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How to Read the 4 King Tarot Cards

Learn how to read the four King tarot cards from expert Ellen Goldberg, M.A. in this Howcast video.


Hello I am Ellen Golberg and I welcome you to this tarot moment from the school of of Oracles. In this segment we're going to take a brief over view of the four kings, the court cards from the four suits of the minor arcana. 

The kings belong in the Tiphareth - in the tree of life. When Crowley wrote about them, he changed their names to princes but really, they are the king as in the old sense of the king of the wood because Tiphareth is the place of the sacrificial gods that came to Earth: Jesus, Mithras, anyone who has given themselves and their life for mankind. The king in the olden days gave his life too. All of the kings are ruled by the element of air plus the element of their suit and this helps to determine part of their personality, as well as their combination of astrological sign. All court cards that we use as significators are two thirds of a primary. Their primary sign, and one third of the sign that came before. All of the kings are the fixed sign of the zodiac. They know what they know. They've matured, and they're not changing.

Notice how each one of them wears a cap underneath his crown. That's called the cap of maintenance. It represents both responsibility to others and entertainment and success, they are at their pinnacle. 

The king of wands is fire plus air. He is wonderfully magnanimous. Since he is Leo, his key phrase is "controlling appetites and passions". He has a very big capacity for enjoying life and if you know Shakespeare a little bit, he's very much like false staff. Big and full of himself in enjoying things, but he is also like Richard the Lion-Hearted because he is bold and courageous and kind and brave. This card, is primarily Leo and you can see below for the dates that will apply in case your birthday falls within him. Notice the little salamander, his totem, right there, crawling at the bottom of the card, also behind him at the back of his throne, both lions and salamanders. 

The king of cups is two thirds Scorpio so therefore he is air and water. He is floating on the sea because he is the king who is most connected to the subconscious. His key phrase is "drawn to a higher purpose". That's when he is on his higher polarity. On his lower polarity, he is drawn to his own purpose which is own purpose which is secret because he is fixed water, which is the sign of Scorpio and that does have an element when it goes low, of having many secret purposes. Whether it's higher or lower, the compelling urge of the libido, the sex drive of the Scorpio, because Scorpio rules the sex drive, is very strong in him. Depending on whether he's well aspected or low aspected, you'll see how he's going to handle that. 

The king of swords is very interesting to me because here is a double element of all kings are air, and all swords are airs. This is double air, meaning he is pure mind. Notice he is the only court card among all of them that does not look to the right or left, he looks straight at you, and that's because his key phrase is "unveiling truth behind appearances". He sees. Now pure mind is amoral. Not immoral, but without, it's simply clear in truth. When he is on his higher polarity, he uses truth in a very constructive way. When it's on his lower polarity, well, he could deceive and be untruthful also, he could use truth as a weapon because sometimes truth can be used sarcastically to hurt or name. Either way, he is pure mind, and he is the best at magician type things, it's been said. 

The king of pentacles is the king of Earth. I love his key phrase "solution to all human problems and control over the environment". This man knows how to handle life on planet Earth. Notice that you can not really tell where his robe ends and where the environment begins. He is fixed Earth and that is Tarus. The king of pentacles, when he is well aspected, he can do anything, fix anything on the Earth plane. He's solid and steady, he's sensuous, and he is in tune with nature. On his lower polarity, then he becomes more self centered, plotting, maybe there's too much averous, maybe he wants too much for himself. 

On behalf of the School of Oracles, I thank you for being with me.

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