King of Cups | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

King of Cups

Keywords for the King of Cups

UNDERSTANDINGCARING
WISEHELPFUL
TOLERANTRESPONSIBLE
COMPASSIONATEPATIENT
DIPLOMATICETHICAL

In the image on the card, we see our King seated before us on a plainly carved stone throne that seems to be almost floating on the surface of the choppy ocean waves.

It is quite the contrast to the Queen of this suit, who seems almost to blend in with the gentle waves lapping against the shore in front of her.

In fact, the King seems to be quite far out to sea. A large ship is seen riding the crest of a high wave to his right, as a single fish appears to jump up above the surface from the depths of the sea.

Interpretation of King of Cups in the Reading

Like all of the court cards, this can represent someone in our outer environment that shows the same qualities and characteristics of the King of Cups. Alternatively, in some instances it can also refer to how we ourselves are showing up in a given situation.

The King of Cups represents a man who is a wise and caring leader. He is a person who cares deeply about those around him. A patient and attentive listener, he seeks to understand the perspectives of other people. 

He remains patient even under stress, and is tolerant of diverse points of view and ways of being in the world.

Our King is deeply engaged with the world around him. While a practical and responsible problem-solver, he brings a deeply empathetic and emotionally intelligent way of responding to all of his concerns.

This card represents a man who can be trusted to act with a higher degree of integrity and care in all he does. His calm and peaceful demeanor inspires others to seek this King’s guidance and advice, while his diplomatic and often gentle nature is effective in helping him gain loyal adherents and allies. 

The King of Cups is someone who achieves his aims through the use of his powerfully calm and composed attitude towards the problems he must confront in the world. 

Queen of Cups | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

Queen of Cups

Keywords for the Queen of Cups

LOVINGGENTLE
NURTURINGINTUITIVE
COMPASSIONATEPSYCHIC
CREATIVESENSITIVE
INTROSPECTIVEKIND-HEARTED

In the image on this card, we find ourselves down by the water’s edge early on a bright spring day.

To our right, we see yellow cliffs rise up in the background. On our left, we see water flowing gently up against the sand of the seashore.

Directly before us, we see a beautiful woman dress all in shades of blue. Her dress gently flows down to blend into the water at her feet, becoming at one point nearly impossible to determine the sea begins and she ends.

This speaks to how integrated this Queen is with the waters of the unconscious represented by the ocean.

This is the source of her vast creative powers. She draws easily upon the divine source for all of her inspiration and creativity. She easily receives guidance from the deeper waters of the greater unconscious depths.

Interpretation of the Queen of Cups in a Reading

The Queen of Cups in a reading can refer either to someone we know in our external world, or alternatively to ourselves and how we have been showing up in a particular situation. 

Either way, it indicates a woman who possesses a certain sweetness and sensitivity to her nature. 

She is caring and nurturing to those around her with an almost motherly quality that carries all the connotations of generosity and concern for those she loves, while retaining a certain youthful and spontaneous attitude. 

This is a woman who is very creative. She uses her visionary imagination to manifest art, relationships, and much more from the heart.

The Queen of Cups is also the most intuitive and even psychic of all the court cards. Her inner visions are not merely flights of fancy, but rather often intimations of a deeper truth. This is a queen who is grounded in reality, who has the capacity to utilize her inspired visions to make her dreams a reality. 

Knight of Cups | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

Knight of Cups

Keywords for the Knight of Cups 

ROMANTICDREAMY
CHIVALROUSUNREALISTIC
POETICMOODY
IDEALISTICOVERDRAMATIC
QUIXOTICUNSTABLE

In the image on the card, we see what appears to be an arid landscape in the background. It appears to be high noon–the sun lights up the landscape, and amidst these intense solar rays one can almost [taste/feel] the dryness in the hot air.

A single quiet stream flows through the parched earth of this scene, snaking gently across the dry earth of the arid landscape. 

In the midst of this, we see a Knight on his horse. This horse bears a striking resemblance to the one pictured on Key 13, the red-eyed white horse ridden by Death himself.

He wears a tunic over his armor, decorated with images of red swimming in a blue sea. They are the only fish in sight on this card, in contrast to what we see with either the Page, Queen or King.

This speaks to the fact that the emotional energy of this Knight is not generative or creative. For as many beautifully inspired ideas as he may have, they tend to remain idealistic dreams unmanifest in actual reality.

Interpretation of the Knight of Cups in a Reading

Like all of the court cards, this can represent someone in our outer environment that shows the same qualities and characteristics of the Knight of Cups. Alternatively, in some instances it can also refer to how we ourselves are showing up in a given situation.

