What Do the Cup Cards Mean?

Cup Cards
Are you seeing Cups in your Tarot spread?. Rider Waite cards by US Gaming Systems

The Tarot suit of Cups is typically associated with the element of water–after all, water goes in a cup–and is a suit that often indicates emotion and feelings, as well as our relationships with others. If you see a lot of Cups in a reading, it can mean that the querent is seeking solutions to questions related to love, family matters, or other interpersonal relationships. Let's take a look at what the individual Cup cards mean when they appear right side up or in reverse. 

01
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Ace of Cups

Ace of Cups
The Ace of Cups represents new beginnings. Rider Waite cards by US Gaming Systems

Ace of Cups

The Ace, or One of Cups is–like all Aces and Ones–a sign of a new beginning. Because Cups are associated with relationships and abundance, this card typically indicates a new love interest. Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean romantic love; it can mean the beginnings of a new friendship or other relationship. The Ace of Cups is often associated with spiritual insight and good fortune as well, and in many interpretations shows that a miracle or some sort of blessing is taking place. What do you have to look forward to?

Ace of Cups, Reversed

When the Ace of Cups is reversed, that happy insight is twisted to show disappointment or sadness. However, this may not be disappointment or sadness on the part of the querent. Sometimes, it indicates that we need to be cautious of the feelings of others. Have you said something hurtful to someone you care about?

02
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Two of Cups

Two of Cups
The Two of Cups encourages us to develop existing relationships. Rider Waite cards by US Gaming Systems

Two of Cups

When the Two of Cups appears, it indicates development of an existing relationship–soul mates, close friends, etc. It may be even be a reference to a relationship that you don’t know is significant–who in your life would you like to know better? Focus on these relationships that you already have and work on strengthening and enhancing them. In other words, spend more time on the relationships you already have, rather than worrying about forming new ones.

Two of Cups, Reversed

Again, the Cups suit focuses on relationships, only this time the Two of Cups is reversed, which shows that some sort of disagreement has caused a rift–time to mend some fences! Usually it’s a petty sort of thing that has driven a wedge between people, so take a look at who you might be squabbling with. Be the bigger person, and offer the olive branch of peace.

03
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Three of Cups

Three of Cups
The Three of Cups reminds us to celebrate our relationships and count our blessings. Rider Waite cards by US Gaming Systems

Three of Cups

This is the card you can think of as the “party card.” It shows celebration and rejoicing, and happy events like births or weddings. Don’t know anyone who’s getting married or having babies? Don’t worry–it may still apply. Think of your family life, and how much you enjoy being around the people with whom you have relationships. Do you get together every Sunday afternoon for a formal dinner at Grandma’s? How about the weekly Saturday movie club with your best girlfriends?

Three of Cups, Reversed

When your Three of Cups shows up reversed, it’s just the opposite of the above meaning. Discord and disharmony are at play here, not through any maliciousness, but usually because of personality conflicts. Got a big family gathering coming up? Then leave your baggage at home, and don't let bad feelings ruin the day for yourself or anyone else.

04
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Four of Cups

Four of Cups
The Four of Cups reminds us to look at the balance of a relationship. Rider Waite cards by US Gaming Systems

Four of Cups

A new friendship is being formed. This card may also mean that there are strings attached to a relationship, so it’s important to find out what's expected of you before allowing the relationship to go further. Are you giving more than you’re taking, or vice versa? Remember that a relationship should benefit both parties mutually. Make sure that whoever you’re hanging around with is in your life because you really like each other, not because one of you hopes to gain something.

Four of Cups, Reversed

This card often indicates a relationship that isn't as good now as it once seemed to be, or one that has run its course. Sometimes, we outgrow relationships. We find that we no longer have anything in common with the person, or that our opinions have changed about things we used to agree on. If this card comes up and it’s reversed, it’s time to do some soul-searching, and think about whether or not you need to end a relationship that neither party is finding beneficial.

05
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Five of Cups

Five of Cups
A Five of Cups often indicates turmoil. Rider Waite cards by US Gaming Systems

Five of Cups

When the Five of Cups appears, this is typically indicative of some sort of turmoil. Because the Cups suit concerns relationships, the Five often means that emotional sacrifices will need to be made in your relationship. It can indicate a need for compromise, as well–and that’s not always a negative thing. Sometimes we have to give a little bit in the interests of keeping the piece. The Five sometimes hints towards indecision or disillusionment in a relationship; specifically, it can mean someone who is torn between two loves.

