Contemplating the Kings

31 March 2017

Kings are the mature embodiment of each of their suits. They are solid and reliable, they stand for certainty not change. While the rest of each suit has goals or actions, the Kings are stable and unmovable. As a group, they are powerful and authoritative.  

Deck: Dreaming Way Tarot by Rome Choi, illustrated by Kwon Shina  (Can we take a moment to admire the back?)

Like many other tarot novices, I considered the court cards more tricky to get to grips with than other cards in the deck. In my mind, they were quite difficult to distinguish when using my 'study deck' which is the Radiant Rider Waite. In fact, I didn't start to relate to them until I was looking through the Dreaming Way tarot - isn't it great that a different artistic interpretation can bring fresh perspective? (I can see why people often end up with many decks!) In a side-by-side comparison, the symbolism isn't actually very different in the two decks, so perhaps it's that I can relate to Kwon Shina's art more easily.

These are my thoughts about the individual kings, and how I identify with them. I didn't use a book, so they may be completely different to the standard meanings - see if you agree with my conclusions. 

The King of Pentacles is an older main, who has earned material success. People respect him. He is fatherly and - dare I say it - a bit cuddly. I imagine grandchildren rushing in to see him, waiting to be indulged with attention and gifts. He enjoys big family meals and hearty laughs over a large goblet of wine - look out because he'll refill yours continuously, he's a great host. Protective and loving, the King of Pentacles is the person you'd want to give you a big bear hug and to tell you everything will be ok, when life seems uncertain. You know where you stand with him - he's solid and earthy and as a result, his advice is practical and sound. He loves gardening and being outside, and even though he has other people who will take care of his enviable estate, he enjoys getting his hands dirty and no job is beneath him. 

In contrast, the King of Wands is a task-master. Ambitious and assertive, he is a demanding father and boss and probably not someone you'd want to confide in - he might see your insecurities as faults and would tell you to pull yourself together, in no uncertain terms. This is a man who gets things done and nothing will stop him. His children wish that he would spend more time with them, but he doesn't sit still for long enough. Perfection is this king's middle name. He has a stern look and that's because he is stern - you definitely wouldn't want to disappoint him. He expects everyone else to have the highest standards, just like he does. He exercises (excessively) every day, competing with himself when there's no one else who can keep up, and he always dresses in the most fashionable clothes - not just because he can but because he loves the attention. 


The King of Cups is another nice father, he is in touch with his emotions, he's friendly and approachable and when he's with you, he's present in a way that not many people are - he makes you feel special. He's understanding and tolerant, and his kids hope to grow up to be just like him. Others see him as a father figure too, not because he's particularly authoritative (although he does have authority) but because he's such a genuinely nice guy - he's respectful and warm and welcoming. When he smiles, he lights up the room. 

The King of Swords might learn a thing or two from him as he could do with a bit of warming up. He is incredibly intelligent and (over-)analytical... of everything. It can be quite tedious to talk to him, so his family often choose not to - unless there's a dispute that needs resolution, in which case his sense of fairness and emotional-detachment will be exactly what you need. He's capable and rational and there are times when you might want to seek his wisdom (like when you have troublesome maths homework), but he's not exactly touchy-feely. In fact, many people would consider him cold, or even a bit scary. 

With these insights, I've been able to liken them to people I know or have known. One is my much-loved-and-missed father-in-law, one an old boss, another is a friend's husband and one is someone from my youth. This makes it so much easier for me to relate to the cards. How about you? Do you think of the cards as real people? 

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