Two of Cups | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

2 of Cups

Keywords for the Two of Cups 

LOVEDESIRE
INTIMACYEROS
ROMANCEATTRACTION
CONNECTIONSHARING
RELATIONSHIPUNION

In the image on the card, we see a bright blue day in the countryside. The sun is shining down on green fields bursting with life. Nestled comfortably amongst a cluster of trees is a charming red roofed house which exudes the promises of comfort and simple joys.

In front of us stand a woman and a man. On our left, the woman is dressed in light blue and white robes, reminiscent of the High Priestess’s elegant attire. The man on the right wears bright yellow tunic and stockings, which clearly indicates a connection to the Fool of the Major Arcana.

The pair stand facing each other, each holding a cup out in front of them. The woman holds her cup out in offering with an earnest and sincere gesture that indicates serious intent. 

However, the man takes a different posture: with his right hand, he reaches out to grab the woman’s cup, while in his left he holds his own cup slightly back and out of reach, with more eagerness to take and reservation to give than we see in his partner.

The couple both wear wreath crowns upon their heads: a crown of laurel for the woman, and a crown of roses on the man. Interestingly, this reverses the typical attributions made of desire/the body to women, and truth/the mind with men which we normally see in the tarot. 

A strange figure hovers up above these two cups: it has the head of a lion and the wings of an eagle. The lion refers to the libido, or life-force energy, which is activated and engaged in romantic love and sexual union. The wings show us how this “lower” physical nature can be sublimated into the spiritual. 

Here, Eros is the link which binds us not only to each other, but which also can connect us with the divine. 

Vinculum quippe vinculorum amor est / Love is the chain of chains”

Giordano Bruno

Below the winged lion we see two snakes which wind their way around a staff, known as the caduceus. This powerful symbol for healing connects both of the cups together and to the winged lion above them, as well.  

This refers to the potential for healing and transformation that occurs when we allow ourselves to connect to each other and to the sacred which lies behind all of manifestation. 

Interpretation for the Two of Cups

When this card appears in a reading, it can often signal the beginning of a new romance or even friendship. It may refer to our capacity for emotional connection, intimacy, and romance.

The 2 of Cups also shows the magic that can occur when we are in love, and are willing to join with another soul in a spirit of true openness and vulnerability. When this occurs what results is often more than the sum of its parts. What is created is something new beyond the original two which have come together in union. 

When the Two of Cups appears in a reading, it often indicates the promises of happiness in love, relationships, and romance. It is considered a highly auspicious indicator for anything to do with matters of the heart. 

Eros, presiding over all spiritual activities, is what ensures the collaboration of the sectors of the universe, from the stars to the humblest blade of grass. Love is the name given to the power that ensures the continuity of the uninterrupted chain of beings; pneuma is the name given to the common and unique substance that places these beings in mutual relationship. Because of Eros, and through it, all of nature is turned into a great sorceress.”

–Ioan P. Culianu, Eros and Magic in the Renaissance

Want more clarity on what’s really going on? Need guidance on what your next steps should be?

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Ace of Cups | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

Ace of Wands

Keywords for the Ace of Cups

LOVEINTUITION
INTIMACYINSPIRATION
ROMANCEEMOTIONAL SENSITIVITY
COMPASSIONPSYCHIC EXPERIENCE
KINDNESSCLAIRVOYANCE

A hand reaches out from a cloud, holding out in offering a golden chalice, recognized by some to be the Holy Grail of legend. 

From this cup the waters of life spring forth. We hear the gentle stirring of the water as it springs from this golden cup, landing with a gentle splash in the calm waters below.

We also hear the sweet chime of bells softly ringing from where they hang at the bottom of the cup’s bowl. They announce, as the ringing of bells often does, the presence of the sacred, acknowledging a time of holy importance.

We see an abundance of life blooming beneath the nurturing, life-sustaining waters of this cup as green lily pads and red lotus flowers.

Finally, above this sacred chalice, we see a dove holding a wafer. The dove has been known as a symbol of innocence, gentleness and peace since the time of Ancient Egypt and beyond.

The dove was sacred to Venus, and symbolized the power of the divine feminine, in conjunction with matters related to love and the renewal of life. Indeed, it was understood that these two concepts are inextricably linked. 

Life is renewed through love. We are sustained by the care and connection we have with one another. Furthermore, love and attraction are the driving force behind the sexual impulse from which all new life is generated. 

Later, the dove was adopted as a Christian symbol of the Holy Spirit, related to the Goddess Sophia, representing divine wisdom. It is also related to the Hebrew concept of the Shekinah, which means the divine “dwelling” or “settling place” of God. 

The dove was also an important symbol of alchemy. In the representations of the Rosarium Philosophorum, the dove is often shown acting as a mediator and messenger from spirit, one which blesses the initial union of the Solar King and the Lunar Queen at the beginning of a process which will ultimately be consummated in the Alchemical Marriage. 