Either way, this court card will indicate a person who has a very idealistic, romanticized view of life. He is a dreamer, caught up in his fantasies and visions of an ideal love or ideal world. 

On the positive side, this Knight has a romantic and inspired sensibility, possessing the soul of an artist and the heart of a poet. His emotional depth and spiritual sensitivity are unequaled. 

When he loves, he holds nothing back. He is all in without reservations. He is someone who is proud to wear his heart on his sleeve.

On the negative side, this Knight can be a bit of a fanatic. He may be so enamored with his ideals that he may be willing to take dangerous actions to defend them–no matter how ungrounded or ill-conceived these may be.

His capacity for strong feelings also predisposes him to emotional volatility and extreme mood swings. As a result, he is not someone we can consider reliable, and we are not always sure we can count on him.

Page of Cups | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

Page of Cups

Keywords for the Page of Cups

SENSITIVEINTUITION
INTUITIVEPSYCHIC DEVELOPMENT
GENTLEDREAMS
SWEETFANTASIES
LOVINGVISIONS

In the image on this card, we see a young child dressed in a blue tunic decorated with pink flowers. Except for his yellow boots, the rest of his attire adheres to this soft pink and blue color scheme.

The scene in the background is the most empty of all the court cards: we see nothing behind him except for gentle waves rolling across the sea.

There is also another interesting difference here: although here we see an empty sea, this page is holding a cup containing a fish, the only one of any of the court cards to do so.

The fish faces the page, seeming to stare straight at him, and our page looks directly back, proud of what he has made.

The Page of Cups has manifested this fish through the powers of his own creative imagination. He is artistic and inspired, and  with a creative mind and an innocent heart, he invests the contents of his psychic or inner experience with such energy that the contents of his imagination become quite real to him. 

Interpretation of the Page of Cups in a Reading

Like all of the court cards, this can represent someone in our outer environment that shows the same qualities and characteristics of the Page of Cups. Alternatively, in some instances it can also refer to how we ourselves are showing up in a given situation.

Physically, the Pages tend to represent children in our lives, however, these cards can also refer to any person who has a very youthful energy and lighthearted, innocent and carefree way of being in the world. 

As a Page, this card is associated with students, or those who are new to their path in general. They tend to possess a certain pure, uncomplicated passion for life and for the way they express the energy of their suit.

The Page of Cups is someone who is gentle, caring and kind. He is intuitive and quick to catch on, almost psychically receptive to the emotions and feelings of the people around him.

This Page is quite innocent, always wanting to believe the best in people. He can also be unabashedly sentimental and idealistic in the expression of his feelings for others. 

Some might even call him a bit naive or foolish for his goodness and trust in others. However, for him, it is simply the expression of a gentle and loving heart the world has not succeeded in hardening.

In readings, the Page of Cups can also refer to creativity, intuition and even psychic ability. It can refer to the ability to remember and interpret your dreams, work with their symbolism, as well as also possessing a certain ethereal, dream-like quality about yourself.

Above all, this card represents a person who still retains much of the sensitivity, vivid inner life, and unrestrained creativity of the Page of Cups.

Ten of Cups | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

10 of Cups

Keywords for the Ten of Cups

JOYSERENITY
CONTENTMENTEMOTIONAL FULFILLMENT
LOVEFAMILY
INTIMACYMARITAL BLISS
AFFECTIONA HAPPY FAMILY

It is a beautiful, bright spring morning—the birds are chirping, the dew is still fresh on the grass, and the sun is shining down gently on the new life stirring in all corners of this verdant landscape. 

High overhead, we see a stunning, vibrantly iridescent rainbow stretching itself wide across the sky. This rainbow seems to glimmer and glow with the gold of the 10 cups contained within the bands of vibrant color on display in the clear blue sky.

This rainbow stands suspended over the rolling green hills, the gently meandering creek, and the cozy, comfortable cottage that is home to the happy family we see here in this card.

We see a husband and wife embrace each other while they raise their hands to the air in an expression of joyous celebration. 

To the right of this happy pair, we see their son and their daughter have taken each other by the hand, and are happily dancing around in a circle, unable to contain the happiness and joy they feel together on this beautiful spring day. 

Interpretation of the 10 of Cups 

When the 10 of Cups comes up in a reading, it often can signal a deep sense of emotional satisfaction and joy. 

This card reflects being in a loving and supportive environment, where one’s emotional needs for connection and closeness with others are easily met. 

