The four minor arcana suits all represent a particular aspect and element in the tarot. While that element is represented in every card of the suit, the four aces embody the purest form of these elements and meanings. When you draw an ace in a tarot spread, you know that this suit is particularly relevant to the reading.
Ace of Cups card: Traditional meanings
If raw passions and desires are the domain of the suit of wands, the ace of cups is the incarnation of genuine feelings and sentimental emotions. Love is obviously the main one, but any kind of intense emotion is also covered in the meaning of this card. Family ties, long-lasting friendship, or simply pure and unadulterated joy that can be shared with the outside world. Beware the reversed meaning of the ace of cups, however, because unbridled emotions can be very destructive or lead someone unprepared to depression.
Upright: Love, joy, bliss, fertility, raw emotions, peace, and healing.
Reversed: Depression, bitterness, separation, instability, and hysteria.
Upright Ace of Cups card
The suit of Cups, like the esoteric symbolism of the element of Water, represents anything related to emotions and feelings. Unsurprisingly, the ace of cups will be a strong example of these when it appears in a reading, a sign that the heart is in charge instead of the mind. Whether it is positive or negative, the tarot card meaning associated with this card is usually very strong, like a torrent of emotions that can barely be contained or stopped.
A tarot reading with the ace of cups from the minor arcana usually focuses on a very intense and overwhelming emotion. The most obvious example of these is love. But a very strong distinction must be drawn between love and lust (the latter would be better represented by the devil major arcana or the ace of wands). This is not even necessarily romantic love, it might be the deep platonic love felt by two very close friends, or the boundless love that is often found within a family, the love of a parent for their children and vice versa.
This is also, strangely enough, a very peaceful card from the suit of Cups. Any conflict or argument can be very emotional but usually comes from negative emotions or overly intense ones that have been left unchecked. When it appears right side up, the ace of cups represents the use of positive and caring feelings to overwhelm these negative emotions and solve a situation fairly and peacefully.
The ace of cups also represents sheer joy and happiness, waves of positive feelings and emotions that can lift the Querent up when they are feeling down and low. Finally, water is also the source of life, and just like the empress major arcana, it can represent fertility and growth.
Reversed Ace of Cups card
Emotions left unchecked or poorly handled can be extremely destructive, and this warning is usually brought forth by the reversed ace of cups meaning. Flipping the positive elements of the card around, it could also signal an upcoming breakup in a relationship, or some elements coming to disturb the positive emotions usually connected to a specific situation, person, or place.
Bitterness can also often be detected somewhere when the revered ace of cups appears in a spread, usually born from a sad but unfortunately common mental defense mechanism when feelings are hurt or left alone when you have to deal with a situation like unrequited love, or simply suffering from depression.
Ace of Cups and love
The ace of cups is probably one of the best cards that can be drawn in any spread or reading focusing on romantic love. Indeed, in that context, it highlights a surge of emotional bliss coming from that feeling of love, and when the reading focuses on a love interest rather than on a current partner, it usually means that the Querent’s feelings are probably shared.
The tarot card meaning of the ace of cups in a love spread is almost universally positive, but the other arcana drawn in the spread should be particularly and meticulously studied in order to refine the meaning of this card.
When combined with other major and minor arcana, the ace of cups will usually provide some advice to the Querent on the best way to make sure this love and bliss will keep growing, without becoming overwhelming at the same time.