Seeker, Apprentice, Mentor, Ancestor: The Coven Cards.

Greeting The Court (Coven) Cards in a different paradigm.

Ah, the court cards or “face cards.” Here we call them Coven cards (noun: coven; plural noun: covens. A group or gathering of witches who meet regularly.

Coven cards: Seeker, Apprentice, Mentor, Ancestor. 

Traditionally, within tarot, each suit has a grouping of these cards that represent a hierarchy- Page, Knight, Queen, King. Within this system we can observe the heaviness of gender roles and Patriarchy.

While our readers can make correlations between the traditional court card structure and these Coven Cards, I invite you to have a “Tower moment“ with me. Let’s walk for a bit down a path where traditional structures have been burned down and we rebuild. Together.

This Tower moment is going to be activating and perhaps confusing at times. This, much like the plants who are present, is slow medicine. 

We can’t quick reference or quick fix our way into revolution. 

We can’t intellectualize our way through somatic experiences. 

These 16 Coven cards hold our own evolution and archetypal experiences within the larger frameworks and the small. Fractals. “A fractal is a non-regular geometric shape that has the same degree of non-regularity on all scales. Fractals can be thought of as never-ending patterns…In which similar patterns recur at progressively smaller scales, and in describing partly random or chaotic phenomena such as crystal growth, fluid turbulence, and galaxy formation.” 

That said, traditional Rider Waite Tarot court cards are sixteen cards: four court cards within each suit (wands, swords, pentacles, cups).

The structure is:

  • Page
  • Knight
  • Queen
  • King

These cards may represent an energy, a person in our lives, or a part of our personality that we need to either embrace or step back from. There are lots of books and articles about these cards and a quick google search will reveal key words, prompts, and “cheatsheets.”

We are offered a different way to be with the Coven cards. Tower moment. 

Magical Nature Tarot holds a woven structure of:

  • Seeker (Page)
  • Apprentice (Knight)
  • Mentor (King)
  • Ancestor (Queen)

You will notice that the last card of the Coven cards corresponds with the Queen – not the king. 

Beth Maiden wrote about this reframing of the court cards in, The Little Red Tarot Guide Book. 

Seeing the Queen or the Ancestor card as the final card of the suit. Tower moment. This reframing can cause discomfort – an exasperated feeling of “Just tell me what it means!”

Alas, it’s not that simple and I am doing my best not to infantilize these cards in order to give you (or myself) an easy answer. The truth is there isn’t one. 

Here we breathe with the Coven cards as we are offered an opportunity to be present with the face cards, the court cards, within a different paradigm. Invite your breath to drop all the way to the floor, then begin to rise it back up pausing at different energetic points within you. Where in your body do you experience the wisdom of these cards? 

I invite you to…

Sit with these cards as you begin to build a relationship with them. 

Pull out all of the Coven cards of  one suit and immerse yourself in that suit, that element. 

Look at the Seeker, Apprentice, Mentor, Ancestor. Let yourself explore the energetics of that suit 

and how those energies relate to each element, each card.

Cups. Water. West. A drop of dew, my saliva, the ocean, rivers, veins pumping with blood, all of the tears ever cried, a raindrop.

Pentacles. Earth. North. Bone, teeth, a garden, the forest floor, mountains, the dirt under my fingernail, the dust on the bookshelf, the bodies of the ancestors.

Wands. Fire. South. Energy. Passion, digestion, gastric juices, the sun, a kiss, flowing lava, lighting strikes, the electrical pulse in the drumming of our hearts.

Swords. Air. East. Oxygen. Our breath, incense wafting, tornados, spring breeze, hurricane winds, soft snoring of a loved one.

Next I invite you to then explore all four of the Seeker cards, the Apprentice cards, the Mentor cards, the Ancestor cards – as their own grouping.

Notice the energy of each.

  • Where do they take you? 
  • Who do they remind you of?
  • If you were at a gathering with them – what would each of them say to you? 
  • How do you relate to this card? 
  • What part of your human experience are they whispering about? 
  • What chakra is activated looking at this card? 
  • Where do you feel it in your body? 

You can begin to understand the threads of “sameness” and also the vast difference because you have unpacked your experience of the element connected to the card. 

Seeker – beginnings, curiosity, freshness, studious, exploration – as they relate to the element of their suit.

Apprentice- activity, creative, strength, movement, emotions – as they relate to the element of their suit.

Mentor- leader, resourceful, intentional, stepping in, inhabiting your life -as they relate to the element of their suit.

Ancestor – completion of the suit/journey, nurture, wisdom, consistency, power  – inner and outer realm work -as they relate to the element of their suit.

What about “reversed cards” ?

Every tarot reader has different ways of working with “upright” and “reversed” placements – all of these approaches are valid! 

My approach is very simple – I believe that each card (regardless of the placement) – holds the energy of “a promise and a caution” as a teacher of mine says. For me, each card always has the opportunity to be read in their fullness – as a truly holistic experience.  

Remember, no one will ever read the cards the way that YOU do. Your lived experience, your imagination, your higher self, your spirit team, and ancestors all inform the ways that you read tarot. You are unique and that is the magic of tarot – because if we are just reciting memorized key words, then the tarot becomes flash cards. 

You have permission to explore, permission to trust yourself , permission to open to your knowings. 

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