The 10 of Cups also speaks to a deeply felt sense of both inner and outer harmony. When this card appears, it can indicate a feeling of serenity in one’s home life and closest relationships.

This card may signal an appreciation of the simple joys of a peaceful and simple life, one where harmonious relations are cultivated and valued, not only between individual people, but also in relationship to the earth and the natural world of which we are a part. 

The 10 of Cups often speaks to the quiet moments of intimacy and connection we experience with our loved ones. It is rooted in qualities of honesty, emotional openness, and a sincere recognition of the underlying value, autonomy and worth of those we care about and are closest to.

When this card comes up in a reading, it is often asking us to remember that happiness and joy is not just about what we have, but about who we choose to share it with. 

Nine of Cups | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

9 of Cups

Keywords for the Nine of Cups 

CONTENTMENTABUNDANCE
SATISFACTIONENJOYMENT
LUXURYOVERINDULGENCE
GOOD FORTUNEOSTENTATION
WISHES FULFILLEDEXCESS

In the image on the card, we see a plump man sitting contentedly on a stone bench. He sits with legs spread wide, clearly relaxed and at ease here. With his hands comfortably folded across his chest, he seems to lean backwards with a leisurely attitude of contentment, comfort and satisfaction.

Behind him stands a high banquet table covered in rich blue cloth. Upon this table are nine cups, each of them filled with one of the delicious beverages which have been prepared as part of the celebratory feast that the man is about to enjoy with his friends and loved ones. 

The man in question appears to be as happy as could be. Everything is ready, the party is about to begin, and he is ready to relax and have fun. 

He welcomes this abundant banquet as a well-deserved reward for all of the effort he has put in. He knows without a doubt that he deserves all the good fun which is soon to come.

Interpretation of the 9 of Cups 

When the 9 of Cups comes up in a tarot reading, it usually portends good news. Known by many as the “wish” card, it will often indicate desire fulfilled or some hope realized. 

Many times, this card relates to a situation in which we have the opportunity to enjoy the finer things in life. It can mean feeling secure in your resources, being surrounded by abundance, as well as also potentially having access to certain luxuries.

It refers quite often to the enjoyment and appreciation of sensual pleasures: this can be savoring a delicious meal with friends and family, eating delicious food, drinking fine wine, enjoying the sensation of sumptuous velvet fabric on one’s skin, and in general partaking of the many pleasures life has to offer.

Additionally, the 9 of Cups can signal a feeling of deep satisfaction and contentment, which extends not only to our material possessions, but even to our sense of self, as well. 

Looking again at the image on the card, we can see the deep confidence, self-assurance and satisfaction that seem to exude from the man at the center. 

At times, this may well indicate a healthy sense of self-esteem and pride in oneself and one’s abilities. However, in some contexts this may manifest itself in a more negative way and be expressed as a sense of superiority or grandiosity. 

Although the Nine of Cups is typically a sign of good fortune and celebration, there are also some less positive manifestations which we may need to watch out for. 

When this card appears, we will likely have the opportunity to indulge and enjoy life, but we should take care not to overindulge or to be extravagant or wasteful, as this card can at times be accompanied by a certain reckless extravagance that we may come to regret after the party is over. 

Eight of Cups | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

8 of Cups

Keywords for the Eight of Cups 

CHANGESWALKING AWAY
MOVING ONSEEKING FULFILLMENT
TRANSFORMATIONLEAVING THE PAST BEHIND
FOLLOWING OUR HEARTSTRUSTING OUR INTUITION
MEETING OUR DESTINYFAITH IN THE FUTURE

In the image on this card, we see a darkened sky, at the moment when the moon moves to cover up the sun in a solar eclipse.

Underneath this portentous planetary conjunction, we see a rocky coastline, where rocky green cliffs meet shallow, watery tide pools beneath.

It is the moon which pulls on these tides, stirring the waters of the earth and the blood of our bodies; sometimes, it prompts sudden changes of heart and then the inevitable movement toward newly envisioned desires that call out to us to be embodied more fully. 

Directly before us stand eight cups standing stacked neatly in two rows. In the space left by a gap in the top row we catch sight of a figure wearing a striking crimson cloak and boots. In tarot, the color red typically stands for the power of our desires, feelings and emotions. 

We see that this person has turned away from us, setting out with the intention to find a more satisfying life for herself. It is likely due less to any logical reasoning than a deep seated desire which spurs her to action.

Interpretation of the 8 of Cups in a Reading

When the 8 of Cups shows up in a tarot reading, it often refers to a situation where we have chosen to leave behind something which still gives us some measure of satisfaction and joy, in order to seek out something better or more fulfilling. 

