Three 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 Three of Cups Card

Upright: fun, celebration, dancing, sex, carpe diem, enjoyment, and wild abandon.

Reversed: wallflower effect, feeling isolated and left out, and the negative consequences of excessive partying.

Traditional Representation and Description of the Three of Cups Card

3 of cups Rider Waite tarot
Source: Wikimedia

—Maidens in a garden celebrate with cups uplifted as if pledging one another. Divinatory Meanings: The conclusion of any matter. Plenty, perfection, merriment, happiness, victory, fulfillment, solace, healing. Reversed: Expedition, dispatch, achievement, end. (Rider Waite Booklet)

Modern Representations of the Three of Cups Card

The Three of Cups is one of the most positive cards in the suit and in the tarot as a whole. A universal call for celebration and wild happiness, this card provides an easy escape from the bleak and weary downsides of the modern world for a few moments of joy out of time.

On a more symbolic level, the Three of Cups embodies the same kind of energy as the arrival of Spring after long months of Winter. The body and soul crave some release and need to channel this excess energy through dance, song, love, and life itself.

A reversed drawing of the Three of Cups is still mostly positive but warns against the negative downside of any excess that might be indulged.

3 of Cups Mythic Tarot

The Mythic Tarot (1986/2008)

3 of Cups Haindl Tarot

The Haindl Tarot (1990)

3 of Water Celebration Osho Zen Tarot

Osho Zen Tarot (1995)

3 of Cups Law of Attraction Tarot

Law of Attraction Tarot (2011)

3 of Cups Spellcaster Tarot

Spellcaster Tarot (2016)

3 of Cups Ostara Tarot

Ostara Tarot (2017)

Upright Meaning of the Three of Cups Card

The imagery of the Three of Cups from the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck might be one of the most iconic and recognizable among the minor arcana. Three young women in long flowing robes are dancing with one another, each with a cup in their hand. There are various symbols and fruits around them as if they had the horn of plenty at their disposal.

Just like the young women in the RWS illustration, the Three of Cups is an encouragement to make the most of life and enjoy the moment. This minor arcana calls for a celebration and the wild emotional abandon that comes with it. This is an extremely positive card that provides just as much enthusiasm no matter what context it appears in, romantic love, friends, and families.  Even in the professional area the Three of Cups might be drawn as an incentive to celebrate some kind of achievement or an important client being signed.

The Three of Cups is an invitation to forget about any worry or stress from everyday life and just get wild and free. This card from the suit of Cups could be a perfect embodiment of the “Carpe Diem” (enjoy the moment) motto made famous in the Dead Poets Society movie.

There is also a more physical side tied to the emotional pleasure and celebration urged by the Three of Cups, which might be as simple as dancing or hint at more intimate moments of passion, in stark contrast with the more intangible emotional connection that could be seen in the Two of Cups.

In a Question about Love and Relationship

This is also a very good and positive card when it appears in a love tarot reading session. While not as pure and intense as the previous minor arcana, the Three of Cups has a more physical and sensual approach to this kind of connection.

Drawing both the two and Three of Cups in the same love tarot reading is far more common than one might think, and is usually a kind of “life goal” for many people.

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 Three of Cups is about celebrating your relationships.

If you are a student and this is your card, then focus on your friends at school and how you enjoy spending time with them.  Make a point of doing something fun with them soon, not only for the fun, but because you appreciate the people who share your joys in life.

If you are doing work that is necessary, but not a career, then you want to go out and do something fun with your co-workers.  Also, who do you have fun with at work?  Having co-workers who can laugh with you makes the job easier.

If you are in your career, then the Three of Cups encourages you to share your success with friends and family by throwing a party or treating others to an event you would all enjoy.  Enjoy the fruits of your labor with people who appreciate and love you.

Reversed Meaning of the Three of Cups Card

While the Three of Cups is usually an encouragement to let oneself loose, when it appears reversed in a reading it usually deals with the consequences of such behavior when it is left unchecked and brought up to excessive levels. This is the “morning after” effect, once the party is over and you need to deal with the leftovers and a potential headache as a bonus gift from a rough night.

In a Question about Love and Relationship

Reversed, this card suggests some frustration or anxiety regarding the relationship.  You are not feeling the fun or joy from, towards, or with your partner.  It may be just a minor bump in the road or a clear sign it is time to end the relationship.  If you ignore the warning, the matter will only get worse.

In a Question about Career and Work

In a professional context, a reversed Three of Cups might indicate your enjoyment or positive feelings about school, work, and career are being sucked away by unhappy and joyless relationships.  A huge part of working is social; and if the relationships are sour, then work may sour as well.

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