Behold four Kings in majesty rever’d,
With hoary whiskers and a forky beard;
And four fair Queens whose hands sustain a flower,
Th’ expressive emblem of their softer power;
Four Knaves in garbs succinct, a trusty band,
Caps on their heads, and halberts in their hand;
And party-colour’d troops, a shining train,
Drawn froth to combat on the velvet plain.
The Rape of the Lock: Canto III by Alexander Pope,
18th-century English poet and a Jack of Clubs♣
About the Royal Court…the King, Queen and Jack
In the days of ole, the court of a monarch included their extended household and all those who regularly attended to them. In the largest courts, thousands upon thousands of individuals comprised the court with numerous officials or servants in the permanent employ of the ruler, and others attended the ruler in hopes of some political or financial gain, or merely for the society and entertainments offered. Not only were the courts the center of political life, they were usually the leaders of fashion, and often the place where artistic, literary and musical trends first developed.
The court, the residence of a sovereign or some other high dignitary, was usually a palace, castle or some type of manor or mansion. Historically, the courts of Chinese Emperors were among the largest and most complex of all, with the Manchu dynasty occupying the whole Forbidden City as well as other parts of Beijing.
A royal household comprising of a King, Queen and Prince was the highest ranking example of a court. An exquisitely refined royal court played an extremely important role in their culture, kingdom and country… and so it is with the Cards of Life.
In Cardology, the three Court Cards: King, Queen and Jack of the four suits: Hearts♥, Clubs♣, Diamonds♦ and Spades♠ create a royal Trinity. Each Trinity governs over the three months of their season, their quarter, their portion of the year.
In his book, The Mystic Test Book, author Olney H. Richmond, Grand Master of the Order of the Magi and Father of Cardology, revealed in 1893 that each month of the year is governed by one of these twelve royal Court Cards and said that each of us can call upon their power and strength when we need them during their reign.
Who are the Court Cards, also called Crown Cards and Face Cards, in our modern times? Who are the Crown Kings, the Crown Queens and Crown Princes of the deck and how do they play their roles in life today?
In their discussion about the Jacks, Queens and Kings of the deck, Florence Campbell and Edith Randall, authors of Sacred Symbols of the Ancients, say, “In history and in the lives of great men and women of other days, you will find these symbols unfailingly applicable.” They say that in life you can easily recognize those whose cards are Jacks, Queens and Kings. Campbell and Randall end their discourse with a poignant statement, “Court Cards, while not the only rulers and leaders in the affairs of men, are always such by “divine right” and when they do not measure up to their high calling they have failed in their appointment.”
A Jack is a playing card which, in traditional American and English decks, pictures a man in the traditional or historic aristocratic dress generally associated with Europe of the 16th or 17th century. The usual rank of a Jack, within its suit, plays as if it were an 11 (that is, between the 10 and the Queen). As the lowest face (or "court") card, the Jack often represents a minimum standard. For example, many poker games require a minimum hand of a pair of Jacks ("Jacks or better") in order to continue play. Similarly, in the Cards of Life, the Jacks are known to do the minimum to get by, being that they can be highly immature, self-indulgent, sneaky, irresponsible, and just plain lazy.
Historically, as early as the mid-16th century, the Jack card was known in England as the Knave (meaning a male servant of royalty). Although "Jack" was in common usage to designate the "Knave," the term became more entrenched when English cardmaker, Samuel Hart, published a deck in 1864 using the letter "J" instead of "Kn" to designate the lowest-ranking court card because the card abbreviation for Knave was so close to that of the King ("Kn" versus "K"), the two were easily confused. This confusion was even more pronounced after the markings indicating suits and rankings were moved to the corners of the card, a move which enabled players to "fan" a hand of cards without obscuring the individual suits and face values.