It is interesting to note that, in contrast to the 5 of Cups we saw earlier, all of the cups in this card still remain standing. Nothing here has been lost, and on some level, there still remains a considerable amount of potential for happiness here.

As a result, the 8 of Cups can often mean leaving behind the known, and embarking on a journey of self-discovery to find what is more fully aligned with the true desires of your heart. 

In addition, the eclipse of the sun we see in this card can guide us to seeing some of the deeper meanings at play. The Sun represents the solar mode of conscious, rational awareness. In turn, it is being covered by the Moon, which represents the lunar mode of subconscious, emotional awareness. 

This indicates that we are being prompted to trust our “gut feelings,” and allow our intuition to be our guide into what could be a more promising future for ourselves. 

As a result, the Eight of Cups in a reading can mean disregarding our typical left-brained rationalizations which tend to encourage us to follow the more conventional path, the part which expects us to fall in line with what society expects of us as the only “reasonable” choice.

 Instead, this card asks us to take a chance and follow the promptings of our hearts instead.

Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you truly love. It will not lead you astray.”

Rumi

Seven of Cups | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

Keywords for the Seven of Cups

FANTASYREVERIE
ILLUSIONVISION
IMAGINATIONIDEALS
DREAMSUNGROUNDED
WISHFUL THINKINGDELUSIONAL

In the image on this card, we see the dark figure of a man illuminated from behind. He is lost in thought, caught in a reverie as he ponders the various virtues of each offering displayed before him. 

From a nebulous gray cloud of fog we see seven cups suspended in mid-air. The man struggles to focus; instead, his gaze flits from one shimmering golden cup to another, and then to the next. Each is utterly captivating, alluring and enticing in its own unique way. 

Which of these would he most desire to have for himself? 

There’s the tall, elegant and imposing castle which rises up from the first cup on the left—the perfect residence, more than enough luxury for him to enjoy, plenty there to inspire his neighbors to envy, to assure himself of prominence in the area in which he lives

Or perhaps the glittering mountain of jewels, overflowing, exceeding the bounds of this next cup—more wealth than he would know what to do with! He pictures luxury without end, he dreams of the power to purchase whatever his heart may desire.

But suddenly, a mysterious, charming figure catches his eye—he feels the magnetic pull of desire and of lust inspired by this most beautiful of all women, Helen of Troy. To spend a night with this most gorgeous of all queens seems to promise pleasure beyond compare…

Now his eyes are drawn away again, this time by a laurel wreath. This leafy crown could bestow upon him the recognition and respect he has always felt he should command among men. He has dreamed of this often: of distinction, privilege, honor, and above all, power. The capacity to command his fellow man, to be esteemed above others, to influence, and to  sway the minds of masses–all of this could be within his grasp, could it not?

His eyes move back and forth from one cup to the next. Which shall be his? What is worthy of his attention? Which desire calls out most loudly to him, demanding to be fulfilled?

The man seems unable to pull himself out of his fantasies. He continues to dream, lost in thought, unable to move or take any action. Instead, he remains, enchanted by his visions, lost in a reverie too charming to let go of…

Interpretation of the Seven of Cups

When the 7 of Cups appears in a tarot reading, it can indicate that we may be caught up in fantasies or illusions. We may be spending our time lost in thought, preferring to daydream about all the various possibilities which drift like clouds before us in idle minds. 

In a reading, the 7 of Cups may mean that we are wasting our time chasing illusions. This card can serve as a warning that we are living in a false world of fantasy that is unrounded in reality and lacking in the potential for material realization. 

However, there are also positive potentials implied by the 7 of Cups, as well. This card will often appear when we have many equally desirable opportunities. It can also refer to the initial stages of planning and weighing your options before taking action. 

If we can manage to bring these dreamy energies into our conscious, rational awareness, we can then potentially use these ideals to transform the material and physical realities of our lives. The energies of the 7 of Cups can be highly potent and powerful, as long as they are grounded in reality through concrete action in the material world. 

All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.” 

T. E. Lawrence

Six of Cups | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

Keywords for the Six of Cups 

INNOCENCENOSTALGIA
SINCERITYCHILDHOOD
GOOD INTENTIONSYOUTH
PURE OF HEARTGENUINE AFFECTION
SIMPLICITYAPPRECIATION

In the image on this card, we see four cups standing in a row in front of us. The remaining two cups are set at different points in the card, effectively dividing the scene in two halves with important different meanings. 

