Court Couples #2

Mixing up the court cards of the tarot can make for an interesting reading, even if you have just two cards. Because of their different elements and ranks, pairing them up can be a very good way of learning about the characters within the tarot court. You can ask yourself, ‘What kind of couple would these two make?’

KnightWands QueenCupsTake the Queen of Cups and the Knight of WandsThis knight often gets a bad rap, since many see him as the bad boy of the tarot deck. All cards have the potential to be positive and negative in a reading, so you could say that when he’s good, he’s very good, but when he’s bad, he’s even more tempting to some. A lot of women like these kind of guys. Deep down, they know that they’ll never be able to tame them, but all the same, it doesn’t stop them from being pulled towards them by some kind of invisible thread.

I relate Wands to the element of fire. I also relate the rank of knight to fire also. Why? Because I see knights as being passionate and enthusiastic and connected to movement. They are fiery and excitable, just like a flame. So when I observe this knight, standing bare-chested in the scorching sun, I see him as ‘pure fire’. The Queen of Cups is ‘pure water’, since both Cups and the rank of Queen relate to the gentle, feminine and nurturing element of water. So, does this couple make a good match? Not really. The Queen of Cups is controlled entirely by feeling. The Knight of Wands is dictated by urge and the fire which rises within him. Neither person is tempered by any of the other elements, which makes them intense people to be around. In this relationship, someone is going to get hurt. My money is on the Queen!

I have seen intelligent women fall for men like this time and again. It really doesn’t have anything to do with intelligence though. The Knight of Wands is a very exciting man to be around. In business, he is the guy in the boardroom who can motivate everyone around the table with his energy and creativity. As a friend, he is the one who urges you to take a day off of work and make a spontaneous trip to the beach. As a lover, he is warm and passionate and can devour you like fire itself. However, as a boyfriend, this fiery personality is less easy to control. He likes to move and charm and seek out the next potential conquest, so don’t be surprised if he has disappeared from your bed by the morning and has found his way into someone else’s.

For the Queen of Cups, this is a big problem. She easily interprets his warmth and passion as love and care, because this is how she responds to the world around her. Her watery element is heated up by the fiery Knight until she literally boils over, becoming obsessive, moody, clingy, over-sensitive, or jealous. She is not responding to him with her mind, but with her heart, which is why so many astute people fall for a man like this. Look around you. I’m sure you have seen this scenario unfold many times, if you haven’t experienced it yourself.

As a couple, these two just don’t work. He is the dude who wants to go and travel by himself or try an open relationship. She is the girl who wants some stability and the kind of fairytale relationship you see in the movies. But don’t get hung-up on gender with these two. I’ve met many women who do not wish to be tied down and who get itchy-feet 24-7. Similarly, I have met many men who think that if they marry these ladies, something will change and they’re wandering-spirit will cease to control them. I’m afraid that in most cases I have witnessed, it doesn’t. As dynamic as the Knight of Wands is, this combination (if you are looking at it in a love or relationship reading) brings about the phrase, never the twain should meet.




© Steven Bright Tiferet Tarot 2014

Illustrations by Steven Bright


12 thoughts on “Court Couples #2

  1. “she literally boils over, becoming obsessive, moody, clingy, over-sensitive, or jealous”. Pff it has been a long time ago, but I get it. I’ve been that queen and so in love with that knight. I thought I could quench his fire a bit but instead he made me crazy and I had to save myself and end the relationship. At that time I had never heard of court cards 😀


    • I think a lot of people have had an experience like this, which is what is so beautiful about finding the secrets of life hidden within the tarot card combinations. I love your description. It’s perfect for this duo

      Even if this is not depicting a specific relationship, it could highlight that we are being either too sensitive in a situation (if we are the Queen) or possibly not considering somebody else’s feelings (if we show up as the Knight).

      Thanks for adding your thoughts to this, Ellen 🙂


  2. Ha ha, the Knight of Wands isn’t particularly good to be in a relationship with, even if you’re also a Knight of Wands type! 😉
    The only way that the Queen of Cups and Knight of Wands make it is if they change/grow up, becoming a bit more of some other Court card…


    • Yes, you’re right. And at times, I am sure that many people can relate to him. For example, a married woman could be channeling the Knight of Wands right now, driven by sexual liaisons outside of a marriage which has lost its spark.

      Many people say that as readers, we can tell a lot by what a person looks like and sounds like when they sit in front of us for a reading, but I don’t agree. Underneath the surface, people have a handle of personality traits and deep desires you’d never guess at by just looking at them. When cards like these two come up for ‘a married woman with two kids and a nice job at the local bakery’, I’ve learned to never presume that she is the Queen and not the red-blooded Knight 😉 We all have the potential in us to be both of them and much, much more. This is what makes reading the court cards so exciting, isn’t it?!


