This suit generally betokens love and happiness. The cups in the cards refer to water, a symbol of the subconscious mind. These are cards concerning the emotions and instincts, pleasure and beauty; people who draw these cards frequently are preoccupied with questions of happiness, particularly in relationships with others but also in a broader sense of what brings pleasure vs. what brings pain.
The animal – or rather, creature – for Cups is the undine, a female water spirit. The direction is west; the temperament is phlegmatic. When they refer to a specific person, it is often someone with blond or light brown hair and fair complexion; however, it could also indicate someone indolent and lethargic, or a rather hedonistic personality.
ACE OF CUPS – An offering from the subconscious mind. The beginning of great love. Joy, contentment. Productiveness, fertility. Beauty and pleasure. A reminder that when the mind is filled with Spirit, the Spirit will fill the material cup to overflowing. A happy emotional space. Abundance. Falling in love; new emotional beginning. This is also a strong fertility card, both figuratively and literally, so exercise necessary precautions if you are involved in sexual activities.
Reversed: Hesitancy to nurture love or to allow oneself to experience pleasure. Clouded joy. Instability. Embarking on the pursuit of something that can only bring pain and suffering. A false heart.
TWO OF CUPS – An egalitarian love relationship; passion, affinity, union. A balance between “good and evil.” Harmony of the masculine and the feminine. Reciprocity, the beginning of a friendship or love affair. Balance of ideas and plans with a kindred soul. Also, friendship renewed; partnership.
Reversed: False love, relationship based on illusion, violent passion; falling in love with one’s idea of the lover rather than the actual person. Discord, misunderstanding. A foolish union.
THREE OF CUPS – Success, abundance. Good luck, fortune, victory. Happy issue of an undertaking. Hospitality. Pleasure. Conclusion of a matter in plenty, perfection and merriment; cause for celebration, partying. May also indicate healing, mending, solace.
Reversed: Too much sensuality, overindulgence in food and drink. Pleasure turns to pain, success to ashes. May be a matter ended expeditiously; achievement.
FOUR OF CUPS – A stationary period in one’s life; a lull, a rut. Weariness, discontent despite having one’s needs met. Dissatisfaction with material success. Re-evaluation of one’s earthly pleasures. Kindness from others. Indecision about where your pleasures come from. Emotional “blah”; you have choices but none of them interest you. Also, aversion and disgust.
Reversed: Waking from a period of contentment or contemplation. New relationships now possible. New goals, new ambition. Novelty. New relations. New instruction.
FIVE OF CUPS – Despair. Disappointment. Sorrow in those things from which pleasure was expected. Disillusionment in love. Marriage broken up. Loss of friendship. Vain regret; loss, but with something left over. May indicate not getting as much as you may have expected. Sometimes indicates a relationship without love, or love mixed with bitterness and frustration.
Reversed: Return of enjoyment. New alliances formed. Return of an old friend or loved one. Hopeful expectations. Congenial alliances; affinity. May indicate family matters, specifically involving older relatives or ancestry.
SIX OF CUPS – A card of the past and of memories. Drawing happiness and strength from the past or from things that have vanished. Nostalgia; pleasant memories. Concern with childhood, past influences. Meeting with an acquaintance you haven’t seen in a long time. This card may also mean new friendships or a gift from an admirer; if there is a new situation unfolding in your life, it’s likely to remind you in some way of something from your past. Reflection on this may yield new knowledge and new opportunities.
Reversed: Living too much in the past. Clinging to outworn morals and manners. Repeating past mistakes without learning anything from them. Useless associations. Possibility of an inheritance or gift from the past.
SEVEN OF CUPS – Dreams, castles in the air, an imagination that has been working overtime. The seeker’s forces have been too scattered. Illusionary success. Selfish dissipation; deception. Many goals which can waste a lot of time. Daydreaming, fantasy, foolish whims. Unrealistic attitude.
Reversed: Good resolutions. Slight success must be followed up. New will, determination and desire. Intelligent selection. The ability to use your illusions to your own benefit.
