The Cups

Meaning of Each Tarot Card

Upright, Reversed and Keywords

The Cups is the Tarot suit long connected with any issues of emotion.  Ruled by water, feelings can run high when this suit makes an appearance. 

When looking at the meaning of each Tarot card in the Cups suit, make note of what other suits are present.  If there are also a lot of Coins or Wands, this indicates what is actually happening.  The presence of a number of Cups or Swords cards can suggest that this is more subjective, what the querent is feeling.  

If you're just learning to read Tarot cards, use the position in the Tarot layout as well as the meanings to guide you. And never forget to listen to your gut instinct, even if it means the changing the official definition slightly.  

Ace of Cups

Upright: A card that heralds the start of a new period of blossoming love, friendship and creativity.  The Ace of Cups brims over with ideas, feelings and lovely new possibilities.  

Creative and intuitive periods are filled with imagination, artistic impulses and the birth of new ideas (or even a child).  Nurturing and essential for development, the Ace of Cups creates a perfect environment for mutual passion and loving relationships.

Reversed:  When the Ace of Cups is reversed, it represents a time of emotional drain and chaos.  It may refer to one-sided or exhausting relationships that demand more emotional effort than they return.  

Creative ideas and artistic projects seem to have dried up and a general feeling of being uninspired is present.  Emotion demands seem constant, leaving you feeling empty and needing to withdraw.

Meanings for Tarot Keywords: creative and emotional growth, love, passion, growth in relationships, birth of new ideas or children, intuition, fruitfulness, emotionally drained, chaos, need to withdraw, imbalance in relationships, need for replenishment, emotional exhaustion 

Two of Cups

Upright: When the Two of Cups appears, partnerships of every kind will benefit.  If it is a matter of love, established relationships will become even more loving.  For those who are looking for love, a new important affair will start.  

When a career question is indicated, a strong working relationship or business partnership will started; from the emotional and mental bonds, great things will be produced.  When a friendship is indicated, it will be a strong relationship filled with warmth and fun.  With the perfect balance the Two of Cups provides, every type of relationship will benefit and prosper.

Reversed:  Emotional hardships and imbalance are suggested with the Two of Cups reversed.  It is a time when it seems hard, if not impossible, to understand where others are coming from.  Arguements go around in circles and it may feel like the current situation will never get resolved.  

Often, the best thing you can do is to just take a break; give yourself and others time to calm down and then reassess the situation.  It's important to take things slowly and not do anything too rash.  While it may seem hopeless, all is not lost.  There is no need to think of abandoning a relationship completely.  All you need is a little time and understanding. 

Meanings for Tarot Keywords: love, harmony, romantic attachments, working partnerships, fun friendships, social butterfly, emotional battles, misunderstandings, separations, need for a break, dissolution, acting rashly, look for common ground

Three of Cups

Upright: Celebrations and happy events are all part of the Three of Cups.  Weddings, house-warmings, anniversaries, birthdays, promotions, christenings - they are all part of the joy that comes with this card.  

Suddenly, there will be many reasons to enjoy family and friends, having good food and wonderful conversation. Sometimes this social whirlwind may seem a little much but it's best to relax and smile, enjoying yourself.  It's not often there is so much to celebrate.

Reversed: Over-the-top indulgence is the key phrase for the Three of Cups.  It's one thing to enjoy yourself, but you're having a hard time doing anything else.  This can also speak of financial over-spending, allowing your joy to blind you to the balance in your bank account.  Take a break from the social scene to regroup and get some much needed sleep.  

Meanings for Tarot Cards Keywords: celebration, parties, social events, weddings, babies, family gatherings, over-indulgence, over-spending, getting wrapped up in a social whirl, lack of sleep, socialite lifestyle, forgetting about responsibilities, need for rest and quiet relaxation

Four of Cups

Upright:  The Four of Cups speaks of emotional reassessment and dissatisfaction.  Things and people that pleased you before don't anymore and you're uncertain what to do about it.  Troubled by boredom, you're in need of a change - you just don't feel like doing it right now.  

Think of small things you can do to shake things up - how about a small vacation - and be open to new interests and friends.  Just because you were disappointed in the past, doesn't mean that love has to hurt.  What is life without risk?

Reversed:  The Four of Cups reversed often represents someone who cannot be alone.  Needing the reassurance of people around them, they create a frantic social schedule that allows no time for pleasure, only distraction.  

Sometimes this card appears when you are needing change at this point in your career.  It could be that a project that once gave you much pride and pleasure leaves you feeling empty.    

Meanings for Tarot Cards Keywords:  emotional boredom, stuck in a rut, depression, need for new interests, short holiday, fear of love, emotional scars, fear of being alone, new challenges, training for a new career, new hobby 

Five of Cups

Upright:  When the Five of Cups appears in a reading, it is a sign that we're looking at what we don't have rather than what we do.  One of our deepest held beliefs was shattered and we were mourning its loss.  Now is the time to suck it up and get over it!  We need to look at what remains and decide what role it can play in our lives.  

