Eyes Up, Heart Open: The Pages of Tarot

When I started learning tarot, I was immediately drawn to the gentle nature of the Pages. They’re not as dynamic as some of their companions in the court, but I like their affability. I think of them as the children of the court cards. They’re inexperienced and a little naive, but because of that, they’re also guileless and open-hearted. They’re young enough that society hasn’t yet imposed expectations on them, and so they move through the world without motives. They come from a place of innocent, egoless joy, living firmly in the present and with little concern for the future. And I think that each of them has something particular to teach us about the power of vulnerability and innocent courage and a willingness to see the world through loving eyes.

The Page of Pentacles takes us back to the small, physical delights of childhood—things like running through a sprinkler on a hot day, or splashing in puddles after a thunderstorm, or putting marshmallows in hot chocolate. The suit of Pentacles focuses largely on the more animal facets of life, and because of that, this Page is deeply connected to the physical world. For the Page of Pentacles, as for any child, the world is a playground of sensory delights. No pleasure is too small. No sensation goes unnoticed. This character can find true joy in the smoothness of a river rock or the tart burst of a pomegranate seed. As adults, it’s easy to lose sight of these small joys, but this Page is here to remind us of how unexpectedly restorative they can be. The purpose of the Page of Pentacles is to open our eyes to the tiny miracles around us, ones that we sometimes miss with our tired eyes. We may not be children anymore, but if we stop and look and listen and feel, we can still tap into those bright pinpricks of wonder.

The suit of Wands concerns itself with our passions—the things that make our heart beat fast, the things that excite us beyond measure. And the Page of Wands shows us the kind of intense zeal that children do better than anyone else. For adults, there’s so often a sense that it’s not cool to get too excited about things. Aloofness or arch irony is the goal. But children have none of that uncomfortable self-consciousness. They absolutely do not care what people think of them. They love what they love, whether it be trains or sharks or space or whatever, with a blinding, almost poetic, earnestness. They come at the world full-tilt, with wide-open hearts, ready to be surprised by what comes their way. They’re willing to be curious. They’re willing to be excited. And the Page of Wands invites us to tap into that place of passion that is free from expectations or judgement, because that’s where creative magic happens.

The Page of Swords, like the rest of its court, is clever and has a natural way with words. That being said, this Page is young and so lacks the temperance and judgement inherent in their older companions. Like most children, they speak with no filter. They have courage and heart, but they haven’t yet developed the social skills they need to be diplomatic. And because of their youth, they rarely wield their own swords. They have a tendency to pick up other people’s ideas and rush into battle with them, fully understanding neither the idea itself nor the consequences of their actions. So there’s certainly a reckless enthusiasm here, but there’s also a potential for great intellect, because the Page of Swords is nothing if not endlessly curious. Like all the Pages, they’re transparently open to the world around them. They haven’t yet formed their own ideas, but they’re willing to pick up and examine any viewpoint that comes their way. And because they’re so free of judgement, they have a unique gift for making connections between ideas that other, older people might miss.  

All of the Pages are innocent and curious, but the Page of Cups is a masterpiece of open-heartedness. The suit of Cups has much to say about our emotional lives, and this Page is an expert at letting no feeling go unfelt. As adults, we so often put qualifiers on our emotions—it’s good to feel this way, it’s bad to feel this way. Other times, we tamp down our feelings so as not to appear too emotional, or so we don’t have to confront the difficulties of more complicated feelings. We guard our hearts so carefully, but the Page of Cups does the exact opposite. They’re a student of their own heart. They fully immerse themselves in their emotions, examining their feelings from every angle. The Page of Cups knows that the only way to master their emotional life is to embrace whatever feeling comes their way. Because of that, they’re completely unguarded, moving with the tides of their emotions, letting their feelings wash over them. And this Page reminds us of the gifts that come our way when we move through life with an open heart and embrace the full range of human feeling. It's an act of great vulnerability, but also great courage.