As such, the dove is representative of the assistance which the alchemist (or spiritual seeker) receives as a kind of divine gift, an unearned bounty which we recognize as being the Grace of God. 

Interpretation for the Ace of Cups

When the Ace of Cups card comes up in a tarot reading, it often signals an auspicious beginning in the realm of love or friendship. 

This card may show up when we are at the beginning of a promising new romance. It speaks to a renewed sense of intimacy between people, as well as potentially in relationship to ourselves.

It can signal a boost to our self-esteem, confidence and self-love. It can also indicate a period of emotional well-being, of being in touch with deeper feelings, and being able to process and then express these emotions in healthy and appropriate ways. 

On another level, the ace of cups can also speak to the development of our intuition. It can symbolize psychic ability, as well as getting her true inner voice. 

Above all this card symbolizes a true depth of feeling, along with the possibility for deep emotional connections. This card asks us to open our hearts and surrender to the power of love that unites all things.

The Lovers | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

The Lovers

Keywords for the Lovers

LOVEDESIRE
RELATIONSHIPATTRACTION
INTIMACYMAKING A CHOICE
CONNECTIONCOMMITMENT
SEXUALITYUNION

In The Lovers card of the Major Arcana, we come upon a scene that appears to be the Garden of Eden. 

To our right stands man, symbol of the conscious mind, in front of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This tree holds twelve leaves of fire (one for each astrological sign of the zodiac). The flaming leaves have charred the rest of the tree, likely indicating how reason and logic, when taken to their extreme, can burn us if we are not careful. This shows how the powers of the rational mind must be handled with discernment, lest they destroy what they are meant to protect.

To our left stands woman, symbol of the unconscious mind, in front of the Tree of Life. Four fruits are visible here, although in other decks the full five are visible, each one representing one of our five bodily senses through which we experience the physical world.

Above our pair of Lovers a brilliant sun shines, and from a cloud beneath our sun we see Archangel Raphael, angel of love and healing, who here also represents the divine, or Superconsciousness. 

“Amor est magis cognitivus quam cognitio.” –Thomas Aquinas (We know things better through love than through knowledge.)

Notice how man looks to the woman, while it is she who looks up, hand raised, to Archangel Raphael. Despite what we may have been culturally conditioned to believe, the experience of God is one which we are drawn to through our intuition, rather than through any conscious deliberation. We are often drawn to a higher awareness through what we consider our lower selves; we are tempted by the serpent, drawn by the hand of Eros toward a greater destiny we would hardly have the capacity to conceive through the rational mind.

This card tells us that following our hearts is the only way to truly meet our destiny. Following our inner calling is the only way to break free of the rigidity of the conscious, egoic mind, which has little imagination, little capacity to channel the dream that desires to be born through us. 

Interpretation of the Lovers

When this card comes in a tarot reading, it clearly speaks to the possibility for love and romance. When the Lovers appears, it indicates the real potential for genuine intimacy and emotional connection. 

It refers to the transformative power of our desires to generate new life, whether that be in the form of a child conceived or a project planned. It speaks to the power of our erotic intelligence, also known as the libido or life force energy, which is the driving force connecting us with our destiny. This erotic energy is not limited to sexual expression; when channelled appropriately, it can lead us toward a higher spiritual experience and connection with the divine. 

The Lovers in a reading can also refer to our capacity to make choices for ourselves as individuals, based on our own particular needs and wants, in contrast to what is asked of us by society or the culture at large. In this sense, it can refer to turning  away from the expectations of our family or society (as represented by the Hierophant[link here]). The Lovers in a reading can speak to a need to trust ourselves enough to honor our deepest desire, and follow our hearts when making important decisions for ourselves.

On a more esoteric level, the Lovers represent all three facets of our selves: the Conscious, or mind (the masculine), the Unconscious, or body (the feminine), and the Superconscious, or God/the universe/the cosmic archetypal  (archangel Raphael).

This card shows the relationship that should rightly exist between the three. Man and woman are meant to exist in harmony, in loving relationship. The same is true for our Conscious and Unconscious selves. It was never meant to be “mind over matter,” where mind rules and dominates against the desires of the body. It is meant to be mind with matter, where mind is a guide, a gentle steward that directs and protects the interests of the unconscious or “lower” self.

I also wanted to note that when I speak of the masculine and the feminine, it should not be taken to mean “man” and “woman.” As whole human beings, the masculine and feminine represented here should be taken as facets of our whole personality, both of which we have access to if we are in a condition of health. I want to make it clear that these figures represent elements of the psyche, and both men and women have access to them in equal measure.

Post Modern Love 🖤

“I think of the postmodern attitude as that of a man who loves a very cultivated woman and knows that he cannot say to her “I love you madly”, because he knows that she knows (and that she knows he knows) that these words have already been written by Barbara Cartland. Still there is a solution. He can say “As Barbara Cartland would put it, I love you madly”. At this point, having avoided false innocence, having said clearly it is no longer possible to talk innocently, he will nevertheless say what he wanted to say to the woman: that he loves her in an age of lost innocence.”

Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose