Your Tarot Court: Read Any Deck with Confidence by Ethony Dawn

Your Tarot Court: Read Any Deck with Confidence (Llewellyn, 2019) by Ethony Dawn is your one-stop comprehensive modern guide to the tarot courts.

This book will transform the way you work with the courts, ignite a genuine excitement for these cards that are otherwise seen as the most difficult cards in the tarot deck to work with. This is your handbook on how to approach the tarot court personalities as your allies.

An ingenious yet simple paradigm for mastering the court card archetypes is presented here. Henceforth, when the Page of Wands appears, think: Peter Pan. When the King of Pentacles appears, think: Manager. King of Swords? Scientist. Queen of Cups? The Mystic.

How do these archetypes play out in specific situations? Your Tarot Court delves into the exact ways a personality like the Knight of Cups, a Romantic, would approach a work and career situation, or in a relationship– how to interpret the Knight of Cups to predict timing in tarot– how to work with astrology and the courts in a reading– and how to spot the Knight of Cups Romantic archetype in pop culture today to further deepen your comprehension of this card.

The deep-dive into these sixteen archetypes will offer practical, accuracy-inducing insights into how to read the courts in the most common conceivable scenarios. As a pro reader and headmistress of the Tarot Readers Academy, Ethony Dawn has seen it all, and she imparts those decades of experience as a tarot reader to help you flesh out your own understanding of the courts.

This is the updated encyclopedic guide to the tarot courts for the Millennial Era, to finally upgrade our collective understanding of the courts as contemporary readers. Ethony Dawn’s Your Tarot Court fills a void. Here, we get provocative discussions on gender as a social construct, how to translate a royal hierarchy for the modern world, and all without neglect of classical traditions for interpreting the courts. She helps us to revisit the evolving approaches to the tarot courts over the centuries and pays homage to the masters of eras before us.

You begin the text with a refresher course on the attributions of the tarot courts from generations past, and true to a Queen of Swords fashion, Ethony cites her sources. You’ll find a comprehensive bibliography at the back of the book.

Oftentimes books on the tarot can be scholarly but dry (who, me?) or entertaining  but cursory in treatment of actual tarot knowledge. With Ethony Dawn, she bridges all the gaps to bring quite the depth of content without ever losing your attention and interest. Her writing style keeps you turning the pages and, most important of all, retaining the knowledge.

She then deftly navigates you through the ages and evolution of tarot court card interpretation until we arrive at the present day, with a fresh and ground-breaking new archetypal perspective of the courts.

While the main focus of the book is on mastery over the tarot courts, Ethony takes every opportunity to cover tangential topics on the tarot. For example, when we get to the chapter on predicting timing with the tarot court, she starts by addressing the controversy among tarot practitioners over (1) whether the tarot can be used to predict the future and (2) whether a tarot practitioner should use tarot to predict a client’s future. Ethony maintains a balanced and objective approach to addressing the topic.

A main thesis presented is to look at the hierarchy of the tarot courts as power dynamics. Who holds the power, what type of power, and how is that power wielded? Keywords for each rank (Pages, Knights, Queens, Kings) are provided, along with mantras (e.g., for the Page of Cups, the mantra is “I feel” and for the King of Swords, “I lead with logic.”) that can help you to attune to the energetic vibrations of that court card, whether for channeling, invocation, or simply to better understand its character profile.

When I first heard that Ethony would be publishing a book on the tarot courts, I was excited about having a contemporary reference on the court cards that I could recommend to beginner and intermediate students. What I had not anticipated was how much of a treasure trove Your Tarot Court would be to even seasoned readers who think they’ve seen it all.

On a pragmatic learn-how-to-tarot note, Your Tarot Court is going to give anyone who reads the book that a-ha! moment of the inner light bulb of understanding turning on over whatever had mystified you about reading court cards.

But on a much deeper, important consciousness-shifting level, this book is going to make an impact on how the collective of readers to come will approach gender and sexuality in a way that will better service the society we now find ourselves in.

