Minor Arcana - Cups - Part 1

Indigo Spirithawk

Minor Arcana - Cups - Part 1

Cups in the Tarot deck are likened to the Hearts in a regular playing deck. Cups represent water, the west and autumn. They have to do with love, the emotions, feelings, decisions, finishing stages in one's life, your sensitivity and your family life. The Cups Suit deal with the emotional level of consciousness. Cups mirror your spontaneous responses and your habitual reactions to situations. Cups have an affinity with religious groups or institutions.


The people represented by the Suit of Cups are generally fair, plump people who are emotional, artistic, humane and creative. They are said to correspond to the water signs in the zodiac (Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio) and water as a symbol of the subconscious mind and reason. Cups are associated with anything emotional, from marriage to personal possessions and concerns. This also covers anything relating to partnerships, whether in a work or personal context. Our relationships with others are covered by the Suit of Cups. It is a suit of love and happiness, and the feelings suggested by the suit runs deep. Should a reading be predominantly "cups", then you can be sure that the Querent is seeking solutions to what are primarily emotional conflicts, love matters and emotions.



Ace of Cups


The Ace of Cups represents the home and general environment. There will be joy in your life with the fulfillment of all your ambitions and desires. Much happiness will be found in your contentment. This card portends you are searching for clarity, or for the truth in a situation where your heart says one thing and your intellect another. Or, it can mean you hope an idea will become a reality. Your ideas will meet with success. There is a chance for a marriage either with love or in business partnership and possible new contract.


Positive air is flowing and it is time to forgive and make up. This is a peaceful time in your life so use it and make this peace with friends or yourself. It is time of fertility, a time for child bearing. Perhaps an adoption should be considered. The Ace of Cups depicts the emergence of spirituality and the awakening of a new awareness of spiritual life.  Bliss, open yourself to supreme happiness. The Ace of Cups signals an emotional upsurge, power of imagination, budding sexuality, engaging another, spiritual love or psychic ability, art, first love, closeness, lover, friendship, renewal, water of life, relationship, inspiration, awakening, nurture, abundance, happiness, peace, nourishment, protection, vulnerability, tenderness, fulfilling, good will, fertility, sensitivity, production, higher call. It also talks about the person in relation to compassion, receptivity, devotion, romance, marriage, loving union, reaping the fruits of what you have sown, openness, spiritual vision, the Grail, redemption, regeneration, satisfaction, female principle, imagination, close attachment, intimacy, rebirth, recycle, regrowth, changing, open channel, sentiment, sympathy, empathy, anticipation, longing, being filled, depths, offering, hope, recreation, chalice as womb of life, pleasure, beauty, sensuality, promise. Intuition, purity, calm, unconditional love, primordial, productiveness, excitement, premonition, emotional release, love at first sight, happy home, goodness overflowing, light in the dark, contentment.

It is a card of close relationships, the family, lovers, rivals, premonitions, fears, memories, nostalgia, and most of all water is our unconscious. A huge cup is being offered to you in this card, and you are being invited to reach out to grasp it and drink from it.


What this cup is representing is a symbol of emotional fulfillment, not just on the emotional level, but on the spiritual level as well. Whether you are going to reach out now and partake of this offering is going to depend obviously upon how thirsty you are, upon how much you are in need of being refreshed. 


Abundance of love. Joy, celebration. Love with wisdom. Fertility. Marriage, declaration of love, new love, inspired creativity and artistic excellence are all in association with this card. This card signals a love affair. It indicates a Marriage or birth. A blessing from out of the blue. Someone cares for you. A gift, especially of love. A gift of a ring. The Beginning of all good things, whether it be love, joy, beauty or health, a new spiritual understanding. Merriment and celebration of some sort. It is a card of faithfulness and all the positives of the unconscious mind.


Medically this suit refers to the Urinary (kidney and bladder problems) and Reproductive Systems. Water comes to us in the form of blood, tears, urine, perspiration, saliva, and sexual juices. A lack of water can bring about a dried up feeling (stiffness both emotional and physical), lack of moisture in the body, non-flowing with life, difficulty with dealing with emotions and with others who are emotional.




