I realize the title of this blog sounds as though I’ve decided to write about sex rather than tarot. I haven’t (yet). It was the only way I could think to summarize what happens when a particular suit dominates all your tarot readings.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the tarot are the four suits of the minor arcana – Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles – and how they work together to fully represent the wide range of experiences we encounter in our day-to-day lives. Unlike the major arcana, which represent the big, spiritual lessons unfolding around us, the minor arcana speak to the more mundane things contained within the human experience. This includes things like worrying over finances, juggling daily responsibilities, or going out with friends.
As a brief summary, the four suits of the tarot represent the following:
Swords – Air – Thoughts and Mental Activity
Wands – Fire – Creativity and Career
Cups – Water – Feelings and Emotions
Pentacles – Earth – Money and the Physical World
I have said that there is no greater teacher of tarot than life and time itself, and I stand by that. If you are studying tarot, a year of working with the cards daily and reflecting on how they play out in your life will be the best teacher there is. No book can teach you what life can.
A while ago I wrote about how the suit of Swords was affecting me personally. During this time I was grappling with the mental illness of a loved one. My mind raced constantly with worries about the future and pervasive guilt that I could not lift her out of darkness. As an empath (someone who easily feels the emotions of others), and someone who has grappled with her own depression, I found myself sliding into sadness with her. The swords were showing up consistently in my daily readings, and sleep did not come easily. Luckily, with time and psychiatric care, things begun to shift, and I am happy to report that the intense stress of the past few months has ended.
Interestingly, as the swords retreated back into the pile of cards, the cups emerged and began to take over my daily readings. This past month has been all about emotions and feelings in a way I have not experienced in years. Nearly all of my readings have prominently featured the cups. Experiencing them in this way has led me to my own increased understanding of how these energies play out in our lives.
My experience with the cups has been so intense that I’ve decided to examine each of them, card by card, and share my reflections on what they have meant to me personally. These descriptions below build on what I have learned from studying the tarot, reading for others, and journaling for myself. I will expand this post by delving into the other suits in time, as they unfold in my life. I will cover the court cards separately.
As you review these cards, you may find the symbolism in the Rider Waite is so overt that you can predict what each card is about before you even read the description. This is why I believe the Rider Waite to be the perfect deck for a beginning reader versus a more abstract, artistic tarot deck. If you want to read more about learning to read tarot for yourself, check out this article.
Ace of Cups: Each ace is a gift from the universe and a positive omen for a new beginning. The Ace of Cups represents a new wave of emotion crashing into your life. A new love may present itself to you. This isn’t necessarily a sexual love – it could be a pleasant exchange with friend. The Ace of Cups can also appear when you have an opportunity to release emotional burdens. This card can also represent an outpouring of creativity powered by feelings of love and deep emotion. It can represent the birth of a child (likely a girl, versus a boy as suggested by the Ace of Wands).
Two of Cups: The Two of Cups bodes well in relationship readings when someone wants to know if there is potential with a new love interest. This is the card of star-crossed lovers. When this card appears you know you have met someone very significant in your life. As a lover, it could be your soulmate. However, it can also be a very close friend or even a business partner. It can also represent falling in love with a new hobby or personal interest.
Three of Cups: This card represents good times with friends. This is the card of abundance and celebration. It suggests a time in your life when you will go out, be social, and maybe have a few drinks. Modern interpretation could also see this as Internet dating or even a threesome (gasp!). In love readings it suggests that a person is more focused on having fun and being casual rather than something serious, and it can also be an indicator that someone may need to slow down on the drinking if their social life has been a little too full.
Four of Cups: The Four of Cups suggests boredom or dissatisfaction within a relationship. Oftentimes there is nothing wrong with the union, but it feels stale. This could also present itself as depression or melancholy. This card encourages you to examine yourself and is a reminder to reflect on all the things that are right and well in a relationship rather than focusing on the negative. The figure in the card is being a bit greedy and ungrateful. (Jerk!)
Five of Cups: The Five of Cups is about grief and loss. This is known as the card of “crying over spilled milk.” This card presents itself when we long for a past love or have our heart broken. It is a bad omen for an existing relationship as it suggests that the current energies within the relationship may be leading toward trouble or betrayal.
Six of Cups: The Six of Cups is about nostalgia. With this card, we look back on a time when we were happy and fulfilled. It may be a time when we were younger, as in childhood. It could also be that we are longing for an earlier period in our relationship when there was still romance and intrigue. This card can also tell you that you need to indulge your inner child and have a little fun.
Seven of Cups: The Seven of Cups appears when our fantasies are running wild. We may have several different paths (or people) to choose from. This card creates a certain degree of paralysis in your life because it is hard to know where to go or what to choose. It can also be that someone has high hopes for a relationship, but they are fooling themselves. I experienced this card at the beginning of 2017 when I wrote about intention deficit disorder.
Eight of Cups: This card is about hard choices. It’s about examining our current relationship and/or situation and evaluating whether it still meets our needs. Oftentimes this card shows up if someone is contemplating a breakup or divorce, or leaving a job. It is about making difficult decisions and choosing a new, and often more difficult, path in order to seek one’s own truth. This is a difficult card to work through in your life.
Nine of Cups: The Nine of Cups is one of the best cards you can receive in a reading. This is known as the “wish card” and it represents deep emotional fulfillment. In a relationship reading it means you are very satisfied. It also can suggest that you are in a time of life where you are able to manifest the things you want quite easily.
Ten of Cups: The Ten of Cups celebrates the time and energy we invest into our relationships and families. This card celebrates the joy of family life. This is the high point of family life, when things are happy and simple.
We must celebrate the emotional depth that the cups add to life, and not just on Valentine’s Day. All the warm feelings, the sweetness of love, the emotional vulnerability, and even the heartbreak… Without love life wouldn’t be quite so sweet.
“To love is nothing. To be loved is something. But to love and be loved, that’s everything.” – T. Tolis
If you are experiencing issues in your relationship, check out my love and relationship analysis reading.