By far my favorite section of the book is Chapter 11, the court card tarot spreads. Ethony Dawn is kind of a spreads master, which you would know if you follow her amazing new moon and full moon spreads that she shares monthly.

First of all, she’s presented the portfolio of court card spreads in a way that will be easy for any reader to use. There is only one seven-card spread to “memorize,” if you will. Then, if you understand the gifts and powers each court card can endow you with, you then invoke that court and receive revelations or corresponding gifts by working with that court as the significator card in that model seven-card spread. It’s brilliant.

Later this week, one of my favorite reading and tarot journaling exercises from Chapter 11 will be featured on Sightsee the Tarot. The episode will be titled “Healing Your Body with the Queen of Pentacles.”

Stocked with incredible exercises and journaling prompts, Your Tarot Court will help you, no matter what skill level you’re at right now, to deepen your mastery of the courts. I personally got so much out of this book and learned a new paradigm for approach the courts that I hadn’t known about before, but now will be implementing.

A total tarot beginner can pick up this book and get a head start on understanding the court cards. One at an intermediate level is the one who will get the most out of the text. And the experienced master tarot reader is going to get a much-needed refresher course on the courts, one that will develop a more compassionate, sensitive, and mindful approach to tarot courts in the 21st century.

If I’m going to stay honest with you, then my one critique of this book is me doing the one thing you should never do: judge a book by its cover. =) Looking at this atomic carrot orange cover with tarot card imagery featuring colors that clash with the atomic carrot and choice of font types (also, what’s with the brackets?) that I, as a designer and illustrator, completely do not understand, considering the premise of the book’s content (modern, fresh, contemporary), and the author byline almost disappearing into the background, not at all prominent on that cover, I’m sorry: what the heck happened here? Could someone please explain to me why it’s atomic orange and looks like it time traveled to 2019 from the 1980s? On a bookstore shelf, the orange does not do what I speculate was the intended effect of screaming “pick me up,” oh no– instead, it kind of causes me to slink away and go for a book that’s not going to give me an eyesore.

Fortunately for all of us, the only thing off about this book is its cover. Everything else is substantive, authoritative, compelling, and positively mind-shifting content that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Ethony Dawn has risen to become one of the leading voices on tarot of our time. The brightness and luminosity with which this star is shining has only just begun. We haven’t seen the brightest of her yet. Watch my words come true. 😉

I knew I would like this book, but I didn’t know I would love it as much as I do. Kudos to Llewellyn Books for bringing this gem to life.

Order a Copy of Your Tarot Court: Read Any Deck with Confidence (Llewellyn, 2019)


Disclosure: I was gifted this book by the author, who happens to be a close friend. However, I don’t think we would have gotten as close as we have if I did not fundamentally admire her work, her intellect, her heart, and her authenticity. Thus, everything I have to say about Your Tarot Court is sincere and accurately reflects my opinion of the book.

3 thoughts on “Your Tarot Court: Read Any Deck with Confidence by Ethony Dawn

  1. Suzi Petito

    I have been living with Tarot for 50 years, but intensively for only the last 20…………….it’s JUST perspective, here. Benebel, you have shot off like a rocket with all you do! I love it, and Ethony’s book is the updated shot in the arm I need with the Courts. I have settled in to being a student, realizing that I cannot do it all, like you ladies are doing, and finding that what I have left over is pure joy and fun of JUST learning. You are impressing the tarot world with the depth and swift movement to get TAROT out there in a challenging and intelligent manner. My library and collection of tarot decks will now become my sanctuary, and you youngsters – my teachers.


  2. Pingback: Healing Your Body with the Queen of Pentacles – benebell wen

  3. The Bibliotherapod.

    I bought Ethonys book and am working through it, it really is a fantastic resource for thinking widely about how to apply the courts. I am glad you reviewed it or I might not have found it.


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