In English-style decks, the Jacks and the other face cards do not represent anyone in particular. However, the historical French practice was to have each court card represent a particular historical or mythological personage. The Jacks in French-styled decks have traditionally been associated with such figures as:
Jack of Hearts♥: La Hire (French warrior)
Jack of Clubs♣: Lancelot (one of the Knights of the Round Table and King Arthur's greatest champion)
Jack of Diamonds♦: Hector (mythological hero of the Iliad)
Jack of Spades♠: Ogier the Dane (a knight of Charlemagne and legendary hero of the chansons de geste)
A quick glance through a deck of traditional French playing cards also reveals the letter “V” being used in the corners instead of a “J” or “Kn”. This card refers to the Jack character as the “Valet”. A valet is a personal man-servant, a gentleman's gentleman, or personal attendant who is responsible for the clothes and personal belongings of their employer.
The Jacks were often knights or footmen to the king. In historical French Tarot decks, they are called “Knights” and included: the Knight of Cups, Knight of Wands, Knight of Coins, and Knight of Swords. Today the Jacks of the deck are armed with medieval weaponry. Three of the Jacks: Hearts♥, Clubs♣ and Diamonds♦ in modern decks are clearly seen with halberds. A halberd consists of an axe blade topped with a spike mounted on a long shaft. It always has a hook or thorn on the back side of the axe blade for grappling mounted combatants. Halberds are still used today at the Vatican by the Pontifical Swiss Guard.
Interestingly, in the Standard Bicycle™ deck of playing cards, the Jack of Spades♠ does not have a weapon. Instead, this one-eyed Jack, seen in profile facing right, has a strange motif above his left hand and is without explanation but it does offer us a clue. Since we are actually looking at him from behind as he glances over his shoulder, he may be holding some sort of very unusual royal scepter, halberd or pike as well. While all the courtiers of the deck are endowed with particular objects or ornaments that have served to define them, the assignment of these objects and ornaments has remained relatively unaltered over time.
The Jack of Hearts♥ joins the Jack of Spades♠, both facing sideways, in being nicknamed a “one-eyed jack” since only one eye of their eyes is visible. They are also the two Jacks of the deck who have mustaches. These two characteristics contribute to the reputation of Jacks as being crafty, thieves, and tricksters. Another interesting “Jack fact” is about the Jack of Clubs♣. He is the only Jack with a feather in his crown. While the Jack of Hearts♥ does not have a feather in his crown, he is holding one in his hand. Here is something else that you may not have noticed about the Jacks. They all have yellow hair, while the Queens and Kings have white hair.
Next time you shuffle through a deck of cards, you’ll notice that none of the Queens are equipped with swords and battle axes like the Kings. The Queens rule divinely in coregency (co-rulership position) with the Kings. Unlike their aggressive, domineering counterparts who are symbolized by their conquering weapons of war, the power of the four Queens is symbolized by the flowers of conception, inspiration, prayer and hope shown on their cards. The courtly Queens are passive rulers, representing the feminine principle of receptivity.
Queens represent the spiritual nature of man, the principle of birth and the source of inspiration, setting the ideals not only for their children but for nations as well. They have an authority equal to that of the Kings, proving that true rulership is both masculine and feminine. Queens are intuitive, receptive, and the cooperative aspect of royalty.
In the English playing card deck, legend states that the Queen of Hearts♥ is a representation of Elizabeth of York, queen consort of Henry VII of England. Certainly the headdress the queen wears under her crown is of the early Tudor era. As mentioned before, the French deck manufacturers customarily assigned each Court Card a particular historical or mythological personage. The Queens in a French deck have been traditionally assigned the following names:
Queen of Hearts♥: Judith (Biblical figure)
Queen of Clubs♣: Argine (an anagram of Regina, Latin for "queen")
Queen of Diamonds♦: Rachel (Biblical figure)
Queen of Spades♠: Athena (Greek goddess of wisdom, courage, and justice)
The Queen’s high calling and fulfillment comes from her mission to inspire, to counsel, to comfort, even sit in judgment, encouraging expressions of love, peace and truth. Rendering some form of service is an integral part of her royal responsibility and potential greatness.
An interesting “Queen fact” is three of the four Queens: Hearts♥, Clubs♣, and Diamonds♦ are facing to their right while holding their flowers. In contrast, the Queen of Spades♠ has her face turned in the opposite direction facing to her left. The Queen who reigns over the Spades♠ suit also has a scepter where the other three Queens of the Standard Bicycle™ playing cards do not.