Upright, this card represents the feeling of when we are about to burst with all our overflowing emotions, whether it be with complete laughter or tears. Sometimes you get so excited you could bounce around the house screaming out in ecstasy. Or sometimes the pain surrounding you is so great that all you can do is burst into tears. The reversed Ace of Cups is therefore the opposite to this feeling of  joyous emotions, and can mean one of many things.


Firstly, the card may call on you to curb your emotions somewhat for your greater benefit. For example, ending a relationship may spur you on to wanting to cry and cry for days on end. But what the Ace of Cups reversed tells us is that in order to heal, we really need to push back the tears and fight on in order to retain a balance. Alternatively, the Ace of Cups could suggest that you have repressed your feelings too long and it is now the time to release them. You may have kept your excitement quiet about the prospect of a new job, in fear of it failing, but now is the time to let those emotions run free. Or, you may have bottled up so many emotional thoughts that you have become almost void of feeling true emotions.


False heart, inconsistency, barren, poor choice of partner, loss of love, being rejected or betrayed, broken heart, divorce, loneliness, separation, sadness, thinking only of one's self, toying with emotions, bruised emotionally, loss of hope, fatigue, unstable emotions, stuck in an emotional rut, in love with love, puppy love, gullible, unrequited love are all the signals of this card reversed.  This person is hesitant to accept things of the heart. There is someone with an egotistical false heart. When this card is reversed it is symbolizing the worst; a time of emptiness, whether, physically, emotionally or a combination. It means the person is failing at love, is stagnated, and possibly lost faith in things they believed in.



of Cups


Meaning Upright

The II of Cups indicates partnership, engagement or friendships. The card is indicative of marriage, romance, passions and emotions. A partnership may be indicated. You will experience love and harmony with your sisters or brothers even if you've had a falling out in the past. The II of Cups shows the beauty and power that is created when two come together. This is the card that lovers want to see, and, in fact, the II of Cups is the Minor Arcana equivalent of the Lovers in many ways.


New relationship, awareness, trust, perceptions, harmony, empathy, marriage, engagement, romance, passion, sharing, contract, pledges and promises, reconciliation, working toward common goals, moving toward permanence, agreement, happiness, social union, faithfulness, mutual care, understanding another, union, cooperation, courtship, platonic love, constancy within change, freedom are all signals of this card depending on the spread. Consummation, proposal, intimacy, reciprocity, yin/yang, polarity, union of opposites, confidence in another, joy and contentment, kindred spirits, equality, attraction, sacred union, sacred marriage, harmony, integrity, equilibrium, free flowing, cooperation, working together, cementing a friendship, bringing opposites together, making peace, forgive and forget, attraction, being drawn in, concord. Cementing relationships. Commitment are all associated with the II of Cups. It signals a union, a partnership or  an engagement and Love and understanding between two people.


Harmony (opposites attract). Co-operation. Friendship, ending of rivalry. When we see this card we know a new friendship, romance or partnership is going to begin with the chance for love and affection if this card is in the spread in a favorable position. It shows that the person has an emotional affinity, sympathy and or joyous harmony with another. This card can also represent the reconciliation of opposites now in mutual trust. It can also signify the resolution of differences between people.


Two's generally suggest some type of beginning or initial exercise involving the aspects of the suit. Cups suggest intuitive and emotional aspects (okay, including romance). At a simple level, this card could suggest a possible new friendship or a renewed relationship.



When we see the II of Cups reversed its telling us that something is out of balance,  there is a troubled relationship, divorce, misunderstanding, lack of trust, inappropriate or unreasonable expectations, break up, separation, false friend, opposition, unrequited love, discord, incompatibility, holding back, isolation, repressed anger, quarrels, emotional pain, betrayed confidence, disillusionment, overindulging in sensuality, infatuation. Depending where it falls in a spread can indicate a loss of balance, violent passion, a misunderstanding with someone the querent values highly.

 Since this card is reversed, it also suggests some type of inhibition or distortion regarding the basic message -- perhaps a reluctance to expose your feelings. When this card is reversed it signals the possibility of separation, dissent, divorce, deceit or unfaithfulness in a personal close relationship. The love one feels for another is not mutual or returned. It can also represent quarrels between two close people.


