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Reader Q&A: What is the significance of the directions in which the Court Cards face?

By October 7, 2011 May 4th, 2018

Today's Reader Question: What is the significance of the directions in which the Court Cards face?

Cheryl from Canada asks:

“What is the meaning of the position in which the Pages, Knights, Queens and Kings face. For instance, it seems that the Queen of Cups and King of Cups have their backs to each other; one faces west while the other east. On the surface, this would seem as though they do not support each other. Also some Pages and Knights face towards the west, while others towards the east. Thank you for your clarification!”


An excellent question, Cheryl! We can think of this in two ways. First, we can look at the figure in an individual card to interpret the direction in which he/she is facing. Second, we can look at the figures in two or more Tarot cards and analyse the interactions between those figures.

Individual Figures and Cards

When interpreting the direction in which a single figure faces, a common method is to interpret it as looking to the past, present or future.

A figure facing to the left (e.g. the Knight of Swords) may be focused on the past. A figure facing front-on (e.g. King of Swords) is focused on the present. And a figure facing the right (e.g. Knight of Pentacles) is looking towards the future.

Knight of SwordsKing of SwordsKnight of Pentacles

Now, this method may not work in all cases. For example, the King of Wands faces to the left and towards the past. Yet I see this card as focused very much on the future. The King of Wands is typically very visionary and goal-oriented. However, in the context of an actual reading where other cards are pointing to the past, it may make sense to interpret the King’s direction as another sign of relating to the past.

Relationship Between Figures and Cards

This is where it gets more interesting! I think there is a lot of meaning behind the direction in which the figures face when you are looking at two or more cards.

For example, is the Page of Swords looking at the Queen of Cups? Well, depending on how you lay out your Tarot cards, the Page may be staring down the Queen, but she is turned the other way! Or perhaps the Queen is lovingly watching over the Page, who really couldn’t care less because he’s looking the other way and exploring the world.

Queen of CupsPage of Swords

In a three-card Tarot reading, look to the figure in the middle card and how he/she is interacting with the figures in the cards either side.

  • Does the central figure look towards one side or the other? If so, what (or who) is being given attention and what is being ignored?
  • Is the central figure looking front-on? Perhaps there is a choice that must be made between two options, as represented by the cards on either side.
  • Do the figures on either side look towards the central figure? This may be a sign that the central figure is the one believed to have the answers.

This technique is particularly helpful for relationship readings and readings involving important decisions or choices.

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In a relationship reading where one card is drawn for each person involved, look at how the figures in those cards relate with one another. Are they looking at each other? Are they looking away? Are they gesturing to one another? What are their reactions to each other? This will often tell you a lot about the dynamics that are present within the relationship.

In a choices reading, is the figure facing an issue head on, or looking away? For example, you draw the Page of Pentacles to represent yourself and the Five of Pentacles to represent the issue. If the Page sits to the left of the Five of Pentacles, he appears to be looking directly towards the Five of Pentacles, facing up to any challenges of financial loss or adversity and ready to take action.

The Lowdown

Looking at the direction in which a person faces on the Tarot card can add an extra layer of depth to your Tarot readings, particularly when it is a relationship reading or a decision-making reading. You can choose to interpret the individual figure using the Past / Present / Future method, or you can start to look at how the different figures across multiple cards are interacting with one another. And, this is not only relevant to the Court cards but also to all cards in the Tarot deck that feature a person.

Remember, too, that the figures may be facing different directions depending on which deck you use.

What is Your Recommendation?

What advice do you have for Cheryl? How do you interpret the directions of the Court cards and other figures in the Tarot?

Leave your comments below…

Got a Tarot Question? Contact me and send in your Tarot questions and I hope to be able to share them with other readers! Please note, this isn’t an invitation for a free Tarot reading, but an opportunity to ask a question about how to read Tarot.

Finally, thank-you to the wonderful people at who provided added inspiration for this post!


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Wish You Had A Tarot Card Meaning Cheat Sheet?

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And Avoid Getting Stuck When Trying To Remember The Card Meanings