A few months ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Emilie Wapnick for my other Autostraddle column, Follow Your Arrow. Emile is the founder of Puttylike — an online community for folks who don’t feel that they have ‘one true calling’ and instead embrace a life filled with many and various passions. A ‘multipotentialite’ life is typically filled with any number of different projects, and multipods often find themselves bouncing from one great idea to the next.
As someone who seriously identifies with this community, I often use tarot to navigate through the early stages of a project. (Or, more often, the boring stages where the work gets hard and I feel like giving up!) Tarot is an awesome tool for helping me to get stuck in to something new and exciting, and a much-valued friend to bounce ideas around with when I get stuck.
Recently, Emilie invited me to contribute to her own latest project: Multi-Passionate Must-Haves. This is an amazing bundle of books, courses and resources for anyone who rejects the idea of following a single path in life, with contributions from 15 creative, multi-passionate people.
My addition to the bundle is, of course, a 50-page book on using tarot for projects and planning! 78 Cards, All Of The Things is all about how tarot cards reflect the experience of having lots of interests and ideas, and provides some cool tarot spreads to help you use those cards to focus and commit to what you really want to work on (like the simple tarot spread I shared last month, which features in the book!)
In the book I also talk about tarot’s court cards (the Kings, Queens, Pages and Knights) as representing stages in the life or development of a project. Writing this section of the book really helped me to frame those court cards in a new way and understand them better. Since I know that many many people find these cards difficult to interpret, I thought I’d share this section with you here!
Here’s a basic guide to the four court card stages, with simple suggestions for each of the four suits (all card pics are from the Kitty Kahane Tarot):
The ‘child’ stage. Tarot’s Pages are characterised by an open-minded enthusiasm and a willingness to be a student, to explore, to learn. There’s a lovely lack of ego here, a sense that anything is possible and that you’re just at the beginning of something. You know that you don’t know much yet, and that can be a real strength! Your mind is not made up, you don’t think you ‘know it all’, you’re just ready and willing to learn. On the less-positive side, this can also mean naivety and impressionability.
In terms of your project, you’re just in the early days of your new idea, excited, open-minded and exploring possibilities. The world is wide open to you, there is a sense of many different pathways that are open to you. It’s important to listen to the advice of those who have gone before you, to learn and observe, but it’s also important to listen to your inner guide right now. Remember that this is your project and your journey!
- Page of Wands – a sense of excitement and wonder about your plan, active experimentation.
- Page of Swords – mind-mapping, sketching out ideas with a focus on your goal, reading and devouring information, talking to people about your ideas.
- Page of Cups – the feeling deep down that this is a great idea, something you are ‘called’ to do, something that just touches you in an inexplicable way. Falling in love with your idea.
- Page of Pentacles – exploring financial viability, setting up a comfortable workspace, checking out community resources, field trips.
The ‘teenager’ stage. Knights are known for their gung-ho attitude and single-minded approach to any task or issue. Throwing themselves in wholeheartedly, a Knight may not always take the time to see the bigger picture, but what they bring is passion and energy.
In terms of your project, this is the super-busy, active stage. You’re completely excited by your project and you’ve thrown yourself in completely, (probably to the exclusion of all other areas of your life!) It’s obsessive, fun…and exhausting too. Knights are all about dualities. Burnout is a real danger at this stage, so when you see Knights appear in your readings, it’s a sign to check in with that obsessive energy. Is it powering you along and helping with your project, or is it wearing you out?
- Knight of Wands – busy busy busy doing all of the things, firing on all cylinders, lots of excitement, passion and ego here. Potential for starting lots of things and not finishing any. If others are to be involved, this is where you rally support.
- Knight of Swords – working over specific issues or problems in your mind, clear focus on your goal and the route to get there, lots of thinking (and possibly not enough doing?), going back to the drawing board, obsessing over the outcome.
- Knight of Cups – the feeling that your ideas is more important than everything else, sacrificing self-care or other areas of your life. Being very emotional about your idea (this can be a great thing, or it can cause you to completely lose perspective.)
