In this post, we will be exploring The Knights of the Tarot, looking deeply at the medicine of movement.
How do you move through the world, literally and figuratively? What is your pace? Your general tempo? How does your mind move? Is this different from the way your body moves?
What ways of moving frustrate you? What ways of moving invigorate you?
If you could have access to a kind of magical compass, letting you know the most aligned path forward with regard to your movement through the world on any given day, would you lean into it for support? The Knights represent that compass, and are available to offer this kind of gentle guidance and direction to us anytime we choose to engage with them.
In Soul Tarot, which is the kind of Tarot I teach, we don’t consider Court Cards to be other people. It’s not to say that they cannot be other people, or be representative of other folks in our lives from time to time, but it is not where they start. The Court Cards are master level energies, each bringing huge evolutionary invitations into our lives. When all 16 Court Cards come together, they represent a kind of complete, holographic higher self. Anytime we work with a Court Card, or we pull one in our reading, we are being invited to engage with these higher, soul level realms — to step into each Court Card, and embody their energy. To consider the Courts as other people robs us of this medicine, our power, and our agency. It immediately shifts these energies away from us, and gives them away to other people. There is absolutely a place for a rich practice that leans on The Court Cards as representations of other people, but we want to leave generous room at the table for ourselves. Doing so is a huge reclamation of our empowerment around our Tarot practice. These cards are here for us, inviting us into sacred, master level expansion. If we are available to this invitation, it can truly be life changing.
In Soul Tarot, The Pages, ruled by Earth, call us back into the realm of new beginnings, and reconnection with the wisdom of our inner little ones. The Queens, ruled by Water, represent four facets of the inner realms within us, and The Kings, ruled by Fire*, represent the ways in which we are being called into aligned, inclusive leadership, the ways our inner gifts can be shared with the world.
The Knights, ruled by Air, represent the ways in which we move through the world, the ways in which we take up space. This is so important, because it is often difficult to discern the ways that we are being invited to take action in our lives. How many of us have found ourselves in the midst of a particularly puzzling situation, looking at all the facts, and saying, “Yes, I know all of this. What do I do about it, exactly? What action, if any, can I take here?” This is where the Knights come in. Calling upon these cards in our decks is very much like checking in with our inner compass. Once we have that clarity, we can relax and let the wind carry us to the shores of our next destination.
Of all the Court Card suits, I personally find The Knights to be some of the most concrete, and the most useful for every day life. In this post, we will go over a bit about each Knight, and invite you into a way to call upon them when you was to gain greater clarity on how you are being invited to walk through the world.
Knight of Swords, Air/Air — the fastest Knight. When we move through Knight of Swords, we fly like the wind. It is an invitation to do, not think. To actually bypass, to a safe and respectful degree, the preferences of our bodies, and push ourselves to our limits. If you have been on an extreme deadline, have worked a double shift where you’ve been on your feet and they feel sore, or if you have spent so much time working on a project that you forgot to break for lunch, you know what it is to engage with Knight of Swords. This card says, you can go further than you think you can, so do it. When we pull this card, it is wise to trust the pace and the flight that is available to us. While it’s not a space to drop into all the time, it can be an immensely helpful ally to us in moments of great bursts of creation, caretaking, and productivity. You might be tired and achy, but when Knight of Swords comes up, is safe to edge into our limits in a safe and curious way.
Knight of Pentacles, Air/Earth — the slowest Knight. Knight of Pentacles does not mean that we are moving slowly, or that you, individually, are a slow person. It also doesn't mean that life is forcing you to move at a slower pace than you would perhaps prefer. Knight of Pentacles weaves together Air and Earth, movement and grounding. It is a card of preparation. If things feel like they dragging, and you pull Knight of Pentacles, it is a heads up that you are being called to prep before your journey. Are there things that need your attention right in front of you? Loose ends to tie up? Phone calls to make? Details to finalize? If so, this is the ally that will call us into the fine print. I often think of Knight of Pentacles as the kind of energy I would call upon for a road trip. When preparing for a road trip, we ideally want to get our car checked (maybe an oil change, maybe better tires), get it gassed up, purchase snacks and beverages for the road, download offline maps to our phone in case we run out of service, make sure our insurance and inspections are all up to date — then, when the road trip starts, we will be so much more supported than if we just leapt into it without paying ourselves first. With Knight of Pentacles, it’s not that we have to wait — we get to prepare. Once we’ve prepared, then we get to fly.
