It’s time to look at understanding the Knights of the Tarot, and I am going to do so in much the same way as I did with the Pages. If you’re totally unfamiliar with the Court cards, then please refer to Understanding the Court Cards of the Tarot, before continuing with the Knights. When we draw a Knight in our reading, we know two things straight away about the energy; firstly the traits associated by the fact that it is a Knight, and secondly the characteristics of the suit. By cross-referencing the two and using that knowledge in the context of the spread and other cards we will fully understand the message being conveyed.
Knights are a young energy and can literally represent teenagers and young adults in a reading. But as I’ve said before about the Court cards, they are more a representation of the maturity and knowledge a person has in relation to their life goals and lessons. Like Pages, Knights can be male or female and they represent the idealism and action seen in teenagers. So, ask yourself, what do you know about teenagers or young adults? They are finding who they are and going out into the world fighting for what they believe and want to achieve. They often have very strong emotions about what they feel they believe in. They lack the maturity that experience will bring them later in life, but they make up for this with a lot of confidence and energy, and they can be quite exuberant. I’m going to look at the four Knights individually and to help make understanding them even easier.
The Knight of Cups, especially when looked at in a Rider-Waite deck, brings to mind the notion of a knight in shining white armour coming to your rescue. If the Page was the beginning of exploring our feelings, the Knight has moved on to having full-blown feelings. This person has learned to dream and to dream big. Have you ever heard anyone say, “It is always true love when you’re a teenager”? This is how the Knight of Cups feels. He or she is so caught up in the actual feeling, that reality or rationality barely registers. This is great because this Knight has so much love and emotional positivity to bring, but the downside is that there is no practical planning to achieve the dreams. A lady I was reading for last week got this card as the answer to her relationship woes. She was worried about where the relationship was going with her boyfriend. The Knight of Cups showed me that she was a great romantic and a dreamer, but she had some pretty unrealistic expectations from the relationship. She was in love with the idea of being in love and having a relationship rather than with anything this lying, cheating, stealing man offered her. If you happen to be in love with a Knight of Cups, just know that they can say the sweetest things and appear to be everything you dream of, but it may be up to you to take care of the practical side of the relationship. When not relating to love or relationships, note that the Knight of Cups still brings that level of emotion and desire to attain a goal or dream, but lacks the practical planning and goal setting required to achieve the goal.
The Knight of Pentacles is very different from that of the suit of Cups. He or she is very focussed on the practical. This is the young adult who may be taking on an apprenticeship or following the academic plan to achieve the success or career he or she has planned. You can rely on this Knight to work hard and to get the job done. As with just about every card in the Tarot, this Knight also has a positive and a negative side. He or she may be reliable and hardworking, but this diligent and methodical nature can work against him or her when it comes to thinking outside of the box and having to be a little more dynamic. In a reading, it can often mean that sometimes we just have to do the hard graft to get to where we want to be; to just be methodical in our actions and work towards our goals. But it can also be a warning to say you don’t have to just go step by step or follow rules and a plan that was set out from the start. There may be an easier way to do this; don’t be afraid to think out of the box and to allow a little dynamism in your work every now and then.
The Knight of Swords is the most animated of the Knights in the Rider-Waite deck. The previous two Knights were quite focussed on their individual goals; the first enamoured by the dream and the second is methodical and diligent in his or her practical pursuits. But the Knight of Swords is ready for battle and charges into the fray. This is the young adult who is idealistic and has a cause that he or she is passionate about. As this is the suit of Swords, much of the fighting will be with words rather than with actual violence, but it the notion having something you are willing to fight for. Being an idealist myself, I often get this card in a reading and so does my partner, but bother for very different reasons. I sometimes receive it as a warning that I am charging in and fighting for something while I don’t have all the facts and that there may be more than one side to the issue. My partner, on the other hand, is sometimes encouraged to recapture the Knight of Swords of his youth, when he was more idealistic and believed that anything was possible, all he had to do was find his cause and fight for it.
The Knight of Swords is the Knight you would want as a friend when you’re a teenager or a young adult. He or she has so much energy and is always planning the next social event. Always looking for the next great adventure though, this Knight can grow rather restless and may be more interested in looking for fun than in doing anything serious. All in all though, I like the Knight of Wands energy. If this card comes up in a reading for someone who has had a rough time of things or has been working extremely hard, like I had for a lady a while back, they may need to take a leaf out of the Knight of Wands book and go out and have some fun! Sometimes we need this Knight to remind us to go looking for a new adventure and that we’re never too old to have fun; after all, may be fun is just another way of saying forget all responsibilities for a little while and relax.
The Knights are fun in that they have so much energy about them (yes, even the Knight of Pentacles). Whereas the Pages showed the potential of the suit, I feel that Knights are the concentrated essence of that suit; they go forth with that essence for better or for worse, with youth and energy and while that may be unsuitable at times, it is also needed at other times. Next time, our Knights grow in to the energy of the Queens, so keep an eye out for that.