Thursday, September 20, 2012

Personality Types and the Court Cards

Personality types are somewhat of a pop psychology-ism, and there are limitations. Originally stemming from the work of Carl Jung, who also worked to develop the idea of archetypes. Personality types are an attempt to categorize people. We as human beings seem to love to do this- one theory I've heard explains it away as first, an attempt to make easy sense of the world, and that it will require less cognitive energy to understand the world. While making generalizations about the world can help to make sense of it, they can also lead to over-generalizations. The world is rarely entirely in black and white, and this is especially true of people.
Personality here refers to the general pattern of behavior, thought and action an individual will follow. However, again we run into the problem of oversimplification- one person can occupy several roles at one time- people are often complex.
One application of the idea of personality categories was developed into the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, essentially a personality test which provides insight to which category each person fits into. These tests are occasionally used by employers as well as in the psychological field, to determine personal strong points and the best methods of learning.
The Myers-Briggs indicator incorporates 16 different personality types, which interestingly is the same number as that of the Tarot Courts. The Court cards are similar in the sense that both provide a general sense of how each person will react based on their own personality traits. We encounter the same problem in assigning people to the Court cards- that not all people fit so neatly into categories. However, these can be useful in understanding general patterns of behavior, and behavior to a large extent determines consequences.
The interpretation of these personality types comes from this site, which provides the general characteristics of each of the 16 personality types: The site provides a quick description of each set of factors that make up the personality type, and from these descriptions, I came up with the following set of correspondences-

Planner-Inspector- King of Pentacles; here the focus is on order and structure- the King here is slow to change, and consistency, planning and predictability are what he's most comfortable with.
Protector-Supporter- Knight of Pentacles; this Knight is a dependable and consistent person, comfortable with routine and hard work, and at the same time seeking ways to work harder and more efficiently.
Foreseer-Developer- Queen of Pentacles; this person is often "behind the scenes", working hard to support others, while often seeming to be held back by a sense of shyness or avoiding being the center of attention.
Conceptualizer-Director- King of Wands; this person is all about motivation and action, and leading others. They may lack tact but can always be counted on to see what other people miss, and demand the best from others.
Analyzer Operator- Queen of Wands; she is generally a woman who operates independently well, and expects others to follow. Her zeal and intellect often mean that exactly that will happen.
Composer-Producer- Knight of Swords; here is an idea man, or woman- this person is all ideas and insight, and constantly seeks new inspiration, yet at the same time can sometimes lack follow-through, always on to the next challenge or idea.
Harmonizer-Clarifier- Knight of Cups; this person is reliable, but tends to be overly idealistic and as a result may allow others to take advantage of them, and perhaps not expressing what they truly feel.
Designer-Theorizer- King of Swords; tending towards idealism, this person is a logical and determined thinker, and a good problem-solver. They can sometimes seem cold and distant, but this may be due to feeling confined by logic and reason.
Promoter-Executor- King of Cups; the definition of a family man, the King of Cups is always there for others, and forms strong friendships and emotional attachments, and will be loyal to those he considers friends and family. He may have a tendency to always want to be the center of attention, however.
Motivator-Presenter- Queen of Cups; the Queen of Cups is often a dreamer, and sometimes lost in her (or his) own world, although this person also can be a source of support to others. This person will tend to withdraw when faced with challenge or conflict, preferring to be more behind the scenes, and if they are the center of attention, will want that attention to be on their terms.
Discoverer-Advocate- Page of Cups; this person is interested in self-improvement and developing their relationships; being popular and well-liked is less important than the feeling of being needed and in an important relationship. The Page is often supportive, but also can sometimes be a meddler, as they are always trying to improve.
Explorer-Inventor- Page of Swords; like most Pages, the Page of Swords represents a studious type, someone willing and eager to learn. But like a student, they can be led fairly easily, and may sometimes be naive. The Page represents a highly intelligent person, yet at the same time requires focus and structure, otherwise they tend to get sidetracked easily.
Implementor-Supervisor- Page of Wands; this person is loyal to the causes he or she believes in, and in the same way may tend to be overly idealistic and rigid. Perhaps the main fault with this person is that they want to be constantly recognized, and may tend to act out and seek any type of attention, good or bad.
Facilitator-Caretaker- Page of Pentacles; the Page of Pentacles is, like the Earth of this suit, a nurturing and supporting force, yet may have trouble adapting to change and be slow to express themselves, as they put the needs of others above their own. Though the Page may consider themselves a servant of humanity, this humanity may be an idealistic vision in their own mind.
Envisioner-Mentor- Queen of Swords; the Queen is a communicator, and often a counselor or, as the name suggests, mentor to others. This person will have tremendous insight into the human mind and individual situations, and can use this insight for good or harm, depending on her own motivations.
Strategist-Mobilizer- Knight of Wands; as a leader, the Knight of Wands is a great one,whether or not he or  she fully understands the situation, but nonetheless will continue forwards, driven by their own self-assurance and confidence. However, they may not respond well to criticism, viewing it as a threat to their position, and may become overly defensive.
Overall, this can provide some insight to the Tarot Courts- however, there are many such systems of correspondences among the Court cards. The difficulty we find in either case is that these systems represent an attempt to categorize human behavior- and the motivation for human behavior can vary as much as the people who exhibit those behaviors.

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