Cups Suit

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What is the Cups Suit?

As you have already read, cups cover affairs of the heart, love, creativity, emotions, intuition and relationships.

They are the hearts suit in original playing cards.

They are influenced under the element of water and so therefore appertain to the zodiac signs Cancer, Pisces and Scorpio. This can help in a spread to identify the querent or other people that fall under that zodiac sign.


The Cups Suit

Water signs are very dreamy, romantic, emotional, intuitive, creative and artistic.

Water is ever fluid and therefore represents the natural flow of life. It can trickle along or can surge in passionate waves. It is also the conduit for the spirit world and therefore many of the cards refer to intuition and spiritually gifted people.

The suit of cups can also represent people who are allowing their heart to rule their head.

Querents that find the card spread heavy with cups will usually be going through relationship challenges and difficult emotional journeys. The querent may be seeking solutions to love matters, emotional conflicts and wanting to express their creativity.

Love can represent self-love as well as love of other people.

When cards are selected, and any appear upside down this is known as a reversed card. This has a completely new meaning to that card and generally is the opposite to what the upright card signifies.

This is when the negative aspect of the cups comes into play. There are some upright cards that also represent negative attributes. This could represent repressed emotions, frustrations in love, unrealistic expectations and fantasizing about what could be, rather than accepting reality.

Here is a quick reference to each card including the reversed version. But know that they do have various meanings and can change dependent on what card surrounds them in the card spread. This is especially so if they are trumped by a Major Arcana card. A brief description of each individual illustration is included, in this instance from the Rider Waite Tarot deck:

Ace of Cups

Illustration

Five streams of water flow from the cup depicting the five senses that flow through the querent along with intuition and abundant emotion. The hand coming from the clouds represents spiritual awareness and influence. A dove descends towards the cup representing divine love flowing from the subconscious to the waking consciousness. The sea represents the awakening of the human spirit, ever growing from the water lilies.

Meaning

New beginnings and the potential of new relationships, developing intuition and finding new love

Reversed

Disappointment or sadness in new beginnings. Hurtful conversations. Holding back in a relationship

 

Two of Cups

Illustration

A man and woman are exchanging cups and pledging their love to one another. The Caduceus above their heads, the winged snake, represents trade and mutual exchange. The lion represents passion, fire and sexual energy.

Meaning

Duality, love relationships, soul mates and unison.

Reversed

Unsatisfied in love relationship. Need for self-love. Out of sync in relationships.

 

Three of Cups

Illustration

Three women celebrate their joy and friendship by raising their cups high in unison. Each of them bring a contribution to the other creating upliftment and a sense of unity and celebration. The flower, fruit and pumpkin represent an abundant harvest and everything that is good in life.

Meaning

Uniting in the relationships that surround you. Celebrating friendships.

Reversed

Problems with friendships. The need to spend time alone. Need for a break or holiday.

 

Four of Cups

Illustration

The man is sitting under a tree deep in contemplation, arms crossed and doesn’t seem aware or even care of the cup being offered to him, nor the cups of opportunity at his feet. He is far too disillusioned to look for new opportunities or change in the cups that are being presented.

Meaning

Apathy, Disappointment. Unwise decisions.

Reversed

Recovering from heartbreak. Regrouping. Solace.

 

Five of Cups

Illustration

A man stands reflecting on the cups that have fallen down and is so engrossed on the loss that he fails to see the cups of promise behind him. The bridge shows that he could move on to greener pastures, if only he would take his mind off of the cups and move on!

Meaning

Challenges, regrets and failing to see other options in life.

Reversed

Major setbacks from the actions of others. Need to move on. Acknowledging a life lesson.

 

Six of Cups

Illustration

A boy lovingly offers a cup full of flowers to the girl representing gentleness, love and kindness. It also represents the joys of childhood memories and reminiscing. The large house represents safety and security.

Meaning

Growth. Nostalgia. Childhood. Innocence. Renewal of old relationships.

Reversed

Staying in the past. Failing to let go. Secret relationships.

Seven of Cups

Illustration

A man stands before a number of cups that are filled with both riches and curses. The man must make the right choice for his greater good rather than out of ego. He needs to be careful what he wishes for!

Meaning

Options. Decisions. Adversities. Opportunities. Faith.

Reversed

Weighing up options. Need to use intuition. Not making decisions out of ego.