Often appearing when a relationship is challenged, it is important to use the Five of Cups to reassess what is left.  Perhaps a vow has been broken or our partner has been emotionally distant - can we work with what remains to heal?  In order to decide, it is time to move beyond sadness into contemplation.

Reversed:  The Five of Cups reversed often signals that an emotional reunion is on the horizon.  A friend or lover may suddenly reappear, giving you the chance to possibly rebuilt your relationship.  With the new knowledge and experiences you have, it could become even stronger the second time.  The emotional hurt experienced leaves you cautious and better able to decide whether a second chance is worth the risk.

Meanings for Tarot Cards Keywords: loss, destruction of ideals, broken dreams, old wounds, unaware why things went wrong, emotional loneliness, restrained hope, new chances, rebuilding old relationship, emotional wisdom

Six of Cups

Upright:  Nostalgic memories play a strong role with the Six of Cups.  Your emotional past, old connections, ex-lovers, old friends - all of these may be resurfacing to influence your future.  

In some cases, the return may be to carry on where they left off; reconnecting with a lover, for instance.  Other times, you might revisit your past to understand yourself better and learn what you need for the future.

Reversed:  Living in the past is no way to enjoy the present or embrace the future.  When the Six of Cups is reversed, you hold your past up to block your future.  Remember that our memories of what happened are selective.  Usually only the prettiest thoughts of the past remain.  

We can also use our past to prove our lack of worth.  Perhaps our family or lover was non supportive - in this case, these memories and the doubts they create belong firmly behind us.  A fresh start begins with realizing who we currently are, and not buying into what people think we should be.

Meanings for Tarot Cards Keywords: happy memories, nostalgia, old relationships, returning to the past to understand the future, rewards for past efforts, return of past lovers and friends, stuck in the past, refusal to move, fear of future, self-doubt, blame of past, requiring a fresh start 

Seven of Cups

Upright:  When the Seven of Cups appears, it seems like you have many wonderful possibilities in your life.  Now is not the time to act or try to pin them down.  What you are seeing are beautiful illusions that need time and effort to become more concrete (or merely disappear).  

Sometimes, the excitement of these choices can divide your energy and commitment - after all, why choose one when you can try to have them all.  Without that commitment and choice, it's hard for anything to pan out.  Whether  for relationship or career choices, look at all the options and wait a little longer.  

Reversed:  A dreamy and hazy fantasy world exists within the Seven of Cups reversed.  Reality is something you don't want to connect with - living in your dreams or clouding your thoughts with drugs or alcohol is much nicer.  

You may be deceiving yourself with your relationships and need to search for reality rather than deluding yourself.  Sometimes what is real is not as pleasant as your fantasies, but reality is what grounds you.

Meanings for Tarot Cards Keywords: choices, illusions, opportunity, fairy gold, wait and see, emotional choices,  deceptions, seeing only what you want to see, losing touch with reality, drugs, alcohol, self-creating fantasies 

Eight of Cups

Upright: With the Eight of Cups, there is the sense of abandoning an emotional relationship.  It may be that this relationship has not brought you the happiness you thought it would.  It can also indicate a relationship that has a great deal of emotional pain connected to it - you may have tried to resolve things in other ways but now your best option is to leave.  

This leaves you questioning yourself and searching for greater meaning.  While this may take place with a physical journey, you'll likely discover what you need inside yourself.

Reversed: When the Eight of Cups is reversed, you have entered a depressing period of emotional confusion where fantasy and reality have blurred.  Desperate from emotional wounds, you have shut yourself off from the people around you and are suffering from emotional exhaustion.  

At the core of this is your need for perfection, in yourself and in others.  Reach out for help to move beyond this point.

Meanings for Tarot Cards Keywords: abandoning relationships, moving away emotionally, travel, lack of substance, futile success, rejection, search for meaning, unsettled, depression, emotional confusion, exhaustion, lack of energy, perfectionism

Nine of Cups

Upright: Happy, happy, joy, joy!  When you have the Nine of Cups, you are in a place of contentment, where love, ideas, creativity and friendship flow quickly and easily.  

There is a blissful quality to this card, where you know the value of all the work that went into arriving here; it helps you appreciate it all the more.  All the emotional challenges that have irritated you so far, will suddenly resolve themselves.  Relaxed and happy, you are open to all the new possibilities arriving now.  Enjoy!

Reversed:  When the Nine of Cups is reversed, you are in danger of forgetting where you came from and taking your current happiness for granted.  

With established relationships, there is always work that needs to take place to make sure both parties are feeling happy and respected.  With all matters, if you ignore the behind-the-scenes maintenance, you are at risk of losing everything that you've worked so hard to create.

Meanings for Tarot Cards Keywords: happiness, fulfillment, well-being, joy, emotional ease, creative bounty, harmonious relationships, lazy, careless, smug, taking things for granted, selfishness, ignoring work, no maintenance, loss

Ten of Cups

Upright: The Ten of Cups is the pinnacle of happiness for it is the point where dreams can come true.  Established relationships will only continue to grow and develop and new relationships are easy and filled with harmony.  

The self-love and respect developed spreads outward, affecting all you love with your joy.  It is the card where wishes are granted but this is not just about luck.  There was work, developing a stronger bond with yourself, that has lead to this point.  Congratulations!

