I will treat the Jack of Diamonds in the same manner as the Queen of Spades has been treated above. The card has three distinct meanings: “A medium-fair youth. A person who brings news, possibly negative, but if so of relatively minor importance. Alternatively, a jealous person who may be unreliable.” Which of these meaning should we choose when the card comes out in a reading? At times it can simply represent a person in a neutral sense. When this is the case, the cards around it will signify events happening to, or concerning, that person. We can ignore the “medium-fair” part of the description but the card will stand for a young person, a child or a teenager, who may be male or female. Sandwiched between the 8 and 7 of Hearts, the Jack of Diamonds might indicate that a young person with a Diamonds-type personality will be coming to stay with the inquirer. (8 Hearts: an unexpected visitor.) The young guest’s attitude toward the inquirer may fluctuate – 7 Hearts: someone with fickle affections. This may be due to any number of reasons, including, with an adolescent, hormonal changes.

(In practice, the cards would be read in order: 8 of Hearts, an unexpected visitor; Jack of Diamonds, the visitor will be a child or young adult who is naturally of a hopeful disposition but finds it hard to concentrate; 7 of Hearts, the visitor is likely to prove something of a handful. However, she (or he) is essentially good-natured (as the Jack has Heart cards either side of him) and so any playing-up will be due to outside factors, such as the young person finding themselves in unfamiliar surroundings or being separated from their customary playmates/associates.)

Put the Jack of Diamonds between a reversed Ace of Clubs and the 3 of Diamonds and the cards tell another story entirely. Now the Jack is a messenger (see above) and he brings disturbing news. (Ace of Clubs reversed: unsettling communications.) His message may start, or exacerbate, a dispute or it may concern threatened legal proceedings. (3 Diamonds: contention, quarrels, and potential lawsuits.)

The third possible meaning the Jack of Diamonds can bear is: “a jealous person who may be unreliable.” This aspect would be accentuated were the Jack to stand between the 8 of Clubs and the 8 of Spades. The former underlines the “jealousy” aspect while also encompassing “opposition” and “disappointment”. That is to say: the Jack’s jealousy prompts him to oppose the inquirer’s aims in some way. This leads to disappointment for the inquirer. All of which is backed up by the testimony of the 8 of Spades, forecasting trouble and disappointment, plans going awry and being let down by a supposèd friend. (Note the recurring themes. Where two cards agree, as they do here on “jealousy”, the likelihood of this meaning being relevant is increased.)

Keep these illustrations in mind when we come to try our hands at reading an actual spread.

The Significator
In the parlance of cartomancy, the card that stands for the inquirer is called the Significator. A male inquirer will be represented by a King, a female inquirer by a Queen. Adolescents and the very young are indicated by one or other of the Jacks.

Choose as significator the card that best describes the person wanting to have their cards read. If the inquirer is a genial woman with an attractive personality who is fond of socializing, her significator will be the Queen of Hearts. In which case her spouse or partner will be represented by the King of Hearts no matter what his personality-type is. The King of Diamonds appearing in this lady’s spread denotes a man other than her husband/partner. The same for the other two Kings.

By the same token, a male inquirer who is reliable and something of an intellectual will take the King of Clubs as his significator. His wife/fiancée/whatever will be represented by the Queen of Clubs, again no matter what type of personality the lady actually possesses. Should the Queen of Spades be part of this man’s reading, the card denotes a woman who is not his wife or partner. The implied connection does not have to be romantic, of course. The Queen of Spades could stand for a business associate. Everything depends on the question asked and the tone of the other cards making up the reading. Thus when the Queen of Spades stands between the 3 and 5 of Clubs, a clear scenario emerges. This Queen is likely to be a firm friend (5 of Clubs); the more so because the cards either side of her are from the suit of Clubs. There is no more reliable or honest individual than the Club person. The card on the Queen’s other flank is the 3 of Clubs whose meanings are wholly positive, even when the card is reversed. The picture we are presented with is of an amiable, reliable woman who may help with business dealings (being as the 3 of Clubs is associated with “a favorable long-term proposition” or “a second chance” where financial matters are concerned).

