A common question I get from students is, “How do I handle multiple court cards in a reading. I derive meaning based on how the cards interact with each other, so I prefer to use a structured layout. But that’s just my personal preference. It’s perfectly fine to deal out seven or ten cards in a row and read them in sequence. In fact, I know some very successful readers who don’t ever use a structured layout.
Second, I’ve learned through experience that court cards almost always represent people in the querent’s life. But of course there are exceptions.
The following Line of 7 was submitted by a student:
When a group of court cards fall together, it usually means a party, a get together, or a group outing with friends is coming up. That’s the first thing that comes to mind when I look at your grouping of cards because the Ace of Diamonds can represent an invitation.
Your interpretation also makes perfect sense. It could be an engagement party coming up that you’ll either hear about, or be invited to (Ace of Diamonds could indicate all three possibilities).
There’s another possibility if we pair off the court cards. Two Kings can represent a policeman or judge, and the Queen + Jack combination can represent a old female friend from the past. You have two such combinations in your spread. So another possible interpretations is that you’ll run into a female friend you haven’t seen in a while (Queen of Diamonds + Jack of Clubs) who will bring news (Ace of Diamonds) about another old female friend you’ve not seen in a while (Queen of Hearts + Jack of Spades) who has been in trouble with the police (King of Spades + King of Diamonds). The Queen of Hearts shows it was probably a close friend or even a family member and the Jack of Spades shows trouble.
Well, those are some basic ideas without even considering the direction that each card faces. Court cards that face toward each other can indicate collusion or conflict, and those that face away indicate anger or indifference. Cards that face toward the left usually have the querent’s best interests in mind. Those that face to the right are more concerned with their own interests.
For example, the King of Spades and King of Diamonds are interested in each other. We could assume they know each other and are probably friends. The Queen of Hearts is interested in what’s going on with the King of Diamonds, she could have romance on her mind (Heart), but his focus is elsewhere. The Jack of Spades is engaging the Queen of Diamonds. The Jack of Clubs is focused on the invitation, so the invitation is most likely coming from him.
You can find more information about reading the court cards in groups in the Cartomancy Court Cards Category.
A student asks:
Kapherus, I would like to know if there is more to understand when reading court cards. I realize there are suit interactions here that will help the reading to make more sense. Another site states that kings are power/ ideal partners; queens are, truth and jacks are messages in addition to being people in our lives. When I draw court cards I see them so literally as people but perhaps I am missing their broader meanings. Could you write some about this.
Sure, here’s some more information on how I approach the court cards:
In card combinations, a king will almost always represent a mature man either in age or behavior. For example, the King of Spades can represent a divorced or separated man who often appears as an ex-husband, ex-lover, or ex-friend in the cards. He can also be read according to his “Spade” nature. His positive traits are sexy, charming, intense, mysterious, determined, and powerful. On the negative side, he might be aggressive, secretive, demanding, etc.
Because the King of Spades is a natural born leader, he may often represent a man in your life who is in a position of power over you. This could be your father, employer, landlord, professor, or even husband. I know that all of these levels of meaning can seem overwhelming to the beginning card reader, but you’ll find that soon enough your intuition will kick in to help you choose the most appropriate interpretation. (Please see my article on The Court Cards As People for specific information on how to identify the other face cards in your reading, and suggestions on how to read the directions they face.)
In a card spread where the individual positions carry specific meaning, the King can sometimes be read as a quality. The King is top man on the totem pole. He represents influence and authority. The King can represents the querent’s authority in a reading regardless of whether the querent is male or female, or young or old. The specific suit will usually give a clue as to the area of influence. For example, the King of Spades can indicate that the querent is being overbearing in a situation. The King of Hearts can show protectiveness. The King of Clubs shows taking full responsibility for resolving a problem or issue. The King of Diamonds can denote taking financial or intellectual control of a situation.
In combination, the Kings can be read as men interacting with each other. Two Kings is symbolic of a handshake, and can indicate some kind of partnership or mutually beneficial deal. Two Kings can also represent a man in uniform–the first King would represent the man, and the 2nd his uniform. For example, the two Kings could represent a policeman, a fireman, a rescue worker, or a military officer. As a side note, two Jacks can also represent a man who wears a uniform for work, but not necessarily as a symbol of authority. Groups of Kings would indicate an event or organization consisting of mostly men.
The Queen is ageless (meaning she can represent a female of any age) and the Jack is a young male or female, so this pairing is wide open to a multitude of possible interpretations. In other words, there is not a general meaning I can give you that will always apply to any Court Card pairing.
Here are some guidelines that work for me:
When two or more Face Cards of any matching suit appear together, they can represent a family connection. Therefore, the Queen + Jack could be mother and son, or sister and brother, or older sister and younger sister, or even a young married couple.
The combination of Queen + Jack can also be read as an old female friend coming back into your life. The Queen of Hearts might indicate old love interest returning. The Queen of Spades could be an old rival. The Queen of Clubs could be an old work associate, and the Queen of Diamonds could be a long lost relative returning.
Two Face Cards of the same suit can also denote compatibility. For example, the King and Queen with matching suit will usually indicate a married couple, or at the very least a compatible relationship. The Jack of the same suit often represents their offspring.
Sometimes the Queen + Jack can indicate a woman who is involved with a younger man.
The Queen can also represent the subconscious. or something happening behind the scenes. In a reading she can reveal the subconscious motivations that are influencing the situation. For example, the Queen of Diamonds could denote someone subconsciously motivated by money and/or power.
Then on top of all of that, you can also figure in the specific personality traits associated with each suit. So as you can see, the possibilities are almost endless. Your intuition is always your best guide when interpreting the Court Card combinations.
I’ve found in my own readings that the Jacks almost always represents young men, although they can also represent young women or children of either sex. The specific suit can be used to determine interests or personality traits to help place the person in the querent’s life.
Jacks almost always represent people for me, but in layouts with individual spots that convey a specific meaning (such as the Celtic Cross or 5-Pointed Star) the Jacks do often represent thoughts or ideas. Of course a card almost never means only one thing, so it’s also possible to read a Jack first as a specific person in the querent’s life, and then again as an important thought or idea.
I use the Jacks in two ways to represent thoughts or ideas. First, if the King or Queen of the matching suit appears in a reading, the corresponding Jack could represent that person’s thoughts, and the surrounding cards would describe what was on this person’s mind.
Secondly, the Jacks can represent the querent’s thoughts, or an idea being contemplated, particularly if no other Face Cards appear in the spread. In this case, the Jack of Hearts could represent thoughts of love or family, the Jack of Diamonds = thoughts of money or power, the Jack of Clubs = thoughts of work, business or study,
and Jack of Spades would denote thoughts concerning a challenge or problem– often negative thinking. The Jacks can also be read as something new or something offered, but this has rarely been the case for me.
When the Jacks appear in pairs, I use the one falling on top (to the right) to convey the mood of the union or encounter. If a heart falls on top, it would show cooperation, and a friendly interaction such as two good friends sharing a mutual experience. If a Club falls on top, then the interaction is more practical, such as shaking hands on a business deal. If a diamond falls on top, there is probably money or scheming involved. A Spade on top almost always denotes a problem or challenge, and can indicate trouble or conflict between the two young persons.
I have had the pair of Jacks (most often the Jack of Diamonds + Jack of Spades ) indicate a lawsuit in my readings. Usually the 5 of Diamonds is also somewhere in the spread indicating a court case. The Jack of Hearts + Jack of Spades would clue me in to a disagreement. Of course the surrounding cards would also influence the final interpretation, and any pair could denote a quarrel with Spades.