Cups rule the domain of water, representing our emotional experiences and how we relate to others. Where fire rises, water descends, conforming to the shape of its container. This is the realm of feelings and relationships, but also the flow of the psyche in dreams, intuition, memories, imagination, and spirituality.
While compassion, self-acceptance, and healing fall in the higher realm of Cups, its challenges may include irrationality, hypersensitivity, fantasy. Cups are also often seen as the vessels for alcohol used to drown emotional hardship.
Historically, the four suits were associated with the four classes of society, and Cups or hearts represented the clergy. In modern classist or Marxist tarot, this remains clergy but includes those who provide spiritual or emotional services — such as therapists, social workers, nurses.
If we consider the four humours of the body and temperament as in Galen’s time, water correlated with phlegm and were therefore phlegmatic — kind, calm, and compassionate friends (but may be shy and uninspiring). As Jung’s cognitive functions go, the suit of Cups corresponds to Feeling, which is where our value systems are developed. Expanding on ‘feeling’ a little, Cups also relate to psychic feelings we may get, and spiritual endeavors.
Ace of Cups:
expand your capacity for compassion / healing
Two of Cups
look into the mirror of the other
Three of Cups
seek out your community
Four of Cups
feel free to abstain
Five of Cups
move through grief at your own pace
Six of Cups
open your heart
Seven of Cups
consider the possibilities
Eight of Cups
Nine of Cups
consider your dream and nourish it
Ten of Cups
take joy in what you have
Page of Cups
explore the inner and unseen realms with a playful heart
Knight of Cups
offer love in support of another
Queen of Cups
hold up the mirror to reflect for another
King of Cups
support the growth of others
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