Ten of Cups Tarot Card

As a reminder, the suit of cups is driven by feminine energy and channels the power of emotions and feelings in every shape and form. Scholars and academics have connected the suit of cups to the classical element of water, and most of the cards from that suit embody the symbolic attributes of this element, one way or another.

Keywords associated with the Ten of Cups Card

Upright: family harmony, blessed union, shared values, domestic bliss, and love and friendship

Reversed: Family feud, arguments, betrayal, separation, and divorce

Traditional Representation and Description of the Ten of Cups Card

10 of cups Rider Waite tarot
Source: Wikimedia

Appearance of Cups in a rainbow, it is contemplated in wonder and ecstasy by a man and woman below, evidently husband and wife. His right arm is about her, his left raised upward as she raises her right arm. The two children dancing near them have not observed the prodigy, but are happy after their own manner. There is a home scene beyond. Divinatory Meanings: Contentment, repose of the entire heart—the perfection of that state, if with several picture cards, a person who is taking charge of the Querent’s interests. Also, the town, village, or country inhabited by the Querent. Reversed: Repose of the false heart, indignation, violence. (Rider Waite Booklet)

Modern Representations of the Ten of Cups Card

The Ten of Cups is not really a very original or wild element in the tarot deck.  Instead, it is a rather idealized theme of love, happiness, and family. This iconic structure might be fading away from modern times and society, but some people are still craving for such a classic life. The Ten of Cups also clings to that traditional family structure and can lead the subject of the reading to its ultimate fulfillment.

10 of Cups Mythic Tarot

The Mythic Tarot (1986/2008)

10 of Cups Haindl Tarot

The Haindl Tarot (1990)

10 of Water Harmony Osho Zen Tarot

Osho Zen Tarot (1995)

10 of Cups Law of Attraction Tarot

Law of Attraction Tarot (2011)

10 of Cups Spellcaster Tarot

Spellcaster Tarot (2016)

10 of Cups Ostara Tarot

Ostara Tarot (2017)

Upright Meaning of the Ten of Cups Card

The Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) tarot image for the Ten of Cups is the picture-perfect illustration of the meaning of the card from the suit of cups. The ten cups are arranged together and floating in the sky within a wide rainbow covering most of the illustration space. Below the cups and rainbow, you can see a family of four, obviously happy. The two children are playing together, oblivious to the world around them, while their parents are close in a warm embrace, arms raised up to the sky in celebration, as if they wanted to greet the rainbow itself.

The background on the horizon is a typical country cottage, with fields of grass and a small river running through them. Overall, this image could be drawn from the last frames of a happy ending in a Hollywood romantic comedy or musical or might be used in the advertising industry to illustrate a stereotypical suburban middle-class family.

The meaning of the Ten of Cups minor arcana is also mainly one of contentment. But contrary to the excess and smug selfish pleasure that could be derived from the Nine of Cups, here contentment is reached through peaceful inner balance, in harmony with the environment and the social circle of the subject.

The happiness found in the Ten of Cups comes from domestic bliss, enough material comfort to bring peace of mind, and a radiating kind of love that is reached when your lover and life partner is equally your friend and companion.

In a Question about Love and Relationship

When the Ten of Cups appears in a tarot spread focusing on love, it is a sign that the subject’s love life might well be about to turn into a romantic comedy movie, or the end of a fairy tale where they live happily ever after. Channeling the image of the perfect family used in the iconography of the arcana, the subject of the reading could be on a path meant to change their life into a picture-perfect embodiment of the American dream.

In a Question about Career and Work

Career encompasses school and education, if that is your current stage; work that is necessary, but not what you would consider a career path; and your actual career path.  Regardless of your current stage of development, the Ten of Cups lets you know that it is all coming together for everyone, and you are helping to make it happen.

If you are a student and this is your card, then you find the perfect mix of your student interest with the best teacher for you and vice versa.  Your classes are all fantastic and your classmates are just as excited as you are about the subjects.

If you are doing work that is necessary, but not a career, then you are in a great groove and everyone is enjoying success and sharing positive energy, from the company owner all the way down.  You are working with great people and you all appreciate each other.

If you are in your career, then the Ten of Cups should represent career satisfaction and fulfillment, not just for you (Nine of Cups), but everyone around you.  Everything is running great and you want to take advantage by sharing your joy and wealth and success.  This time is the best for your career.

Reversed Meaning of the Ten of Cups Card

All the positive family values and happiness usually found in the Ten of Cups tarot card are twisted and negated when the reversed Ten of Cups appears in a reading. The main concept that can be highlighted then breaks the ideal family iconic image found on the illustration and triggers a series of serious arguments between family members.

This reversed card also embodies a feeling of betrayal and broken promises, and depending on the situation it might have serious consequences on the family, up to a complete separation of the central couple.

Last, but not least, a reversed Ten of Cups in a reading could also be a sign of deep unhappiness, particularly if that unhappiness is due to a feeling of isolation within a crowd, of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In a Question about Love and Relationship

Reversed, this card indicates that there is a problem or difficulty that needs to be addressed in the relationship.  It can also indicate the end of the relationship; in other words, it has gone its full cycle, and now it is time to go to the Ace of Cups, which is not a new level (if the 10 of Cups is upright), but a new person.

In a Question about Career and Work

When this card appears reversed in a question about school, work, or career, then you know that there is some problem in the key working relationship you have.  You need to address the problem if you want to keep things going or acknowledge that the problem is letting you know it is time to end the business partnership.

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About Author

Philip Young, PhD, is a spiritual adviser located in Cary, North Carolina. He provides spiritual guidance using different tools: astrology, tarot/oracle cards, numerology, and past life regression (using muscle testing).