The suit of Cups is one of the four suits in a standard tarot deck, and it is associated with emotions, relationships, feelings, and matters of the heart, but also intuition, creativity, and spirituality.
The suit of Cups is sometimes referred to by other names or associations, especially in different tarot decks or traditions. While the symbolism and themes remain relatively consistent, the suit of Cups may be called by alternative names in various decks: Chalices, Goblets, Hearts, Vessels, and even Bowls. In a deck of playing cards, Cups corresponds to Hearts.
The suit of Cups is typically connected to the season of summer. This association is based on the symbolism and themes of the suit – summer is a time of warmth, emotional growth, and the blossoming of relationships. The suit of Cups is all about emotions, connections, and matters of the heart, which align with the idea of emotional warmth and growth, much like the growth of plants and flowers in the summer. It’s a season when people tend to be more open and expressive with their emotions, and many social and romantic gatherings occur during this time.
And if we take a look at the Cups cards, we can notice water or at least blue tones (blue pants, blue sky…) on them. In addition to the cup itself, the most typical symbol associated with the suit of Cups in tarot cards is water. Water is a central element and symbol in the suit of Cups, representing the emotional and intuitive aspects of life. Water is fluid, agile and flowing, always finding balance (being horizontal), but can be also also very powerful and formative – water can be soft and gentle, just like soft waves lapping against the sandy shore and helping you meditate, or it can be powerful and even forceful, like a raging river, taking away human lives and anything it touches.
The presence of water in Cups cards can signify the flow of emotions, the depth of feelings, and the subconscious mind. Water-related symbols in the Cups suit often include bodies of water, such as rivers, lakes, oceans; water vessels, which represent the containment and management of emotions; waterfalls being a symbol of the powerful and cascading nature of emotions and feelings.
In the context of astrological signs, the suit of Cups is typically associated with the Water signs of the zodiac – Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. Each of the court cards in the Cups suit (Page, Knight, Queen, and King) can be linked to one of these signs. The Page of Cups is often associated with the sign of Pisces, which is known for its deep emotional sensitivity, intuition, and creative imagination. The Knight of Cups is typically linked with the sign of Scorpio, which is known for its passionate and intense nature, and the Knight of Cups embodies these traits in pursuit of their romantic and creative endeavors. The Queen of Cups is associated with the sign of Cancer, which is known for its nurturing and empathetic qualities. The Queen of Cups represents a person who is emotionally intuitive and compassionate, often taking care of others and providing emotional support. And the King of Cups is also linked to Scorpio. Like the Knight of Cups, the King of Cups embodies the deep emotional and intuitive aspects of Scorpio energy but in a more mature and emotionally stable manner.
Water is associated with the feminine or “yin” aspect due to its fluid and receptive qualities, akin to the receptive and nurturing qualities often associated with the feminine. This association can be found in some forms of Western esotericism and certain belief systems.
Cups are associated with the heart chakra, which is also known as Anahata in Sanskrit. The heart chakra is believed to be the center of love, compassion, and emotions. It is located in the center of the chest, near the heart, and is associated with the color green or pink.
The heart chakra is considered the bridge between the lower, more physical chakras (root, sacral, and solar plexus) and the higher, more spiritual chakras (throat, third eye, and crown). It is often associated with the qualities of love, empathy, kindness, forgiveness, and the ability to form deep emotional connections with others.
The connection between the suit of Cups and the heart chakra is based on the emotional and relational themes of the Cups, which include matters of the heart, love, and interpersonal relationships. It suggests that the cards in the Cups suit may provide insights into matters related to the heart chakra and emotional well-being, which is what the Cups are all about.
The Suit of Cups in tarot cards primarily represents emotions, relationships, and matters of the heart. While it is associated with positive and constructive aspects of life, it can also have negative aspects and interpretations, just like any other suit in the tarot. Some of the potential negative aspects of the Suit of Cups include emotional ups and downs, such as sadness, grief, or emotional turmoil. Over-sensitivity and being overwhelmed by feelings is a prominent negative aspect of Cups, especially when it leads to irrational behavior. The Cups can also symbolize over-attachment to people, situations, or emotions, and if there is excessive attachment, this can lead to codependency or an inability to let go of the past, which can hinder personal growth. Illusion and deception is another negative aspect of Cups and can sometimes indicate that emotions and relationships are based on illusion or deception, as well as escapism and avoidance of reality and may indicate using emotional experiences, such as excessive daydreaming or substance abuse, as a way to avoid facing life’s challenges. A negative aspect of the suit of Cups may also be that someone is expending too much emotional energy, leading to exhaustion or emotional burnout.
When a tarot reading contains a predominance of Cups cards, it often indicates that the reading is focused on emotional and relationship matters. The predominance of Cups suggests that the situation or issue at hand is heavily influenced by emotions, feelings, and interpersonal dynamics.
The primary message is that the heart and emotions are at the center of the situation. The cards may be urging you to pay attention to your feelings and the emotions of those involved. A majority of Cups cards can suggest that the situation involves intense or profound emotions. It may signify emotional depth, passion, or even a spiritual aspect to the issue.
A predominance of Cups can also suggest that you need to look inward and engage in self-reflection. It may be a time to explore your own emotions and feelings or to address unresolved issues from your past. Some Cups cards can suggest the need to let go of the past, old wounds, or emotional baggage that may be holding you back. In this context, predominance of Cups can also signify a need for healing or nurturing, either for yourself or others. It may be a time to offer or seek emotional support and comfort.
Cups cards often represent creativity and artistic endeavors, so the reading full of Cups may encourage you to express yourself through creative means, such as art, music, or writing.
Cups can also point to heightened intuition and spiritual insights, so it may be a good time to trust your inner guidance and explore spiritual aspects of your life. With many Cups in the reading, achieving emotional balance and harmony may be a key message. The cards may be advising you to work on maintaining equilibrium in your relationships and emotional life.
Reversed Cups cards in a tarot reading often introduce a different layer of meaning or nuance to the interpretation. The reversal of a card can indicate that the energy or message of that card is blocked, delayed, or operating in a more challenging way. When you have reversed Cups cards in a reading, it may convey several potential messages and interpretations such as emotional blockage, conflict in relationships, inner emotional struggle and turmoil, avoidance of feelings, the need for self-work and introspection, probably because of difficulty in letting go. Generally, reversed Cups in the reading may also mean blocked creativity, blocked empathy and the need to reconnect with emotions.
If there are no Cups cards in a tarot reading, it means that the emotional and relationship aspects of the situation are not the primary focus of the reading. The absence of Cups cards suggests that the reading is emphasizing other areas of life and may not directly address matters of the heart or deep emotions. The reading may center on practical, material, or external aspects of your life, such as career, finances, or daily concerns, or the absence of Cups may indicate that the primary theme of the reading is related to intellectual matters, communication, or problem-solving. The reading may also indicate that the situation is less emotionally charged or that emotions are not the driving force in the matter, instead the cards may be highlighting the need for action, setting goals, and making decisions rather than dwelling on emotional issues. Therefore, the absence of Cups cards may encourage you to approach the situation with detachment and objectivity, as emotions are not the central concern.