On the right side of the card we see a boy who holds out a golden cup with a white lily inside of it to a very young girl, likely his sister. The two children, standing on the bare, uncultivated earth in front of a warm and welcoming cottage behind them. 

They are dressed in bright colors, vivid reds and blue and yellows, all intense primary hues which indicate the uncomplicated purity and vitality of the emotions they so freely express. 

The last and final sixth cup has been set upon a short pedestal which marks the dividing line between the two halves of the card, as well as the two main parts of our lives, childhood and adulthood. Underneath this cup we see a shield marked with an “X”, as if to warn us: once we cross this line, there is no turning back. 

Interpretation for the 6 of Cups in a Reading

When the 6 of Cups appears in a reading, it often speaks to the pure and uncomplicated feelings and emotions we experienced as children. It reminds us of the innocence we once possessed, before life imposed greater demands and expectations upon us as adults.

Beyond that, it takes us back to a time before we had known the pain of a broken heart, to a time when we were still unscarred by betrayals or disappointments we experienced as we reached maturity. 

The 6 of Cups tends to speak to an attitude of innocence and simplicity in our way of relating to others. The children pictured here give and receive affection and share resources with each other without any calculation or guile. They are able to enjoy the simple pleasures of each other’s company without any apprehension or expectation.

This is in stark contrast to the adult world of relationships that most of us experience during our later years. For too many, navigating relationships can feel like a war of subtle strategies between “lovers,” a game where score is fastidiously kept and every hurt is cataloged, and every slight, punished.

This guardedness and suspicion is represented here on the left of the card: here, we see a heavily armored man bear a spear as a weapon. In contrast to the children, he walked on a ground paved with heavy stones toward a tall fortress with only the narrowest of windows breaking its high walls. 

This represents how as adults, we tend to be more closed off to genuine feelings, often hiding our true emotions and suppressing our sincere affections. Unfortunately, most of us have built up defenses similar to this fortress, and will hardly let anyone get past the heavy armor we wear to protect our still tender hearts.

When the 6 of Cups appears in a reading, it sometimes asks us to take a moment to pause and reflect on where we might be similarly guarded. This card reminds us of the sweetness of life that could be available to us if we are able to let our guard down and risk vulnerability with another.

In a relationship reading, the 6 of Cards is typically a highly auspicious card for romance and connection. It indicates sincerity, good intentions, and a willingness to show up with the openness, honesty, and real vulnerability that true love requires.

Five of Cups | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

Keywords for the Five of Cups 

GRIEFEMOTIONAL PAIN
LOSSSUFFERING
SADNESSLETTING GO
DEPRESSIONFINDING THE SILVER LINING
BEREAVEMENTMOVING ON

In the image on the card, we see a man draped in a long, black cloak, his head down in an apparent gesture of grief and sadness.

Three empty cups lay on the ground in front of him, their contents spilled all over the floor at his feet. The man looks down at the floor, and there is a sense of regret here, indicating that he could possibly bear some responsibility for the losses he grieves.

However, it is important to note that there are a total of five cups pictured in this card. There are full cups standing behind the man which he has yet to notice.

As a result, this card signifies not only loss, but the hope that yet remains even after experiencing failure or defeat. This hope is also indicated by the symbol of the bridge which rises in the distance. 

This bridge links the man in his current situation to the future which is still possible for him. The house we see on the left of the card tells us that when he is ready, there is still plenty of potential happiness, satisfaction and security that he can one day come home to. 

Interpretation of the 5 of Cups in a Reading

When the 5 of Cups comes up in a tarot reading, it often means that we are facing some kind of a loss in our lives. We could be in the process of grieving what we once had, but which remains no longer.

The 5 of Cups encourages us to honor our emotions: our sadness, disappointment, and grief.

However, it also challenges us to a task that is seemingly opposite: it asks us to also recognize what it is that remains.

In the image on the card, we see that the man in the black cloak is facing forward towards the three cups which have spilled their contents on the ground. He is unable to see the two full, upright cups which still stand behind him. 

However, although they remain unseen, it is interesting to notice that they are located even closer to the man than the ones he has lost. 

This is a reminder that all too often, when we focus on what we don’t have, we miss out on the very real goodness that is available to us in ourselves, that still remains to be discovered.

This is not to say that we should gloss over our pain or our loss–there is a necessity to grieve what is gone if we are to properly move forward with our lives. It is necessary, but it is only the first step. 

Once we have worked through our pain and processed our emotions, we must have the courage to lift our heads and see all that still remains for us, if we are willing to see it.