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.
Two of Cups card: Traditional meanings
The numerological concept of duality found in the number 2 combined with the strong emotional affinity of the suit of cups combine in this minor arcana to create a minor arcana meaning love and romantic bliss at its core, arguably even more intensely than a combination of the Lovers and the Fool major arcana might achieve. A sublime osmosis between different beings who complete one another while retaining their own identity and differences, the kind of love stories embodied by the two of cups are what the most romantic Hollywood movies are made of. When reversed, usually love only flows one way and this is something that should be respected to avoid lingering feelings of rejection or pointless arguments. Love can only grow when it is free.
Upright: Love, passion, union, duality, partnership, and love at first sight.
Reversed: Unrequited love, rejection, and arguments.
Upright Two of Cups card
In the Rider Waite Smith tarot decks and most of the modern decks that it inspired, there are two characters on the two of Cups, a young man, and woman, each with a chalice in their hand. They look at one another longingly while the Caduceus of Hermes stands in the background behind them, with an unusual lion’s head on top of it.
In most colored versions of the two of cups of the minor arcana, the colors of their clothes don’t match but are in almost complete opposition (warm colors vs. cold colors) in order to enhance the duality between these two people.
As the logical combination of the numerological duality of the number 2, and the emotional energy channeled through the suit of cups, it is quite easy to guess that love will be one of the most important elements when trying to understand the tarot card meaning of the 2 of cups. This card covers most aspects of love, from true love at first sight to fleeting moments of love and happiness shared between friends or lovers.
While love is the main concept that can be linked with this minor arcana, most kinds of relationships between two people technically also fall under that card’s meaning, from simple friendships to family ties.
The only additional common denominator between all these concepts is the mutual affinity felt between two people, romantic or not. As such, the two of cups is a perfect introduction to the core of the suit of cups, highlighting the inherent duality in all things.
Reverse Two of Cups card
When reversed, the two of Cups is a sign of a lack of balance between two elements, usually generating arguments between the involved parties. It can also represent a refusal to take part in the social environment of a partner, and obviously be a sign of unrequited love. The social connections usually flowing through the suit of cups are disturbed, leaving a fertile ground for arguments of all kinds.
In a professional context, a reversed two of cups might highlight the downsides of a forced partnership between two colleagues that are extremely incompatible in their methodology, something that should be avoided because this work in tandem might be even less effective overall than having these two people work on their own.
Two of Cups and love
When the two of cups comes up in a tarot reading focusing on love, it is usually a very good sign and represents two people who truly complete one another on several levels. A spiritually inclined person might call it to love at first sight or “True Love”, but even more down-to-earth people would have a hard time denying the obvious chemistry between those two people.
Combined with cards that bear a more physical or wild meaning like the Devil, for instance, it could also represent the start of an affair outside the range of any potential romantic situation for the Querent, something pleasant and thrilling but without any real emotional commitment.