Tarot suits - the Cups

The suit of Cups is one of the four suits that make up the Minor Arcana of the Tarot Cards. Often thought of as the second suit of the Minor Arcana, the Cups are strongly associated with ideas and emotions that are currently in a state of limbo; these are thoughts and feelings that exist on a psychic level, but have not yet been made physically manifest.

The Overflowing Cup

Occasionally referred to as the suit of Chalices, the Cups are strongly associated with the element of water and the astrological signs of Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. In astrology, water is often used to symbolise the inner thoughts and emotions that an individual may hold back from the rest of the world. In the Tarot, this is also true: the Cups symbolise energies that have not yet been released and are, perhaps, still in their embryonic states.

For interpreters, the Cups can often be the most difficult to divine. Until their relevance can be firmly identified with the person seeking guidance, the energies they represent are formless and free-flowing. The clues for interpreters lie within the individual cards. The cup represents energy in stasis; the card represents the energy that is being held within.


The Ace of Cups: This card typically represents the beginning of an emotional journey and is often drawn by those about to enter into a new relationship, whether this is romantic or the arrival of someone new into a person’s life, such as in the event of a birth.

The Four of Cups: Often represented by the picture of a young man sitting under a tree, this card symbolises dissatisfaction and stagnancy. Those who draw this card are likely to be reaching the point in their lives where they are feeling as though ‘something is missing’ or frustrated, but without knowing why.

The Nine of Cups: Depicting a scene of satisfaction, this card is often referred to as the ‘wish card’. While the Tarot card reading is unable to grant wishes, it symbolises the time in someone’s life where they have achieved enough serenity and harmony to be able to realise their dreams.

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