Five of Cups, Reversed

When the Five of Cups appears in reverse, it still indicates that a sacrifice will be made, but this time it’s of a less emotional nature. Often, this means that you’re giving up something–or someone–you weren’t really that attached to in the first place.

06
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Six of Cups

Six of Cups
A Six of Cups may indicate influences from the past. Rider Waite cards by US Gaming Systems

Six of Cups

A Six of Cups has to do with memories of the past. When this card appears, it indicates that incidents that have already taken place are significantly impacting the present and even the future. Sometimes these events are connected to childhood, or at the very least, several years ago. Regardless, they typically show that there’s an influence from the past which is directly affecting you today, either positively or negatively. This card can also hint at unexpected blessings, such as a gift from an unknown admirer, or good news out of the blue.

Six of Cups, Reversed

When the Six appears in reverse, the meaning concerns memories from the recent past. It can also mean that a person who is no longer in your life still maintains influence over you–and this can be for the good or the bad, depending on who the individual was, and what your relationship with them was. In many cases, it indicates a refusal to let go of baggage and outdated emotions.

07
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Seven of Cups

Seven of Cups
The Seven of Cups is all about opportunities, both realized and missed. Rider Waite cards by US Gaming Systems

Seven of Cups

The Seven of Cups is about abundance, so when it appears, it indicates that opportunities abound, but it’s important to make sure your decisions are based on the big picture, rather than what looks good short term. Something you bring into your life on impulse won’t be as beneficial to you as something that you’ve chosen with some careful planning and forethought. Think about the long-ranging consequences of any decisions you may be making, and react accordingly. What looks good now might not be good for you later on. In some interpretations the Seven may reference someone whose success is more perceived than actual, or someone whose motivations are purely selfish.

Seven of Cups, Reversed

Emotionally, you may be a little despondent right now–nothing is interesting. Fortunately, this is a passing phase. Keep your chin up, and develop the resolve and determination to turn things back around. If you see a hint of success on the horizon, recognize the opportunity–and then take it and run with it!

08
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Eight of Cups

Eight of Cups
The Eight of Cups indicates a need to move forward from things that hold us back. Rider Waite cards by US Gaming Systems

Eight of Cups

Notice the waning moon on the top of this card? It means that relationships that were once taken for granted have now run their course. It may be time to just accept that things have ended, and move on. This card often represents feelings of disappointment–usually in a relationship, but sometimes in other aspects of life–and a need to move on. Sometimes when this card appears, it’s indicative of someone who’s aimlessly wandering and seeking, but never quite manages to settle in one place for long.

Eight of Cups, Reversed

A reversed Eight of Cups is a very positive thing, because its divinatory meaning is one of re-evaluation and reinvention–of yourself, your relationships, and your past. Shed your old baggage, welcome new joys and blessings into your life, and move away from all the things that have been holding you back. Be cautious, though. Sometimes a reversed Eight of Cups indicates someone who is focusing so much on material abundance that they lose sight of the spiritual and emotional blessings in their life.

09
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Nine of Cups

Nine of Cups
The Nine of Cups represents abundance and wishes. Rider Waite cards by US Gaming Systems

Nine of Cups

In many divinatory traditions, the Nine of Cups is known as a “wish card.” As in, if this card comes up, the querent may just get his or her wish. It’s a card of both emotional abundance and material success. Notice on the image of the card the man with a fairly satisfied look on his face, surrounded by cups; we can assume those are cups full of bounty, and that he’s gotten exactly what he wants out of life. If this card comes up, it usually means that things are going well and you are exactly where you need to be.

Nine of Cups, Reversed

A reversed Nine of Cups is a cautionary card. It reminds us not to get too complacent–you may be taking your relationships and family for granted, and that can turn around and cause damage later on. While the upright Nine can indicate abundance, a reversed Nine may show someone who is overindulgent in pleasures such as food or drink. Don’t overdo yourself; just because something wonderful is there doesn’t mean you have to wallow in it.

10
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Ten of Cups

Ten of Cups
The Ten of Cups can symbolize happiness and joyful outcomes. Rider Waite cards by US Gaming Systems

Ten of Cups

In many traditions, the Ten of Cups is a sort of “happily ever after” card. It’s about long-term relationships flourishing and growing, contentment and peacemaking. In some cases, it refers to a fresh start in your home. This could be a new home, or just a brand new beginning of some sort. Notice the imagery in the card. A couple and their happy children stand looking at their home while a rainbow of cups lingers overhead. It’s all about happiness, dreams coming true, and long-term joy.

