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This is Video #4 in the series “Tarot Card Meanings with Benebell.” We’ll be covering the Kings in the Tarot de Marseilles and Rider-Waite-Smith, but titled the Knights in the Thoth. In my own deck, the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot, I’ve titled these court cards the four Archangels.
Egads! This is sooo long!
:: hangs head :: I know…
Bbb-but-but! The first 10 minutes of the video explains why we’re talking about the Kings after the Threes (rather than the Fours), and also to clarify the RWS King / Thoth Knight or Prince discrepancy.
So really, we’re looking at 32-ish minutes of Kings discussion, which yeah I guess is still a bit on the daunting side. I mean, podcasts are around this length and no one complains… so think of this as a podcast. =D
Will try better for future video installments, though no guarantees. Don’t forget I’m covering four different decks and something in the ballpark of 200 years of tarot card meanings!
Nevertheless, for those who can’t sit through the entirety of this long video lecture and learn better by reading anyway, then here is an illustrated transcript of this video:
Download the Illustrated Video Transcript
I know. =) You’re welcome. No, don’t get used to it. No, I won’t be providing an illustrated video transcript for every video in this series. This will only be provided for the videos that get obscenely long.
Addendum to the Video
I’m kicking myself for forgetting to include this in the Kings video, but then it’s already as long as it is, so I guess it’s for the better. Since it’s addressed in the Queens video, up next after this one, I’m circling back to include this addendum.
By the way if any of the below interests you at all, then be sure to check out the free Tarot & Astrology correspondences download that came with the “Tarot Keys of Your Birthday (Tarot and Astrology, 1941)” video.
We addressed the sectors of the zodiac wheel that each of the four Kings (Thoth Knights) rule over, which correspond to three decan rulers. For example, the King of Wands rules from 21° Scorpio to 20° Sagittarius. 21° to 30° Scorpio is Venus in Scorpio; 1° Sagittarius to 10° Sagittarius is Mercury in Sagittarius, etc.
The video talked about this when covering the Thoth Knights, though in these images here, we’ll be showing the RWS Kings.
Each decan ruler also corresponds with one of the pip cards, and so if we reduce the courts and the pips down to common astrological denominators, there is a link between the King of Wands and the three pips Seven of Cups (corresponding to Venus in Scorpio), Eight of Wands (Mercury in Sagittarius), and Nine of Wands (Moon in Sagittarius).
The King of Cups, ruling from 21° Aquarius to 20° Pisces, bears a relation to the Seven of Swords (Moon in Aquarius), Eight of Cups (Saturn in Pisces), and Nine of Cups (Jupiter in Pisces).
The King of Swords, ruling from 21° Taurus to 20° Gemini, bears a relation to the Seven of Pentacles (Saturn in Taurus), Eight of Swords (Jupiter in Gemini), and Nine of Swords (Mars in Gemini).
The King of Pentacles, ruling from 21° Leo to 20° Virgo, bears a relation to the Seven of Wands (Mars in Leo), Eight of Pentacles (Sun in Virgo), and Nine of Pentacles (Venus in Virgo).
This will come up again for the tarot Queens, though next time I won’t forget about it, so it’ll be in the video lecture, and not as this separate written-out addendum.
Is It Better to Read with Reversals?
No. It’s a style choice. It’s nothing more than one style of tarot reading that works for some readers and doesn’t work at all for others. It’s just one of many approaches to working with a tarot deck.
However, if your goal is to become a master of the tarot, then I recommend attaining proficiency and a grounded understanding of reversals. No one at all says you have to read with reversals, but I do believe a master tarot reader will at the very least know about reversals.
You can then make the intentional decision to opt out of reading with reversals, but if tasked to talk about them, even if you don’t use them in your own readings, I hope this video series will give you the knowledge and insights to do so competently.
“Benebell, do you read with reversals?”
For the majority of my tarot reading life, yes, I always observed reversals and would shuffle my deck in a way that would randomize card reversals. Whether it was the good ole’ RWS, the Thoth, or the 1JJ Swiss Tarot, the Robin Wood, DruidCraft, or Goddess Tarot, I was reading with reversals.
Two contemporary esoteric decks that I love and use with great frequency are the Tarot of the Holy Light and the Tabula Mundi Tarot. I do not read with reversals when using either of those two decks. I don’t read with reversals when using the Hermetic Tarot, another one of my all-time personal favorites.
As for the SKT, I think I’m in a unique position because I created it pretty much for myself so it is exactly the way I want my own tarot deck to be. =) I think of physical copies of the SKT as a technological tool, and therefore each and every individual copy can be pre-programmed by its user. Settings can be changed and customized. And I wanted a deck that could accommodate a high level of customization. My deck creator intention for the SKT in terms of reversals is 50/50. It was of utmost importance to me that the settings of the deck could be tailored to go either way and read brilliantly under either setting.
I have one physical copy of the SKT with reversed cards and so when reading with that particular deck, I’ll read with reversals. I keep that reversals deck in a particular colored tarot bag so I know that’s the one with the reversals. I then have a second physical copy of my SKT with no reversed cards and I never read with reversals when using that deck. It’ll be kept in a contrasting colored tarot bag from the first so I can differentiate it from the reversals deck.
When do I use which deck? I really don’t have any rules or regulations about that. It happens on the whim. At a given moment, I’m drawn to read with reversals… in another moment, I’m not. I lean in to my whims.
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