III of Cups

Meaning Upright

The III of Cups is a card of celebration and accomplishment. The three young maidens dance in a circle with their golden goblets upraised in a toast of joy. The ground is covered with fruit and there is a general sense of abundance and happiness. The III of Cups indicates the end or conclusion of any problems in the past. A compromise will be found which will serve all the interests of those involved in a struggle. There will be time to relax after the compromise is implemented.


The III of Cups tells us that since we will be unable to control external conditions, you will realize that we must change internally, and will want to revise our attitude and the way we react or deal with what is happening. Realize what it is you're striving for or what you want to represent and know the supply will meet the demand when you see this card. Whatever you choose will be the right choice.


The number three typically suggests the initial completion of a project or venture and in this case suggests a wedding celebration, the birth of a child, or the successful initial fulfillment of a goal. However, despite the completion or satisfaction offered by the number three, this card also suggests a new beginning; the celebration is only the start of a long and possibly difficult journey. Success. Friendship. Communication, enjoyment of others, celebration, music, pregnancy. Good fortune. Celebrations, happiness, re-unions, Parties and meetings which lead to love affairs and flirtations. Pregnancy or birth. Ills are haled. Attendance at weddings and christenings likely. Shared experience.All of the above are implied when we see this card in a spread.


This card also represents a fortunate end to a project or venture. It can mean a birth of a new project also. It portends great happiness as a result of a birth or marriage. Something conceived out of love comes to fruition. The three of cups is a card of abundant fertility, trust, harmony, maternity and the healing of ills. It also means attending a possible party or celebration.



In relationship readings, the III of Cups reversed nearly always indicates a third person is involved, and typically, it is the querent who is that third person. When you see this card in a reading, look to the other cards in the reading also. if you see the VII of Swords, there is a likely betrayal of trust and getting away with something.If you see the  V of Swords, it is likely that the querent already knows about the other relationship but is trying to ignore that it exists. If you see the Devil in the same spread then you need to think carefully about the nature of the relationships you are in; they are likely to be hedonistic and generally unhealthy to those involved. Pleasure turns to pain. Beware of an old friend gossip. Don't over-indulge in food and drink. Abundance may turn to nothing and success may turn to ashes.


When the III of Cups shows in a spread reversed it can indicate that the person self indulges to excess. Selfishness and sexuality is also implied. Loss of happiness, loveless sex, unbridled passion, famine and illness associated with smoking and overeating are all possibilities when this card is reversed depending on the remaining spread. This card in reverse signals promiscuity. The reverse III of Cups also warns against obesity.


IV of Cups
Meaning Upright

The IV of Cups indicates a time of uncertainty and decision and a turning inward to find the Truth for which one is searching.    External influences can be distracting and may not lead us to the goal we seek even if those influences purport to be of a spiritual nature. The IV of Cups means disappointment in someone or in a situation. You may become tired of the same old struggle that has been carried on too long in the past. The end result may include disappointment in the final result. One avenue of interpretation of the IV of Cups is that of apathy or indifference. Another interpretation is that of defensiveness. This card signals a pause. Discontent. Boredom. Tested relationships through negative attitudes. Considers an affair. A difficult situation caused by someone trying to do well. Stability in relationship. Familiarity breeds contempt. A new start needed to renew spark. New interests, activities and friends are needed. Tested relationships.


The IV of Cups  suggests the person re-evaluate their life, situation and environment because familiarity breeds contempt as well as dissatisfaction and boredom. Nothing offered satisfies this person anymore. There is a need to search for a more stimulating way of life. This person is apathetic and dwells in the past. Love becomes to routine and familiar;( The spark is gone). Happiness has reached its peak with the person or situation. This card can also mean the start of establishing a family.



When we see this card reversed its implying a new relationship now possible. There is a desire for work and accomplishment and new goals. There is a good possibility that an offer will come your way, but you must work hard to go out and get it. You are missing an opportunity that is sitting right under your nose! Look around you to see opportunities you may have missed.