EIGHT OF CUPS – Abandoning one’s success. Things thrown aside as soon as gained. Restlessness. Journeying from place to place. Misery without cause; depression. Disappointment in love or in one’s relations with others; unsatisfying interactions. The seeker may desire to leave behind material success for something higher. Discontinuing effort.
Reversed: Contentment. Modesty. Commitment. Interest in success. Joy, feasting, a new love. The spiritual abandoned for the material.
NINE OF CUPS – The “wish” card; if this card comes up in a querist’s spread, the individual’s wish will be granted. Material success, satisfaction. All the good things of life are available. Physical and mental well-being. Abundance.
Reversed: Misplaced reliance; false freedom. There may be some deprivation or illness, or overindulgence in food and drink. The querist’s wish will not be fulfilled. Success to a lesser degree, probably not without mistakes being made.
TEN OF CUPS – Complete contentment. Lasting happiness because it is inspired from above rather than being the sensual satisfaction indicated in the Nine of Cups. Perfection of human love. Great friendship. Lasting success. Peacemaking. Good family situation. Happy twosome. If there are also several “people cards,” it may indicate a person (or persons) looking out for the querist’s interests.
Reversed: Loss of friendship. Betrayal. Wantonness. Waste. Criminal satisfaction. Unrest due to a guilty conscience. The querist may be engaged in or considering deception of some sort, possibly infidelity. Indignation. Violence.
PAGE OF CUPS – A reflective but intense young person: melancholy and passionate, studious but given to flights of imagination. Willing to render service to the querist. If the card does not seem to signify a particular person, it will mean the querist is drawn to the arts, possibly given to meditation. News, a message, perhaps the birth of a child. The appearance of an idea in the imagination.
Reversed: Little desire to create. Someone who dabbles in the arts. Affectation; snobbishness; ostentatiousness. “Prima donna” behavior. A display of good taste, but may be just for show. A deception may soon be uncovered. Obstacles. Unpleasant news. Seduction. Unhealthy emotional attachment; possibly a symbiotic relationship.
KNIGHT OF CUPS – A young person who is graceful, poetic; a dreamer of sensual delights. You may receive an interesting invitation or proposition. Could indicate the arrival of a new lover, or one who makes advances. A messenger; the arrival of news.
Reversed: Sensual, idle, untruthful. Swindling, trickery, fraud. Propositions should be looked into very carefully; invitations extended at this time may come from someone who does not have your best interest at heart. Duplicity, usually subtle.
QUEEN OF CUPS – A beloved person; sensual, devoted, intelligent and well-disposed toward the querist. A good mate and parent – honest, affectionate and loyal. Success, happiness, pleasure are indicated. If the querist does not recognize such an individual, then someone with vision should be considered, or someone who is kind, though not willing to take too much trouble for another. One who is able to put into practice what their visions decree. Possibly someone with some psychic abilities.
Reversed: A perverse character. Intelligent but not to be relied upon. Dishonesty; deception, possibly infidelity. Immorality. May be a distinguished person not to be trusted. May also indicate a depraved person or one engaging in sexual practices which are risky in some way-unsafe, unethical, self-destructive, etc. Possibility of alcoholism, drug dependence or other addiction.
KING OF CUPS – A fair person, disposed to oblige the querist. An individual who is kind and considerate and willing to take on responsibility. Someone skilled in both law and trade, possibly connected with either a church or a humanitarian institution. May be in business, a religious occupation, an artist, a teacher. If such a person is not known to the querist, then look for traits of liberality, generosity, consideration, creative intelligence, and interest in arts and spirituality. Balance and peace, arts and science.
Reversed: A fierce nature under a calm exterior. A powerful individual, but likely to be crafty and violent. Double dealing; corruption. Beware of being robbed of virtue or money. Injustice. Vice, possible scandal. This is also a card of someone likely to exact retribution or hold grudges on behalf of the emotionally wronged or abused.
© Copyright 1993 by D.V. Gray, Queen Z & Hunter MacKenzie. Revised and republished 2005, 2007, 2011, 2013, 2015.
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