      • This is one of the reasons that I don’t like choosing significators for people in readings. They may not be who they “seem”, and they probably aren’t just one character. Love your example of the perfect Queen of Pentacles/Cups actually having a Knight of Wands moment 🙂


        • Thanks Chloe 🙂

          As well as this, I am not sure that a lot of people are always willing (or even self-aware enough) to place them self in that light. Do you openly tell people you are a sneaky ‘reversed Page of Swords’ (playing about behind your wife’s back) or a ‘reversed Queen of Pentacles’ (not paying any attention to your kids because you’re too busy on Facebook or Ebay)? Often, this might be the problem, but it is never a person’s entire story. Their friends might class them as a caring Queen of Cups, who always listens to their problems. Their boss might see them as someone who always gets the job done (Knight of Pentacles). Which do you choose? Choosing on what you can see could really send a reading in the wrong direction.

          When I read publicly, I usually use a Celtic Cross. Instead of ten cards, I pull eleven, so that the ‘traditional significator’ could be any card in the deck which is covered by the situation in that particular read. Adds just that little bit of extra information. The same goes for position 5 (their focus) and 7 (how they are behaving in given situation). These positions are more flexible for personality traits (using all 78), rather than defining ‘who’ someone ‘is’ at the beginning of the reading with one court card and allows for more scope, I always feel.

          Working with the courts here has really opened up a can of worms. But it is one I am glad to have opened, since I think a lot of people shy away from the courts. They are not as scary-a-bunch as people think. But soon enough, I think a post about pre-conceived ideas in a reading (whether you know the querent or not) might be in order! 🙂


  3. Brilliant!
    I did see you, amongst other things, as writing your own tarot book, remember? 🙂 and here it is!!!!
    Did I mention, brilliant?
    It’s so helpful to move away from RW a little and dip into the wisdom of the Thoth/Crowley system. There is much to be gleaned there as well, esp. the way you just did it. The elemental divisions and layers according to sex and rank bring these characters to light and make them so much more accessible.


    • I do remember. And it is something which is on my mind. Another tarot reader complimented me on my writing style over the weekend and it reminded me of just how much I enjoy to write and communicate about the cards. I really see it as part of my future. However, I need to figure out something new and exciting to write about the cards, since there are so many books about tarot rattling about on the shelves out there.

      Thanks for your encouragement, as always, Nathalie.


  4. Hi Steven 🙂 I’m really enjoying reading your blog (and trying to study as much as I can through it too).
    I had a question about the rank and elements of knights and kings. You read them as fire and air respectively, but there is another reader whose videos on YouTube I like very much, and she reads the knights as air and the kings as fire.
    I was just wondering if they are different schools of thought and each tarot reader must choose the one they feel suits them best?
    On another note, as a Pisces woman I suppose I must be the Queen of Cups! I try to avoid bad boys but I always end up getting burned 😦
    I need to channel some qualities of other cards I think! 🙂
    Thank you for your time!


    • Hi there

      I am so pleased to hear that you are enjoying both your studies and this blog.

      Yes, you have hit on something interesting there. This is something you’ll find throughout tarot, that there are adjustments in people’s practices. Do you mean Kelly-Ann Madox? I have watched her videos and remember her assigning the Knights to Air. Kelly-Ann is a fantastic teacher and her videos are great, but like you say, there are different ideas around this. I have also seen the author Benebell Wen use those correspondences and, if I remember correctly, the creator of the Witches Tarot, Ellen Dugan, reading them as I do. In the end, you have to go with what you feel. I see Knights as being about movement. They are dynamic and exitable, with youthful male energy. This feels like Fire to me. The kings are mature and have elevated themselves to a level of mastery and understanding. This feels like Air.

      Some may disagree with me, but I would say work with that which makes sense for you. There are many people who assign Wands to Air and Swords to Fire, so as you can see, people view the cards in different ways. My advice would be to pick what works for you and stick with it. Hope that helps!

      Liked by 1 person

        • Ah, I love her work. She presents some great reviews.

          I agree that it is all about finding what fits right for you. The Celtic Cross is another example where perception of the placements dither greatly from practitioner to practitioner. If something doesn’t resonate with you then don’t try to force it. The beauty of tarot is that, as much as it having history and tradition, it can be adapted to suit each person using it. Try out ideas and use your own judgement. Examine what feels right and what doesn’t. 😀

          Liked by 1 person

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