This card also tells the person that their ill health and fatigue is due to their overindulgences. In reverse the IV of Cups can also mean excesses of all kinds depending on where it is in the spread. It can also me that this person is totally overturning his current life style.

Depending on the spread it can mean rapid change creates new anxieties and excitement for excitement's sake brings little or just a fleeting pleasure. This card reversed also indicates the person has a low boredom threshold.



V of Cups


Meaning Upright

The V of Cups represent fulfillment or non-attainment of expected results. You may lose something, though it is insignificant in itself. Perhaps relations with friends or lovers have weak foundations. You'll be completely burned out and will want to quit or give up. You've done enough and won't want to do anymore. You and a relative (or very dear friend) will soon part, and you will be very sad. You want a friend or lover to return, or a REAL relationship based on tenderness and mutual enchantment. Nothing less. Something will replace or sublimate the emptiness you feel.  This card portends sorrow and or loss of a loved one. The persons marriage is on verge of breaking up. Disillusionment with life. Possible inheritance, but not as much as expected.


This card pertains to "crying over spilled milk" and pessimism about the future. It often refers to a person who is having difficulty letting go of the past and benefiting from past mistakes. Emotional disappointment, (also in friendship) depression, anger (usually based on past experiences) - all exaggerated. Deep regrets, temporary delay. Loss of harmony, but love is still there. Someone has  an unexpected reaction to  the querent. Loss of relationship, hurt.  This card urges you to stop crying and look in another direction for happiness. Get over hurt, and then pick up remaining cups and carry on.


Disappointment. You need to understand rejection and disappointment. You may feel that you must walk away from someone or something. Realize the ways your disappointment gains you experience that can help to ensure future success. When we see  this card it is telling us to re-order and re-evaluate our priorities.


This card has to do with the difficulties entailed in a union or engagement that is either about to be lost or is lost already.  It represents a loss or defeat and a dishonor that cannot be overcome. When we see this card we have to accept the inevitable and not curb futile belligerence. The V of Cups represent worries and regrets. Broken engagements lead to emotional letdowns. It also is a card representing emotional or monetary legacies.



When we see the V of Cups reversed it is telling us of the  return of hope, new alliances formed. Loved one could be returning to you so summon up your courage. The reversed position shows recovery from regret and an acceptance of the past. Now, the person realizes the full implications of the past and appreciates the lessons he learned from the experience. He may even recognize the value of the painful experience in the broader scheme of things in preparing him for later experiences. He is ready to pick up the remaining two cups that are full of the water of emotional growth and go on.


This card is about learning to be open and starting to take risks again. It is a card of a lingering sense of regret, nostalgia and bittersweet memories.  However the card itself speaks of being hopeful for the future, getting over whatever you need to get over, and of seeing the sun peek through the clouds once again! If you have suffered a broken romance or marriage, this card signifies an end to the suffering, and a beginning to new loves and relationships, new interests, and new emotional outlets.

You are starting to engage with the inspiring, creative and feeling side of life again. This card in reverse represents a way of life being turned upside down or overturned. Depending on the spread it can mean false starts as well as unexpected worries from and unexpected source. A feeling of abandonment or loneliness as a result of bad luck are also portended when this card is reversed.




VI of Cups


A keyword I have for this card is "remembering." Whether that be through nostalgia, news or a visit from the past. It implies  thinking of another by giving a peace-offering or a gift (perhaps remembering someone's birthday).  This card is one that talks about the past and  memories. It portends the person  is looking back  for example; on childhood, happiness, enjoyment from before which  have vanished. Meeting with a childhood acquaintance who has a gift for you, happiness and enjoyment come from the past, pleasant memories are all implied from seeing this card.

This card also signals; new surroundings and opportunities, possible inheritance. Pleasure from the past, happiness, balance and peace, memory or renewal of past, gifts, friendship. Success after struggle. Memory, links to the past (old friend or lover may turn up soon) Childhood. Past efforts to be rewarded. The answer of one's question lies in a similar situation in the past. Possibly a move of home, closer to origin. Sentimental value.