Ten of Cups, Reversed

Stress in your domestic life is coming, and it may relate to a disruption at home. This will work itself out, but you'll need to be patient, and do a little compromising now and then. It may indicate a betrayal from an unexpected source as well. Be wary of those who would take advantage of you at your most vulnerable.

11
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Page of Cups

Page of Cups
The Page of Cups is considered a messenger card -- what is someone trying to tell you?. Rider Waite cards by US Gaming Systems

Page of Cups

Like all Pages, the Page of Cups is a messenger card. It usually means someone is trying to get your attention–or maybe even your love! It may point towards someone who is a thoughtful and passionate young person–or someone who is young at heart. Often, this individual is someone who is willing to do things on behalf of the querent, for a variety of reasons. In cases where the Page doesn’t refer to a person, it can also mean a message regarding a happy family-related event–births, weddings, engagements, or gatherings.

Page of Cups, Reversed

Think of the reversed Page as the upright Page’s moody twin brother. While it may indicate someone–perhaps a young person–is trying to get you to notice them, their methods may not always reflect the best choices. This card can indicate stagnation, deception and obstacles. It can also mean that unpleasant news is coming, or that someone who is doing things for you may have ulterior motives.

12
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Knight of Cups

Knight of Cups
The Knight of Cups is chivalrous, but not warlike. Rider Waite cards by US Gaming Systems

Knight of Cups

Remember, Cup cards are about relationships. The Knight is honorable but not warlike; he may be someone who knows how to stand his ground but will not deliberately pick a fight. If the Knight isn’t referring to a person, he may instead represent a new passion, such as artistic creativity. It may also indicate a new lover.

Knight of Cups, Reversed

In reverse, the Knight warns us to watch out for people who want attention from you in order to feel validated. Sometimes people come into our lives deliberately, and these are the ones the Knight is warning you of–is there someone who has suddenly shown up and made demands of you? Watch out for fraud and deception–any business investments that you’re looking at should be seriously investigated before you commit to anything. Chances are good that someone has their own best interests, not yours, at heart.

13
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Queen of Cups

Queen of Cups
A Queen of Cups shows honesty and loyalty. Rider Waite cards by US Gaming Systems

Queen of Cups

The Queen of Cups, like other court cards, may represent a person or a concept, depending on the situation. In many readings, the Queen signifies a captivating, sensual and understanding woman. Others are drawn to her because she is loyal, secure and honest. She may indicate someone who is–or hopes to be–a nurturing wife and mother. In other cases, the Queen of Cups isn’t necessarily a woman, but any person who has a sense of vision and kindness. Don’t mistake this kindness for weakness, though, the Queen of Cups is as sturdy as they get.

Queen of Cups, Reversed

When she appears in reverse, the Queen indicates someone–again, sometimes a woman but not always–who is plagued by insecurity and self-doubt. In extreme cases, it can be someone who is malicious and perverse, who uses the vulnerabilities of others to achieve personal gain. Watch out for the Queen of Cups when she’s reversed; she’s intelligent, but uses her own wisdom for selfish reasons.

14
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King of Cups

King of Cups
The King of Cups can indicate someone in a position of power. Rider Waite cards by US Gaming Systems

King of Cups

The King of Cups can often indicate a man who is social and outgoing, creative, loves to entertain others. He is skilled in many different disciplines, and may be a master of more than one. Typically, he’s someone who is secure and stable, and grounded in the home. If the King doesn’t represent a person, the card can also indicate a sense of generosity, a giving spirit, and the willingness–and ability–to take responsibility for one’s actions. This is often the card of artists, musicians, and spiritual seekers.

King of Cups, Reversed

Watch out for a reversed King of Cups; it can indicate a man with deep insecurities who may be drawn into toxic relationships, and may be prone to depression. Sometimes this is a person in a position of power, who has no problems at all with stepping over underlings to stay on the top. Be careful, because this person can be crafty and ruthless, and even abusive. Make sure he doesn’t take advantage of you, physically, financially, or emotionally.

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Your Citation
Wigington, Patti. "What Do the Cup Cards Mean?" ThoughtCo, Jan. 21, 2018, thoughtco.com/meaning-of-cup-cards-2562804. Wigington, Patti. (2018, January 21). What Do the Cup Cards Mean? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/meaning-of-cup-cards-2562804 Wigington, Patti. "What Do the Cup Cards Mean?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/meaning-of-cup-cards-2562804 (accessed May 26, 2018).