Reversed:  when the Ten of Cups is reversed, you may feel that you are on the brink of losing what is most important to you.  Homes might be sold, children and friends move away, lovers become distant.  

These emotional disruptions affect you even more right now because they seem enough to break your heart.  All the more important to speak from your soul and express the deep feelings you may have been hiding.  

Leave petty quarrels and misunderstandings behind you and try to find common ground.  True love knows no distance.

Meanings for Tarot Cards Keywords: abundant joy, lasting happiness, blossoming friendships, lasting love affairs, happy homes, success in every area of your life, dreams come true, quarrels, disagreements, fear of losing what you love, moving, loss of friendship, emotional distance

Page of Cups

Upright:  The Page of Cups can refer to younger people with big heart.  Usually gentle and very loving, imagination and creativity are a big part of their life.  Sometimes this sensitivity can interfere with emotional stability, leading to a lot of fears and anxiety.

Reversed:  With this Tarot card reversed, the Page of Cups can refer to someone drowning in unreality.  Dreams and nightmares can cloud even the day and intuitive impulses seem fearful and strange.  

Meaning of each Tarot Card Keywords:  gentle, imagination, sensitive, loving, fears and difficulties, awareness and emotion, dreams and education, opening psychic, pay attention, unreality and lack of grounding, suffering from bad dreams, strange intuitions.

Knight of Cups

Upright:  The Knight of Cups is a loving and creative symbol that is sometimes connected to the knights of King Arthur's court.  Romantic and passionate, the Knight of Cups is a great believer in ideals and dreams.  

Sometimes indicating that a new romantic relationship is coming, what you will experience now is the idealized version - reality and problems have yet to intrude.  

Reversed:  With the Knight of Cups reversed, the promise and artistic vision is clouded by emotional issues as well as a lack of motivation.  

He likes to receive advice - it makes him feel like he is doing something - but rarely will follow through and take it.  He may be lost in his head, finding that his fantasies are better than reality.

Meaning of each Tarot Card Keywords:  loving dreamer, creative, playful, idealistic, arrival of romance, lack of reality, spiritual person, talented but without follow through, lazy, sleep through life, read rather than act, new creative endeavours, classes for artistic or spiritual pursuits, false relationships, drug dealers.

King of Cups

Upright:  The deeply emotional and creative King of Cups is the most feminine of all the Kings.  Regardless of career area, he is one of a kind and tends to be ruled by hunches rather than logic.  He can have an engaging personality but his intensity can make others uncomfortable (eg.= Tom Cruise).

When he has been slighted or insulted he never forgets and can be vengeful.  His emotional openness can lead him to be exceptionally kind but also incredibly moody - it's a double edged sword.  The King of Cups is never dull!

Reversed:  When this Tarot card is reversed, the King of Cups is transformed into someone who can't or won't deal with reality; drugs, alcohol and fantasies are used to forget.  Unable to fully express his feelings, he may go through life convinced that no-one can really understand or accept him.   

While the King of Cups reversed can indicate a man who is unfaithful in love, he generally will also be someone who can't decide which partner he wants to be with.  Emotionally deep, there is the possibility that love will drown all parties.  

Meaning of each Tarot Card Keywords: charismatic, charming, emotional, creative, intuitive, successful, moody, difficult to be around, unfaithful, anxious or depressed, hiding from reality, addiction, affairs, emotional overwhelmed, cultural activities, creative businesses, spiritual activities, secret societies

Queen of Cups

Upright:  Feminine and creative, the Queen of Cups is artistic and incredibly intuitive.  Talented with a great deal of potential, she tends to work less than her potential; her laziness and lack of self-belief influence this.

The Queen of Cups loves deeply and with a great deal of perspective, but with a tendency to put her partner first.  Soft hearted, she can be very emotional and likes to nurture children and animals.  She can't bear to see anyone or anything in distress and will do anything in her power to right wrongs.  Sometimes her concern for others can make her forget her own obligations and commitments.

Reversed:  When the Queen of Cups is reversed, her moods become quick changing and her personality is overwhelmed by her emotions.  The intensity of her mood affect everyone around her and she sometimes uses them to manipulate others.  

Another meaning for the Queen of Cups reversed is a woman who has long lasting emotional wounds, their pain affecting other aspects of her life.  When someone is trapped in this part of the Queen of Cups, her talents are rarely used.  She is aware of them but lacks the esteem and hope to use them.

Meaning of Each Tarot Card Keyword:  creative endeavours, fantasy and creation, emotional and family therapy, repression emotions, nervous breakdowns, feminine, artistic, religious, intuition, lacking in confidence, sympathetic, love of animals and children, overly emotional, manipulative, emotional pain, hidden talents.

Leave the Cups and Return to the Meaning of Each Tarot Card

Return to

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you It's In The Cards: A Reading Tarot E-Zine.

September 2024 Contest!

Discover Tarot Cards will be giving away a tarot card bag.

Pick your fav design and store your cards in style!  The contest ends on September 30th, 2024

Sign up below for your chance to win!

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you It's In The Cards: A Reading Tarot E-Zine.