 

Eight of Cups

Illustration

The man walks away from the cups which are laid out as if one is missing suggesting disappointment or something ‘missing’ in his life. He has decided to walk away, the river depicting his emotions and the mountains represent that there may be an uphill battle, but it is worth it. The moon illuminates his way but can also represent him walking away in the dead of night to escape and evade confrontation.

Meaning

Change. Walking away from a relationship or complication. Realizing the end of an era.

Reversed

Indecision in a relationship. Staying in unhealthy love.

 

Nine of Cups

Illustration

The man sits on a wooden bench and shows that he is comfortable but only for a short time. The arched cups depict emotional satisfaction after him carrying out his deepest desires that bring fulfillment and happiness.

Meaning

Fruition. Gratitude. Fulfilment.

Reversed

Need for moderation. Putting material things first over love and family.

 

Ten of Cups

Illustration

A united couple celebrate their love by watching their children play nearby under a rainbow full of cups. The rainbow represents the end of difficult times and that everything will now be ok. The scene depicts pure contentment with each other, family life, home and security.

Meaning

Ultimate happiness in family life. Marriage. Engagement. Security. Abundance.

Reversed

Putting other people’s needs first. Un happy family life or relationships.

 

The Court Suit of Cups

 

Page of Cups

Illustration

The man stands by the sea and has a fish popping his head out of the cup that he holds. This depicts all things to do with water: creativity, intuition and emotions. The fish has come up form the cup out of the blue just as new ideas and inspiration do.

Meaning

Creative ideas. Intuition. Synchronicity. New ideas. News of Marriage, birth, engagements.

Reversed

Not trusting intuition. Failing to move ideas forward. Delay in expectations.

 

Knight of Cups

Illustration

A knight rides on his white horse holding a cup that bears a message from the heart. The fish on his armor represent intuition, creativity and awareness. The wings upon his helmet represent an active imagination and a love for beautiful things. The white horse depicts power, purity and spirituality. The river flows away from the knight that shows that even when things seem that they are far away, imagination and creative ideas can blossom from nothing.

Meaning

Taking creative ideas to the next level. Action in love giving/receiving. Enhancing love relationships.

Reversed

Need for grounding. Not running away with frivolous ideas. Being realistic over creative projects.

 

Queen of Cups

Illustration

The contemplative queen holds a cup that is sealed depicting all of her thoughts and emotions come from within. The handles are small angels that depict divine inspiration. She sits upon a throne which rests next to the sea upon a solid foundation of pebbles meaning that she is connected to her emotions (water) but not overwhelmed by them. She is in perfect emotional balance and feels everything on a soul level.

Meaning

Nurturing. Intuition. Person of the arts. Healer. Compassion. Empathy. Spiritual gift.

Reversed

Co-dependency. Putting others first to your detriment. Bottling up emotions. Not listening to intuition.

 

King of Cups

Illustration

The king sits on his throne in a fine cape that represents his status. He holds a staff in his left hand that represents power and a cup in his right hand that represents his emotions. He is not looking at the cup so perhaps has already mastered his emotions. The fish around his neck represents creativity. Despite being on a floating plateau in what appears to be turbulent waters the king remains steadfast, confident in his ability to balance his emotions and remain in control.

Meaning

Mastery of emotional control and balance. Helping others through mentoring, counselling, spiritual advising.

Reversed

Abusive relationship. Lack of self. Manipulation. Heart ruling head.

As you can see the Cups suit takes the querent on a journey of self-realization both in creative endeavors as well as relationships. The relationships do not necessarily have to be with romantic partners, they can represent family, friends and peers.

They are very much the ‘truth’ deck where you have to be honest with yourself in analyzing where you stand, what you feel and how healthy the relationships are that are around you.

Major Arcana cards that go hand in hand with the Cups suit are:

The High Priestess, The Chariot, The Hanged Man, Death and The Moon.

When a Major Arcana card is placed near to any of the Cups suit the underlying message is far stronger and really needs to be paid attention to.

The Rider Waite tarot deck illustrate beautifully the meaning of the cups. By observing their illustrations, you really will get a feel on what they represent purely by the position of the cups, the figures and symbols surrounding them.

Spend time observing the intricate symbols and scenes on the cards as the more you see within the illustration the better you will be able to absorb the true meaning of each card.

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