Here’s a dedicated video in the 10-part orientation series just on the Empyrean Court. That video shares my intentions behind the renderings of the court cards in the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot and how I approach them, or at least quick, snapshot points on each card so that the video doesn’t get interminably long. =P
I am hopeful that you can simply transplant the way you currently read tarot court cards into the Revelation Edition, but for a few minor mental adjustments. Like just remember:
- magic squares = Kings
- shields = Queens
- septagon elementals + horses = Knights
- scrolls = Pages
Kings: The Archangels (Thoth: Knights)
With the Four Archangels standing in the place of tarot Kings, I hope what I’ve done here avails these cards to be interpreted in either a literal-religious-spiritual-mystical way or more psychoanalytic-personality-profile-rational-based.
If more literal-religious-spiritual-mystical, these are four calling cards that invoke four directional and elemental based archangels– the highest ranking of beneficent, celestial guardian spirits. These guardian spirits have descended down from Empyrea to appear to us here on earth, in human form so that we can identify with them, and they can identify with us.
The Archangel of Glory (King of Wands) represents the folk religious practices of pre-modern Japan shogunate, embodying a blend of military might and spirituality, which you’ll also see in the Archangel Commander (King of Swords) with the depiction of a Templar. The two Archangels from the active elements depict warrior cultures that are deeply rooted in religiosity and chivalry while the Archangels from the passive elements depict a healer and a diviner/manifester, respectively.
If you read tarot King cards as always indicating men, then the Archangel of Healing (Chalices) and Archangel of Mysteries (Orbs) signify the anima within a man—the feminine psychological qualities that men possess.
In other words, read the SKT Kings and Queens as anthropomorphized archetypes from your unconscious mind.
Queens: The Shields
I hope I’ve done enough here for The Shields to take on your preexisting approach to interpreting tarot Queens. You just have to remember that the Queen cards feature shields that glow front and center. And then it’s more about someone’s essential nature as being
Like the Kings, the Queens here are anthropomorphized archetypes from your unconscious mind.
Thus, for those who read the tarot courts in the more standardized approach, The Golden Shield (Queen of Scepters/Wands) and The Scarlet Shield (Queen of Swords) still indicate women when you read with the SKT, but indicates the animus within a woman—the masculine psychological qualities that women possess.
So, for instance, if the Archangel of Glory (King of Scepters) shows up, I think “mastery and prowess in a subject area I associate with the element Fire.” And if The Golden Shield (Queen of Scepters) shows up, I think “developmental phase in a subject area I associate with the element Fire.” Plus the bonus of, “I’m probably still a little vulnerable right now, and so Spirit has descended down to safeguard– and shield– me while I figure things out.”
I will just say, though, that I also religiously interpret court cards as divine beings present in a reading. But of course if that’s not in your wheelhouse, no worries. =) It doesn’t have to be that way at all. =)
Knights: The Shining Ones (Thoth: Princes)
The easiest way to read the Shining Ones, or Knight cards, is to focus on the elemental symbol in the septagons front and center above, and read these cards as hyper-activated energies of their respective four elements, and assign your attributions to each of those elements, Fire, Water, Air, and Earth.
Those elemental energies are so hyper-activated to the point where it almost seems like they take on their own independent sentience. Enter the four mythical creatures– the salamander for Fire, the undine for Water, the sylph for Air, and the gnome for Earth.
I hope the iconic cultural and historic settings can also lend a helping hand in interpretation. So, for instance, the background for the Knight of Cups card (The Shining Waters) is identifiably Renaissance Italy, and maybe you’re able to get even more specific– it’s Florence. We all associate Renaissance Italy with thriving arts and culture, and creative thought, right? So I hope that’s an easy way to immediately interpret the meaning of The Shining Waters in a reading.
The figure in the Knight of Wands (The Shining Flame) appears young, comparatively younger in appearance than the other three knights. (Neither here nor there, but I’d also like to point out that this figure is dressing the part of a young man, and even more specifically, a soldier in training.)
And the figure in the Knight of Swords still totally has the traditional RWS “warpath” vibe to it.
I’ve assigned the Knight of Orbs card a very special power– this is the “retrieves what was lost” talismanic card, thanks to the gnome. When the Knight of Orbs comes up, I think, “something that was lost, will soon be found” or “I need to find something that is currently lost,” and which it is depends on the context of the reading, other cards, etc.– you know the drill.
Pages: The Heralds (Thoth: Princesses)
Since the Revelation is still an edition of the SKT, I didn’t want to go too crazy with the changes. And yet I went pretty crazy with the changes here in the tarot Pages, didn’t I.
You can tell I did the Herald of the Flame first, of the four Heralds. So I kept the same face as the Stronghold of the Flame from the previous editions. And then I got to the Chalice card and was like, nah. We’re going off script from here on out. =D
First of all, I totally changed the primary titles from Strongholds to Heralds. They were Heralds in the secondary titles in the previous editions, as you’ll see. But I changed it to the primary title for the Revelation.
Let me explain why I went with Strongholds for the previous editions: it’s the angelic hierarchical title that I thought would align well with the tarot Page. And Stronghold sounds “earthy.” Pages are associated with the element Earth within their respective elements, e.g., Page of Wands is Earth in Fire.
But for the Revelation Edition, I decided to fine-tune their roles in the tarot universe. They’re more classically Page-y now.
There are other slightly more literal-to-the-imagery interpretations that come with the Heralds. The Herald of the Waters indicates an animal communicator while the Herald of the Winds features a Roma sojourner on the Silk Road with a deck of divination cards in hand. Because the four Heralds are the most trusted emissaries (messengers) from the highest rank of Divinities, of course they’re embodiments of magical powers/abilities.
No jokes, though– if at any point while reading this blog post one of your eyebrows went up, it’s fine. You totally do not have to read the SKT court cards this way!
There were some key features I knew my Empyrean Court had to have, which diverged from what traditional tarot readers would be used to, and I kept with my way. But here in the Revelation Edition, I did think about yielding in insubstantial ways that would allow the court cards in this deck to be more universally reader-friendly. And I hope I achieved that.
So yeah. Please by all means import the way you read tarot courts into the SKT Revelation.
2 thoughts on “Tarot Court Cards Reimagined in the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot (Revelation Ed.)”
This was incredibly interesting, not to mention, helpful. I appreciate your work, Benebell. I hope that we can meet one day. 😉
yay! thank you! that means a lot to me coming from a pro like you! 😀 ❤