- Knight of Pentacles – head down and getting on with the job in hand, real commitment and hard work, going slow and steady towards your goal, accepting the hard work ahead, possibly being a bit of a bore (are your friends missing you?)
The self-assured stage. Here, you’re confident in your abilities and assured of your own powers. (Although I’m following tradition in this book and placing Queen below King in the order of things, there’s a strong argument for the Queen being the ultimate card in the Minor Arcana.) The Queen represents a feeling that you’re in the right place, in the right moment, you have the personal resources you need to make a success of whatever you’re doing, the inner self matches the outer and you’re truly rooted in your powers.
In terms of your project, this is a wonderful place to aim for. Success, not only in the eyes of the people around you, but within yourself. In fact, as the Queen, it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks — your own inner wisdom will tell you if you are succeeding. When you see Queens in your readings, there may be a wonderful sense of being ‘in the flow’, or encouragement to look within for real, trustworthy answers.
- Queen of Wands – you are master of your own destiny, a renegade, one of those people nobody will mess with. Your ways may be unorthodox but you know in your gut what you’re doing and don’t give a damn what anyone thinks. Taking real joy in your work, loving your project, doing only the parts that make you happy. True personal confidence.
- Queen of Swords – a very clear sense of right and wrong, of what needs doing and why. Realism without cynicism, born of experience. You’ve ridden out the highs and lows of this project and you have no need to kid yourself about anything. Clear strategies. A confident, serious approach.
- Queen of Cups – deeply feeling ‘in the flow’, being guided by your intuition. Irrational, maybe, because you’re being led from the heart. Often misunderstood, but who cares? You know what you’re doing because you feel it, deep down. Creative confidence, artistry, a flair for the unusual.
- Queen of Pentacles – rooted in your work, you have a personal sense of being on solid ground. You have all that you need to continue your project (or you’ve finished!) Not compromising self-care and the nourishment you need to do the work you love. Enjoyment of the real, earthy elements of your projects, of seeing tangible results.
The ‘mentor’ stage. The King is tarot’s leader, a boss, a figurehead, someone who sets a standard in society and who may manage, teach or encourage others. This is the stage where you have achieved what you want to achieve, and are now able to show others how to do the same — it’s a wonderful culmination of your hard work. What’s so wonderful about the King is that they have worked hard for all that they have achieved — this is not about privilege or being gifted success.
In terms of your project, it’s time to think about the lessons you have learned, and perhaps look at ways to share these with others. Or perhaps your project is complete and the King simply says ‘well done, good job’, and it’s time to move on to something new? If a King appears part-way through a project, it could be an indication to look for a teacher or elder to advise, or a welcome boost to your confidence.
- King of Wands – everything you touch seems to work out! You work only on the things that you are passionate about, and are unashamed of leadership, encouraging others to follow your example. Impatient, perhaps, you want to bask in your success. At the same time, you’re wondering about the next big idea, or how to take things further…
- King of Swords – a black-and-white understanding of what has worked and what hasn’t, clear communication, accountability to yourself and to others. Working to a plan and reaching an expected logical goal. Desire to teach, to share, to write or otherwise communicate your learning for the benefit of others.
- King of Cups – the ability to acknowledge your feelings but to rise above them, to see your emotional areas of weakness but to avoid falling prey to them. Perhaps a little unfeeling? Awareness of how when you allow intuition to guide you, the results are usually good. Willingness to be honest about what feels good and bad about the project so far.
- King of Pentacles – the picture of success, maybe you’ve made some money from your project, or created something impressive. Generous with your success, enjoyment of sharing what you’ve earned through your hard work. A feeling of comfort, of having enough. Completion, but possibly a hunger to begin again.
As I said, these are just ideas, based on my own interpretations of the cards. When you see the court cards appear in the exercises in the next section, refer back to this guide, but don’t take my ideas as hard and fast card meanings. Use them as a starting point to develop your own.
Think you might be a multipod too? Check out the whole of the Multi-Passionate Must-Haves bundle here! It’s available until Thursday, May 19 at 11:59pm PDT.