Tarot for the Modern Reader

Tarot for the Modern Reader

The Suit of Cups

Image of The Ace of Cups cardThe Suit of Cups corresponds to the element of Water, the assignment given to this card by the Order of the Golden Dawn. It is all about Emotion. While this is the Suit that typically shows us about our love lives, it is about all emotions, and all relationships, from the ones we have with a significant other, to the ones we maintain with our friends and family, and the one we have with ourselves as well.
When a matter of timing is involved, it is usually only a couple of weeks to a month. The Suit of Cups is the second suit and corresponds to the season of Summer, with the Summer Solstice taking place in the second Cardinal, watery sign of Cancer. When the Cups cards come up in a reading, the querent has either asked about a relationship, it deals with family or other types of relationships, or the situation is emotionally charged.
Characteristics for the Suit of Cups can be the full range of human emotion, from joy, love, happiness, and contentment to sadness, grief, hurt or loneliness. We have the capacity to fill our cup with goodness, or pour it away if we are not careful. The negative side of the Suit of Cups deals with emotions that are out of control, or the manipulation of emotions.
Being the suit of emotions, the Suit of Cups corresponds to the playing card suit of Hearts, naturally. In some decks, it goes by the name of Hearts, Chalices, Goblets and more. This does not change the meaning of the cards from deck to deck. As it relates to people, the Cups Court Cards are usually used to represent those with a Water sun sign: Cancer (yours truly), Scorpio and Pisces.
Major Arcana Cards that correlate to the Suit of Cups are as follows: The High Priestess, The Chariot, The Hanged Man, Death, The Moon and Judgement. As a side note, Judgement had previously been assigned simply to the Element of Fire, however with the discovery of Pluto in the 1930's, this planet rules the water sign of Scorpio that is associated with Judgement.

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    Image of The Ace of Cups card

    Ace of Cups

    Keywords: New love, pregnancy, emotional or spiritual opportunities, beginnings

    Reverse Keywords: Emotional block, pregnancy difficulties, rejecting spirit, no take-off

    Image of The Two of Cups card

    Two of Cups

    Keywords: Union, balanced partnership, teamwork, loving couple, healing

    Reverse Keywords: Disagreement, breakup, power struggle, relationship difficulty

    Image of The Three of Cups card

    Three of Cups

    Keywords: Women's groups, girlfriends, friendships, parties, merriment, new baby

    Reverse Keywords: Difficulties with friends, three's a crowd, hungover, sobering up, party's over

    Image of The Four of Cups card

    Four of Cups

    Keywords: Apathy, feeling bored or unfulfilled, dissatisfied, opportunity ignored, meditate

    Reverse Keywords: Taking action, recognizing opportunity, re-engagement

    Image of The Five of Cups card

    Five of Cups

    Keywords: Sadness, grief, heartache, deep pain or loss, separation

    Reverse Keywords: Moving beyond sadness, recognizing what you have, recovery

    Image of The Six of Cups card

    Six of Cups

    Keywords: Nostalgia, childhood memories, soulmates, past-life, children

    Reverse Keywords: Bad memories, stuck in the past, imbalance, healing old wounds

    Image of The Seven of Cups card

    Seven of Cups

    Keywords: Fantasy, too many choices, illusion, delusion, temptations, escapism

    Reverse Keywords: Re-focusing, making choices, extreme escapism, alcohol or substance abuse

    Image of The Eight of Cups card

    Eight of Cups

    Keywords: Walking away voluntarily, something missing, disappointment

    Reverse Keywords: Not time to walk away, staying when you should go

    Image of The Nine of Cups card

    Nine of Cups

    Keywords: Wish card, indulgence, pleasure, enjoyment, happiness

    Reverse Keywords: Overindulgence, smug, boasting, gluttony, disappointment

    Image of The Ten of Cups card

    Ten of Cups

    Keywords: Family harmony, complete happiness, deep fulfillment

    Reverse Keywords: Disharmony, blocked happiness, discord, separation, family difficulties

    Image of The Page of Cups card

    Page of Cups

    Keywords: Sensitive, creative start, messages, love letters, good news

    Reverse Keywords: Emotionally immature, naive, creative difficulty or block

    Image of The Knight of Cups card

    Knight of Cups

    Keywords: Romantic, white knight, spiritual quest, dreamer, artistic

    Reverse Keywords: Escapist, unrealistic, blocked emotions, difficult love relations

    Image of The Queen of Cups card

    Queen of Cups

    Keywords: Nurturing, empathetic, emotional, intuitive, psychic, compassionate, mothering

    Reverse Keywords: Emotional blocks, boundary issues, insecurities or moodiness

    Image of The King of Cups card

    King of Cups

    Keywords: Emotionally mature, loving, generous, father, counselor

    Reverse Keywords: Emotionally manipulative, negative, hardened or blocked, alcohol abuse