Knight of Wands, Air/Fire — moving through the world feeling ourselves. That is the best description for Knight of Wands energy. Unlike the Knight of Swords, or the Knight of Pentacles, Knight of Wands does not abide by a certain speed or tempo. It is more of an energetic experience, one that can guide us toward all kinds of different people, places, experiences, and opportunities. Knight of Wands is explosive and delicious in all the best ways. What pulls you into that feeling? Thinking about a crush? Working out? Listening to music that makes you feel alive? Painting? No matter what, Knight of Wands invites us to call in the things that light us up, that make us feel like we are dropped into our best selves. We don’t necessarily have to feel happy, joyful, or sexual to engage with this card, and we certainly don’t have to ascribe to a certain demeanor or behavior to be connected with this energy. In other words, this card is here to support us in feeling ourselves — us. When we move through the world in this way, reaching for the things that ignite that inner flame, it calls all kinds of things to us, and can inspire so many ideas and opportunities. It might feel a little uncomfortable at first, but learning to lean into this card can be so powerful.
Knight of Cups, Air/Water — moving through the world in a balanced way. Knight of Cups is ruled by water and air. With this in mind, we can think of the horizon, where the sky meets the ocean. When we move through the world embodying Knight of Cups, we are being invited to engage with this level of inner equilibrium. It might mean that we don’t take on certain conversations or confrontations in that moment. It might mean that we prioritize our own self care first. It might mean that we are crazed and busy, and instead of locking into Knight of Swords, we are actually bring called back to the body, back to ourselves. When we move through the world in this way, life becomes a walking, breathing meditation. Knight of Cups energy is a chance to shift back to the heart again and again and again, checking in with that horizon line throughout our day. Is it balanced? Knight of Cups does not mean that we are calm and serene. This card absolutely includes and holds a space for huge emotion. In fact, its typically when we experience these huge waves of feeling and emotion that this card will come up, gently lifting our gaze to the horizon, and away from the contraction of the waves. The more we move through the world in this way, the more aligned our day will be — even if we are working with big inner experiences.
How can we engage with these energies to align ourselves with the medicine of movement?
As simple as it sounds, my favorite way to do this is to take out my four Knights, and place them in front of me in a little pile, face down. From there, I will take a deep breath, drop in with my Guides, and ask for clarity on how I am being invited to engage with the world today. I might add a little to the question, asking how I can best engage with my body in the midst of a deadline, or how I can care for myself in the midst of a certain situation. I encourage you to do the same, to just sense if there is anything else that you can add to your inquiry that feels right for you.
Once you’ve asked the question, close your eyes and pick up the four Knights in your hand. With your intention shining in your heart, let your hand guide you to the card that feels the best for you, and then pull it and see what you’ve received. If you prefer not to pull cards this way, that’s okay! You can pull your Knight card in any way and in any style that feels right for you.
What did you pull? What clarity did it provide, if any?
I invite you to continue to deepen your relationship with these magnificent allies and archetypes. The more you tune in with them, the more intimate and rich your practice will become.
*It is important to note that the assignations of the Court Card elements (Earth for The Pages, Air for The Knights, Water for The Queens, and Fire for The Kings) is very flexible, and often changes from reader to reader, or teacher to teacher! Sometimes folks mix these up, and assign different elements to different Court Cards. This is the way that it most makes sense to me, and the way I choose to teach it. However, if you roll differently, it’s all good!