The Kings of the deck are shown carrying weapons, which implies that they rule by strength, making laws for others as well as for themselves. Their raised swords and battle axes symbolize the male principles in nature. The King of Diamonds♦ is the only king not depicted carrying a sword. Interestingly, his hand is fully open and his axe is actually behind him. The King of Hearts♥ is sometimes called the "suicide king" because the sword he wields cuts back behind his head. However, it is debated as to whether or not the weapon, and hand holding it, actually belongs to the king because of the different design pattern of the cuff around his wrist could indicate that someone else has stabbed him.
Like their royal counterparts, three of the Kings: Hearts♥, Clubs♣ and Diamonds♦ are facing to their right. In contrast, the King of Spades♠, like his Queen, has his face turned in the opposite direction, facing to his left. The King of Hearts♥ is the only one of the kings without a mustache and the only one where both hands are visible. On the English deck, the King of Clubs♣ holds a sword in his hand, with an imperial orb just beside it (visual symbol of holding the world in one's hand--seemingly floating in air).
Starting in the 15th century, and continuing until the 19th, French playing card manufacturers assigned the Kings of their deck the following names:
King of Hearts♥: Charles (presumably after Charlemagne) king of Holy Roman Empire
King of Clubs♣: Alexander, king of Macedonia and ruler of one of the largest empires of the ancient world
King of Diamonds♦: Caesar (presumably after Julius Caesar), dictator of the Roman Republic
King of Spades♠: David, a biblical king
Now that we have covered the origins of the Royal Court Cards, it is time to see how people who have these cards as their Life Card affect our lives, not only as adults, but as children too. As a parent, if you have a young daughter or son in your family who is a Queen or a King or even a Jack, the chances of you being able to push them around or tell them what to do are not stacked in your favor. While there are numerous dynamics between cards, there are certain things that will play out, especially if the child(ren) are Court Cards and the parents aren’t. For example, the mother is the Two of Spades (2♠) and the father is the Six of Diamonds (6♦) and they have a King of Clubs (K♣) daughter. The day the (K♣) daughter is born; she walks right into her kingly role and is now the ruler of the family. Whenever a child is born as one of the twelve Royal Court Cards, they are not going to bow down to anyone or be told what to do.
So what are the parents to do while raising a daughter destined to be the King of Clubs♣, the card that knows everything? The best advice is to let their daughter do what she needs to because she has to learn on her own. The only way to can learn from them is if they were a Jack, Queen, or a King as well. In a situation like this, it is best for the parents to love their daughter by letting her go and by telling her how wonderful she is. Whatever the parents try to do, it is always best not to try to change their royal offspring. Children with Crown Cards understand on some level that they really do know more than their parents do. They will always know exactly where their parents, and other family members, stand in the big scheme of things and they certainly know where they stand.
Most children with Court Cards, especially the Queens and Kings, are more mature and like taking a teaching or leadership role in their activities at home and at school. Many of them will rule with integrity and a sense of honesty and goodness about them, while others will boss and bully others to exert their sense of power and superiority. Jacks, Queens, and Kings can all be politicians as well. The Jack, of course, would be the corrupt politician.
No matter the age or sex, people of the twelve royal Court Cards have their destinies determined by the day they were born. Their destiny places them on the throne, or at least in charge of a department or company, and as a rule, they can rule effectively if they choose to do so.
NOTE: Our reality is composed of masculine and feminine energies and everything in life is a blending of the two. Both masculine and feminine energy, and their expressions, are equally important. The universe would not exist without both of them in equal balance. The four Jacks and Kings of the deck personify the masculine energy and are the archetypes of masculinity. Whether a person possessing a Jack or King Life Card is male or female by birth, they will still embody many of the masculine principles.
Similarly, the four Queens in the deck personify the feminine energy and are the archetypes of femininity. Whether the person possessing a Queen Life Card is male or female by birth, people with these cards still embody much of the feminine, receptive principles.
In Cardology, each of these Court Cards (Kings, Queens, Jacks) are referred to by their traditional gender. While there are females who have King and Jack cards and males who have Queen cards, this does not imply any sexual orientation and no judgments are made otherwise. For simplicity and ease of understanding, the traditional genders are used. Any unique gender-specific characteristics are mentioned in the appropriate places.