Tarot cards are powerful tools for exploring your inner development, getting an insight about people and situations in your life, and critical thinking. Each card tells a story as an archetype; the cards are part of five journeys: the major arcana (22 cards in the deck) and the four suits of the minor arcana (14 cards in each suit). This article is part of a five-article series that will take a journey through each of these five groups of cards; this second article will look at the suit of cups in the minor arcana. The deck I have chosen to use is something fun, the Happy Tarot, which based on the most commonly known tarot deck, the Rider-Waite Tarot. The cups, in this deck, are presented by bowls of pudding!
- The Journey Through the Major Arcana
- The Journey Through the Pentacles of the Minor Arcana
- The Journey Through the Swords of the Minor Arcana
- The Journey Through the Wands of the Minor Arcana
The Fool’s Journey Through the Minor Arcana
Like the Fool, we all must pass through major events in our lives, captured in the archetypes of the major arcana cards. But most of life is spent dealing with mundane and minor matters; this energy is captured in the archetypical images of the four suits of minor arcana cards. Each suit represents a different aspect of our everyday journeys by way of elements and symbols.
Water is the element of our emotions and the cup or chalice has been chosen as the emotional symbol. Fire represents our creativity and spirituality, and our call to action; the wand or rod is the symbol for fire in the tarot. Earth energy deals with the material world, our finances and health; the pentacle or coin is the earth’s symbol. And finally, air represents our thoughts, how we reason, and how we communicate; the sword is the chosen symbol for air.
The minor arcana suits have fourteen cards, numbered 1 to 10, with four additional cards represented by figures from Renaissance nobility from the courts of old: the page, the knight, the queen, and the king. The aces initiate the energy and the subsequent cards show different expressions of the energy-based on common circumstances we navigate in life. The “court” cards are the personality “types” of each suit, with pages as an impressionable youth, knights as questing workers, queens as the managers, and kings as the leaders.
The Journey Through the Cups
The Fool begins his or her emotional journey with the Ace of Cups, which represents new emotions or a new connection. The 2 of Cups captures that moment when we feel something deeper for another person, be it the beginnings of love or lust, or both. The 3 of Cups shows celebration and abundance, what we feel when we have good friends and family in our lives. When the Fool arrives at the 4 of Cups, s/he knows emotional safety and security, and how to be comfortable alone. The 5 of Cups (and all the number 5 cards) introduces difficulty. The keyword most often connected with this card is a disappointment.
The 6 of Cups shows us deep friendships, loving family relationships, and mature romance that understands the value of loving someone joyfully. Next, the Fool must learn how to make difficult emotional choices; life is selective and there will be times when must choose something or someone over other things or another person. The 8 of Cups teaches us to let go, even when a lot of energy went into gathering the 8 cups in the first place. Relationships end and we have to learn to walk away. In the 9 of Cups, we experience sophisticated happiness about who we are as an individual and with the 10 of Cups we get to experience fulfillment in a healthy and profound relationship.
The Court Cards
The final four cards of the suit are the page, the knight, the queen, and the king. When the Fool experiences the Page of Cups, s/he should be open and excited about relating to others and sharing feelings. This excitement can also express as nervousness and anxiety. Regardless, the page is “giving it a go” to see where the emotional journey will lead. The knight, on the other hand, has focus; s/he teaches how to pursue an emotional quest and see it to completion. The knights always teach us to have goals, and with the cups, the goal is often love or emotional satisfaction.
Queens manage, and the Queen of Cups manages emotions and is steadfast in her desires. The Fool needs to understand how to have emotional fortitude and stability, which the Queen of Cups teaches. How do we provide the emotional fabric that keeps us connected to others and helps them feel secure under our care? Finally, the King of Cups leads with his emotions; he commands from his heart and protects those in need or those who are weaker than him. The fool learns emotional responsibility from the king. We all encounter the lessons of the page, knight, queen, and king over and over again through our life journey, hoping to be wiser with each experience.
Cups in Your Reading
When you draw cup cards in a reading, then you need to address the emotional aspect of your concern or question. This will apply regardless of whether your question is about relationship or work, family or spiritual growth. Suppose you have asked about work and drawn the Knight of Cups; are you pursuing what you love in your career? If not, then what do you need to do to get on the quest? If you are, what do you need to do next to keep your quest flowing the way you want it to?
These cards represent the archetypical situations we find ourselves in that teach us our emotional lessons. The Fool wants to know all the facets of human life. And each card holds the energy of the previous card and the following card. The cards of the tarot are not static; they are dynamic. When cup cards appear, check your heart; something in your “feeling field” needs to be addressed.