General Suit Significance
Before we make a start on some actual readings, it is worth bearing the following in mind. A preponderance of one particular suit in a spread carries a message of its own. Diamonds accelerate the fulfillment of events signified in the reading. Spades invariably delay it. Clubs, with their special reference to ability and merit, intimate that the fulfillment of events signified in the reading is dependent on the inquirer’s innate talents and the extent to which they are directed by will-power. Hearts are associated with affection and favor. When this suit is in the majority, events are most often fulfilled due to the inquirer receiving assistance from those who love them – friends and family – or from a superior or person of influence who has taken a shine to them.

In an earlier post, it was stated that the suit of Clubs signified success with money or in business. This is not at odds with what is written above because success of that sort will be rooted in competence, proficiency and merit. A preponderance of Clubs in a spread points to one who ‘makes their own luck’. A preponderance of Hearts indicates the person to whom luck happens, sometimes providentially but usually through the medium of other people.

About auntietarot
Born in Britain just before the outbreak of the second world war, I was taught basic tarot skills by my maternal grandmother. In the sixties, I joined a Golden Dawn-type esoteric school, passing through the curriculum and becoming an instructor in ritual etiquette and the making and consecration of talismans. At the beginning of the eighties, I left the school to plow my own furrow in areas such as tarot and astrology. Since my retirement I have spent time researching the occult history of the tarot and the various ways the tarot has been used for divination in the past.

7 Responses to Cartomancy 101.5 – Court Cards & Significators

  1. Hello! I’m very much enjoying your blog 🙂 This post in particular was very helpful, though I do have a question.
    If the Significator is a King of Spades, the man’s wife/girlfriend/etc would be represented by the Queen of Spades, correct? However, I was wondering, what if the man was homosexual? How would his husband/boyfriend/etc be represented?

  2. krazerica says:

    In a 3 card spread – past [4 of clubs] present : [Jack of spades] and future [king of hearts]

    How do you interpret that?

    The question being asked was if the guy she was dating likes her.
    Does this just mean that the king is the man she is asking about and he is no good for her or does it mean that he is a lot of trouble currently but will be her soulmate because of the heart suit?

    a month ago when she started dating the guys, she asked if there was potential for a relationship.

    3 card spread – 9 of clubs + 7 of clubs + King of heart.

    Thank you,

    I am fairly new at this.

    • auntietarot says:

      Hi Krazercia,

      You say you are new to cartomancy. Well, you’ve fallen into a beginners trap, because the type of reading you have chosen doesn’t fit the question. You’re asking about the present – does the man the inquirer is dating like her? – but you have chosen to read Past, Present & Future. Let’s put past, present and future to one side and just read the cards as a sequence: 4 Clubs, Jack Spades, King Hearts. The basic answer to the question is in the King of Hearts. It tells you, Yes, he likes her. But note the preceding cards. 4 of Clubs gives warning not to be too hasty to make a change to one’s life – like getting serious about somebody. Then the Jack of Spades, who can be a tricky customer, appearing to be what he is not.

      The inquirer should be very careful and take things slowly as the truth of this man character will emerge over time. Because, if it turns out he is not the real deal, then the fact that he likes her doesn’t count for very much!

      Auntie

  3. Yvonne Sandoval (Bonnie) says:

    My reading to day was a three cards spread was Ace of dimonds 3 hearts , and a queen of dimonds what does the cards say about my situation I’m in

    • auntietarot says:

      I’m sorry but Auntie Tarot is taking a sabbatical and isn’t available to give advice on readings.
      The playing card blog is, in any case, defunct. I am caretaking her other blog while Auntie has a well-earned rest. But I don’t read playing cards.
      Tony Willis

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