The Suit of Cups represents the realm of emotions, relationships, inner healing, and the development of emotional self-awareness and maturity. The suit speaks to our sense of emotional fulfillment and the process of emotional healing through the cultivation of loving relationships with self and others. As one of four suits in the tarot deck’s Minor Arcana, their function during a tarot reading is to describe the inner world of feelings, unlike the Major Arcana which reflects spiritual lessons to be integrated.
An abundance of Cups cards in a reading is indicative of a focus on self-reflection, listening to one’s dreams, intuition, and deepest feelings. The Cups cards describe our inner realities, the way that we relate to others, and our relationship to the inner world of soul, creativity, dreams, and that which stirs our hearts and imaginations.
The Cups are connected to the element of water and to the importance of allowing emotions to flow through us. They represent the ways that emotions can become trapped and stuck like a stagnant pond, overpower us like a tidal wave, or flow through us like a river. Through the development of the suit, the Cups illustrate the ways we can learn to maintain stability and adaptability amidst the ever-changing nature of emotions.
Suit of Cups: Key Attributes
Key attributes of the Cups cards include sensitivity, creativity, intuition, compassion, empathy, wisdom, and idealism.
Positive traits: The positive qualities associated with Cups cards are the possibility of emotional healing and renewal, the establishment of deep bonds with others, and the development of emotional maturity.
Negative traits: The negative qualities associated with Cups cards are emotional repression, disconnection from self or others, the tendency to be subsumed with grief or susceptible to illusion, and emotional volatility.
Correspondences: The Cups are connected to the water astrological signs of the Zodiac: Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. As water signs, they are associated with various modes of emotional relating, such as the tendency to nurture, form close bonds of attachment, and cultivate empathy and compassion for others.
Suit of Cups Tarot Card Meanings
The Suit of Cups includes nine numbered cards (Ace to 9) and four court cards. Within the Suit of Cups, each card has a specific meaning, which is outlined below.
The Ace of Cups upright represents a new beginning or shift in the realm of emotions, relationships, or creativity through the opening of a new feeling of love for self or for others. The Ace of Cups reversed can signify the feeling of being emotionally blocked, depleted, or focused on one’s internal emotional processes.Read more →
The Two of Cups upright represents a feeling of resonance between two harmoniously attuned beings or a feeling of inner harmony and self-love. The Two of Cups reversed signifies disharmony within a relationship, partnership, or friendship and a feeling of disconnection due to mistrust, miscommunications, and misunderstandings.Read more →
The Three of Cups upright represents a feeling of joy and connection that’s shared between friends, collaborators, or community members who come together in an atmosphere of relaxation, pleasure, and a celebration of life. The Three of Cups reversed may suggest that you feel isolated socially and cut off from meaningful connections in your life.Read more →
The Four of Cups upright signifies contemplating and reviewing the commitments and attachments in your life with the sense that something important is missing. The reversed Four of Cups points to a rejection of opportunities present, either because you’re dissatisfied with what is on offer or because you sense that something better is on the horizon.Read more →
The Five of Cups upright represents a period of grieving old hurts, feeling the fullness of any regrets, and diving deep into the inner well of sorrow so that these emotions can be felt and released. The Five of Cups reversed may indicate that you’re emerging from a period of grief, isolation, and heartbreak.Read more →
The Six of Cups upright signifies nostalgia and reconnecting to one’s past by reflecting on your role as a parent or child or your upbringing. The Six of Cups reversed represents difficulty accessing the joy, freedom, and security that you felt in the past or healing difficult experiences from childhood.Read more →
The Seven of Cups upright represents many different options, opportunities, or competing desires and a sense of confusion about which avenue to pursue due to the presence of illusions or fears. The reversed Seven of Cups can speak to a lack of clear vision or lacking the relevant information necessary to make a decision.Read more →
The Eight of Cups upright represents the desire to abandon a previously cherished dream or life path and seek fulfillment in something new and undiscovered. The reversed Eight of Cups can signify staying in an uncomfortable but familiar situation rather than exploring an unknown but potentially much more satisfying opportunity.Read more →
The Nine of Cups upright represents a feeling of satisfaction and pride in one’s accomplishments and speaks to the ways that an attitude of joyful anticipation can be its own reward. The reversed Nine of Cups speaks to difficulty in accessing joy, pleasure, or trust in life’s goodness.Read more →
The Ten of Cups upright is a vision of fleeting happiness and shared joy, evoking themes of celebration, strong bonds of love, and a feeling of wonder and appreciation for the small miracles of life. The Ten of Cups reversed speaks to a feeling of disconnection from the feeling of joy and harmony in one’s life.Read more →
The Page of Cups upright symbolizes a new beginning or chapter of life in the realm of creativity and emotions and the energy and openness that drives you to take on a new venture. The reversed Page of Cups can signify that you are in the process of developing your creativity or intuition but are feeling blocked or impatient with the process.Read more →
The Knight of Cups upright symbolizes the desire to share your heart openly with others, to pursue what you love, and to take risks to share your truth. The Knight of Cups reversed speaks to a feeling of self-doubt and inner fears or anxieties around taking action toward pursuing your dreams.Read more →
The Queen of Cups upright symbolizes your role as an intuitive, wise, and emotionally grounded presence for those around you, who is able to relate to others from a place of authenticity because of your ability to be honest with yourself. The Queen of Cups reversed speaks to emotional blockages.Read more →
The King of Cups upright speaks to your ability to rise above difficult emotional situations and feelings by accessing your inner sense of calm and stability. The King of Cups reversed suggests an imbalance, either because you are expending too much emotional energy or, conversely, because you are withholding your wisdom, assistance, or support.Read more →