In general this card denotes harmony of past associations bringing present relationships. It can represent happiness from past efforts as well as pleasant memories and the realization of a dream. Depending on the spread this card means there are new elements entering the person's life which are linked to the past, which work through the present to create a future. Finally Joy. You need to experience child-like joy. The child you were still lives within you and must be cared for. Allow yourself positive, nostalgic memories of childhood, friends and family. If you can, spend time with younger people.



The VI of Cups reversed can represent someone who is quite nostalgic, childlike, generous with love and affection, and, at times, naive. This person may unrealistically paint rosy ideas about love, relationships and marriage. Having impure or sneaky motives. Feeling jaded, cynical or bitter. Not taking time out to 'play'. Feeling abandoned and/or unloved.


This card reversed signals that the person is feeling that they have missed out on a happy and loving childhood. Encountering serious difficulties at a young age. An unhappy home life. An abusive parent or guardian. Child abuse. Family rifts and problems. And old friendship that turns sour. This card signals being told that you can't have children or a death of a child. Living in the past instead of the present. Disappointment over inheritance. Longing for the past that will never return.


This person is vain and has a sense of pride from their past accomplishments which is preventing them from succeeding in the now. Depending on the spread this person clings to the past and out dated habits and customs. They also have an exaggerated idea of nostalgia and the past.





VII of Cups

Meaning Upright

This card indicates that we are faced with a time of decision, that the images in our minds must be dealt with not only in our dreams but in the world of reality. The character in the VII of Cups is a dreamer who is able to see beauty and excitement as well as fearful trials and difficulties in the future. If we are constantly caught up in our own dreams, fantasies, and/or fears, we will never be able to move forward and make those dreams a reality or overcome those fears.


This card indicates that though dreaming is beautiful and provides inspiration for action, we must at some point abandon our "castles in the sky" and begin to build those castles in our real life. A choice must be made even though the apparent multiplicity of options seems to paralyze us with either fear or excessive anticipation. If you are unable to make a decision because of too many options, it may be time to carefully evaluate the pros and cons of each option and make a thoughtful choice.


The VII of Cups speaks of letting go. Letting go of a former relationship, workplace or project. When the VII of Cups appears, it is important to look carefully at how disordered your situation sometimes has become. It may have turned in a chaotic situation where some tightening may be necessary. It is easy to wish for something, but not so easy to make that wish come true. A choice, and a sacrifice will have to be made. You need to separate what is real from what is illusion. Protect against unclear or wishful Thinking. Learn the power of your sleeping and waking dreams. Avoid intoxication and escapism. Do not decide until you are sure.


This card portends one's imagination Working overtime and the inability to choose direction in life.  This person lives though selfish indulgence in dreams instead of action.  They have Illusory success and are  habitually day dreaming. Make your priorities clear. Over indulgence, illusions, moods, negativity, "You get what you think of", imagination. Misuse of talent. Choices. A decision has to be made, lots of options to choose from. Make decision careful, all is not what it seems to be. Doorways of opportunity use intuition to know which one to go through. Pipe Dreams.


VII of cups is a wish card. Each of the cups are filled with wishes such as wealth, beauty, Peace, and a nice home (castle). You can also see that there is a cup with a snake and a cup with a demon.  This is showing that wishes can go a rye. Many readers may consider this card a good omen. This  card in reality can be a mixed blessing; be careful for what you wish for you may just get it, and with a price. As you can see that the cup standing for peace (olive branch) there is a skull. There may be peace but at what or whose cost? This card means that you have to think about your choices and options. There may be too many choices and opportunities present; which need careful consideration to avoid a grave judgment error. May refer to the choice of marriage and a few partner options to pick from. The person in question is being given a big opportunity but he has to be able to pick it out from the available choices he has. This card can also allude to a great mystical experience that the person has gone through or is going to go through that was very inspiring.



Good use of determination and will. A definite project will be selected. This card could indicate an unwillingness to deal with the day-to-day reality of life, a caution to get your head out of the clouds. It can also mean that this person relies on false hopes instead of reality. Depending on the spread it can mean inaction means lost opportunities. Reversed this card  means a decision is reached (when in reverse and based on the surrounding cards). It can also signal this person has a fear of success, is self deluded and indecisive.