The Minor Arcana showcases daily life. The Suit of Cups in the Minor Arcana corresponds to the element of Water. The cardinal direction that they represent West and the season is autumn. It is thought that the Suit of Cups also known as the Suit of Goblets or Challices was meant to represent the clergy. The Cups are a feminine, passive, receptive, yin element. They correspond to the hearts in modern playing cards.
The element of Water rules our hopes, aspirations and dreams. Water could be the gentle sparkling stream or the raging river, the fresh clean ocean or a muddied swamp, sluggish silt-filled river or the wild tidal wave or tsunami. It is the element that encompasses the entire range of emotions from the selfless fountain of compassionate love as seen in the Ace, to focused love for another as seen in the Two of Cups. The element of Water is an expression of ourselves through our friendships as seen in the Three of cups and through the emotional disappointment that we all go through from time to time as seen in the Four of Cups. Water is the element in which we express our grief and mourning as seen in the Five of Cups and our longing for the past when life was simpler as demonstrated by the Six of Cups.
Water is the element of mystery and daydreams of regret and longing, of reevaluation and illusion as the seven of cups teaches us. In the Eight, the element of Water takes on its own flow and its own direction. It will flow where it needs to go since emotional desire makes its own path and is very much the realm of water as seen in the Eight of Cups. In the Nine water gushes with the overflow of joy which establishes itself as contentment in the ten of cups.
The element of water in its ideal sense is a good representative of healthy self-worth, empathy, compassion, sensitivity, and the community. Reversed or in their negative aspect, the cups spiral downwards into depression, loss of self-worth, grief, melancholy, action paralysis, withdrawal from the world.
If a reading contains a lot of cup cards it implies that the querent is more focused on the affairs of the heart and on matters of emotion understanding. Too many cups in a reading can also indicate that we are viewing the reading through the fog of the querents emotions. The cups reversed represent a loss of love, heartbreak, grief, misery and may even refer to addictions to drown out the sorrows of life.
The Signs that form the cups court are Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio. The Cups court is artistic, dreamy, self-reflecting and they take their time with people. They are sensitive and out rightly intuitive. While the Page encourages you to open yourself to love in your life, the Knight is the Arthurian ideal of romance, chivalry and beauty. The Queen feels life deeply and reminds you that it is essential to feel deeply as feelings give life its depth. The King shows you how to work through your emotions and master the element of water. At best the people of the Cups suit are dreamy, caring, imaginative and flexible. At worst, there is a tendency to be self-absorbed, escapist and living in fantasies.
This is an essential element, after all, we are 75% water. Water is the element that pushes you to go with the flow and to find the flow in your own emotions and inner life. The direction of the flow is ever towards happiness, contentment and joy.
The Suit at a Glance
- Ace June 21- September 22
- Two June 21 – June 30
- Three July 1- July 10
- Four July 11 – July 22
- Five Of Cups October 23 – November 1
- Six November 2 – November 11
- Seven November 12 – November 22
- Eight February 19 – February 28
- Nine March 1- March 10
- Ten March 11 – March 20
- Page June 21- September 22
- Knight February 9 – March 10
- Queen October 12 – November 11
- King June 20 – July 10
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