I did a reading for myself that was prompted by an unexpected situation. I drew the Knight of Cups, then later, I checked a tarot app on my phone for my daily card of which I got the Four of Cups.
Then when I did a follow up reading to my first reading, I received the Two of Cups. Later in that same day, I had another question and I received the Eight of Wands which hinted that all this Cups energy was headed my way quickly.
Since I normally don’t receive that many Cups as often, this made me start to think about the suit of Cups.
Love indicated in tarot can be expressed in different ways, levels and variations. The minor arcana (in my opinion) is better at defining the love we experience in our day-to-day lives, while the major arcana can indicate life-changing, altering, life lessons in love that may have a bigger impact or is playing a very strong role.
The courts in the Cups suit have varying degrees of emotions “coupled” with feelings and sometimes psychic or intuitive undertones.
They generally can depict people ruled by emotion, feelings or declarations of love.
The Knight of Cups can be known to wear his heart on his sleeve and the cup he offers can be that very declaration of love, proposal or invitation.
However, he can also be more interested in the pursuit of love and winning over the object of his desires than actually having long term goals.
The Knight feels deeply, watery like the astrological water signs, yet isn’t as mature as the King of Cups who has learned to master his emotions and feelings with reasoning and control.
If the Knight isn’t as experienced as the King in mastering his emotions, the Page is just learning about love, intuition and feelings.
As a novice, it’s more like “puppy love” and playful, exploring this whole new world of feelings, emotions, intuition and love.
The Page isn’t driven on a quest like the Knight is, so he/she sits and listens to her inner thoughts and tunes in to what’s around him/her.
The Page is inexperienced, but eager to learn; the Knight can be overly emotional, while the Page is just beginning an emotional journey.
Then there’s the Queen of Cups with her elaborate covered chalice (the only one covered in the whole Cups suit).
She exudes a mysteriousness about her, still waters run deep in her subconscious which come to the surface as consciousness.
The Queen is quite intuitive and she masters emotion in a different way from the King.
While the King rules over emotion with logic and reason, the Queen knows how to channel the emotions to work for her and redirect them, feeling deeply but understanding them more than the Knight professes to understand love and emotions.
The King of Cups is a ruler of logic, reason and thought filled with emotions. The King can be fond of drinking just like a fish to water and it may seem like nothing phases him, although he feels quite deeply just like the Queen, he doesn’t normally let these emotions overrule him.
He prides himself of being in control of himself and just about everything rolls off him like water off a duck’s back. It’s not easy to ruffle his feathers.
Yet, the King is an exceptionally devoted husband and father. He may seem sometimes like words and actions don’t wound him, but he carries such cuts deep inside.
It takes an enormous amount of pain to let any of it get to him. If he actually does get offended, it will certainly mean something has really hit a nerve. (My husband embodies the King of Cups.)
Ace to Ten
The minor arcana has varying degrees of love, romance and even pain and indifference.
Starting from the Ace of Cups like a gift of love, an overflowing cup of emotion, feeling and intuition of a single gift becomes the sharing this with another in the Two of Cups.
The Two of Cups can be partnerships and love, forgiveness/reconciliation and even fond friendship.
It can be seen as lesser than The Lovers, without the sexuality that is implied by The Lovers card.
The Two of Cups moves on to the Three of Cups celebrating in a social gathering, the love of good drink, fun times, even parties like wedding/baby showers, etc.
The love of a good time amongst loved ones and friends for the Three of Cups.
Then apathy or withdrawal sets in, like the Four of Cups. Someone can extend this love to you or any offering, and you can feel disinterested.
It can also be the hangover after a good time out on the town or refusing to see what’s in the offering.
Love can be intentionally blocked and refused for one reason or another when it comes to the Four of Cups.
Sadness and regret sink in, perhaps because we at first refused love, ignored it and now realise what we are missing.
The Five of Cups can be something we lost, such as a relationship or something else of importance that leaves you grieving and can’t see what remains.
Love is lost in the Five of Cups.
The Six of Cups is kindness, generosity and nostalgia. Now that we’ve gone through the apathy and the grieving, we look at back at simpler times of happier memories.
Love is rekindled in the fondness of nostalgia.
The Six of Cups can also imply situations involving children, who usually have a natural happier disposition and can sometimes “bounce back” to a loving state quicker than most adults.
Nostalgia can bring confusion if we continue this scenario.
Love can be confusing if we apply the Seven of Cups to the area of love only.
If you compare the Seven of Cups to reality shows like The Bachelor, then the silhouette figure in the Seven of Cups is in awe and confusion looking at seven bachelorettes and has to eventually make a choice, and ultimately only choose one woman.
Love can be confusing, but love is also blind.
And just like Brad Womack in season 11 of The Bachelor, the figure in the Eight of Cups walks away from it all. (Brad Womack rejected both final contestants at the final episode of his first season.)
Now, I’m not sure if Brad went soul searching after ending the season, but it’s believed the Eight of Cups knows when to walk away in search of what is missing.
The Seven of Cups brings too much confusion, that sometimes you just need to walk away.
Then you may find what (or who) you were looking for and finally get your heart’s desire as shown in the Nine of Cups.
Like anyone newly in love, just the like man in the Nine of Cups, you want to display your new squeeze, the love of your life, for all to admire your new found romance.
And then finally, family life and bliss of the Ten of Cups.
It may be a simple life as shown in the card – no fancy, elaborate castles or jewels, but children and happiness, more so than shown in the Ten of Pentacles which can hint at the legacy that will endure after the moment of the Ten of Cups.
The Cups suit is love, romance, feelings, emotions, intuition and even psychic.
It can be a wild ride of ups and downs just like life, especially when you start to take into consideration reversals of all the Cups suits (which I didn’t include for simplicity of this post.)
When looking at the reversals for the Cups suits, things can get complicated in love relationships and that’s when you get the good, bad and ugly sides of romantic partnerships – all the stuff that’s made for movies, TV dramas and yes, sometimes even real life.
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Card images from Rider Waite Tarot ©1971 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.