Water; Feelings; Emotions: Intuition
ace of cups
This the infinite potential of feelings; a well spring of emotion. People tend to think the Ace of Cups always means love, but truly ALL emotions flow, not just the positive ones. This is why this suite is represented by cups; you don't know what's in a cup until you drink it. To be effective, emotions have to get inside you. Feelings are made to be felt.
two of cups
Two of Cups: This is Venus (Empress) in Cancer (The Chariot). A man & a woman stand together; each have a cup. At first glance first glance this looks sweet; like an even exchange of love. Yet a closer analysis shows the woman is giving her cup away with both hands; even though her cup is full of the infinite potential of love, she gives it all away & keeps none for herself. The man is reaching to take her cup but makes no move to give her his own. His right foot is stepping back which indicates his actions & investments will retreat even as his requests advance. What looks at first like reciprocity may turn into saying one thing & doing another.
Real life application: A woman meets a man who subconsciously reminds her so much of her father; she immediately desires to submit to & be approved of by him without understanding why. She interprets her fixation as love, decides he must be the one. Her father was often absent (either emotionally or physically) for long periods of time, and as a child she resolved within herself to be as perfect as possible so he would remain present. This pattern has carried into her adult relationships; she gives everything & expects nothing, because she believes total self-obliteration is a prerequisite for love. This requires self-deception as well, because if she were honest with herself she would admit she deserved better than what her father gave, & she deserves better than what she has accepted from the men in her life. So to keep from being angry with her father, herself, her choices & her partners, she looks for people to pour her emotions into, so she doesn't have to feel them. Her "head over heels" relationships are distractions from internalized rage, confusion, disappointment, self loathing & grief.
three of cups
Three of Cups: This is Mercury (the Magician) in Cancer (The Chariot). Three people raise their cups in celebration; they can be seen as three separate people intertwined or as one person in three states of being; spirit (white), soul (red) & ego (yellow). Whether these are one or many, the raised cups show how feelings have become the topmost priority; the way in which, no matter what our spirit, soul & ego says, no matter what our friends & family says, how we feel becomes the only thing that matters, the only thing that is real. Except people are solid but feelings are fluid; the only thing for certain here is that while it all feels good for the moment, feelings are bound to change.
Real Life Application: You're in a brand new relationship with someone who seems perfect & because of your excitement things between you & this person are moving kind of fast. Things are passionate & fun; your self esteem soars because you feel attractive& irresistible. Your spiritual principles (that your friends and family- although happy for your happiness- can't help but mention) suggest that you should slow down, get to know each other better; but secretly you fear that if you interrupt the flow because of silly doubts & caution, your father, oops I mean boyfriend, will vanish, leaving you alone & hating yourself again. So you silence all internal & external voices of dissent & press forward. Because, FEELINGS.
four of cups
Four of Cups: This is the Moon (High Priestess) in Cancer (The Chariot). If we think of the High Priestess as the knower & keeper of cycles & the Chariot as forward movement through emotional blocks, then we understand this person chilling under the coconut tree is someone who knows where this is going & doesn't want to go. He's been there before. The three cups in the foreground are the feelings he put above everything; his intuition reminds him of all the other times he did the same damn thing & wound up in the same damn place. He wants to do something different but the chance has already passed. He can't go back but now that he recognizes where he is, he doesn't want to go forward. He's stuck.
Real Life Application: A man raised by a single mother & various stepfather figures promises himself that when he grows up, he's going to get married & be a great father, and always live in the house with his kids. When he is 21, he meets a beautiful young woman with small child. He falls in love with both of them. Things move very quickly; he has a few initial doubts but he loves her son right away & doesn't want to disappoint him. They get married & the woman gets pregnant. After a few years, the couple realizes they aren't as compatible as they thought. The woman files for divorce & begins dating other me. Soon, the man's children are having the exact experience he didn't want them to have. He can't go back but to continue forward would break his heart. Therefore he exists in a subconscious denial of reality.
five of cups
Five of Cups: This is Mars (The Tower) in Scorpio (Death). A person stands literally cloaked in negative emotion, unable to reveal who they truly are underneath layers of painful experiences. This person is fixated on the three spilled cups, the cycles of putting feelings above everything despite caution, intuition, spiritual discernment & logical advice. Unable to pause time in the four of cups, this person's failures are on display for the world to see. And yet when this person gathers the strength to turn around, they will still be faced with the two of cups: the opportunity to come together with someone new & discover if they've learned enough to do a new thing or naw.
Real Life Application: You've cheated in every relationship you've had. Your behavior has cost you everything- marriages, children, friends, money, property; for some reason, temptation always gets the best of you. You swear off relationships & get determined to focus on yourself. An attractive single neighbor moves in, & you see each other often in passing. You begin to date, taking things slow. One day your ex surprises you, saying they've forgiven you & asking to get back together. To say no would hurt your ex, to say yes would hurt your neighbor, to date them both would be putting yourself right back in a toxic cycle.
six of cups
Six of cups: This is the Sun in Scorpio (Death). Notice the stark contrast between this & the five of cups. There is innocence, life, flowering, growth, healing, sharing. A total transformation. A recognition of being the rose that grew from concrete, the feeling of being blessed despite it all. There is a blooming of new, pure emotions, which can only come with time. Only once we grow into more mature versions of ourselves, can we go back & offer compassion, understanding, forgiveness & love to the mistakes & heartbreak of our past. This takes perspective, which can only come with distance. This is also a time of childlike innocence & vulnerability because only the best memories have survived the test of time. The past becomes idealized, highlighted with a golden glow. We long to return to a reality that never existed; in this state we would do well to remember that these moments are only perfect because they are over. Like a sunset, glorious...and gone.
Real life application: A woman, coming out of a difficult divorce, looks up an ex on Facebook. He is also recently divorced, & they begin to reminisce over old times. They haven't seen each other in years; they can't even remember why they stopped seeing each other in the first place. Whatever the reason for separation seems insignificant compared to the things they've lived in the meantime. This reunion feels like a breath of fresh air, & reminds them of a more innocent, simpler time.Where this relationship goes depends on both of their willingness to face reality; either they will coddle the fantasy by holding each other to outdated expectations, or they will face reality & become transparent about their fears, insecurities & shadow selves. Either way, paradise will be lost; but through maturity & hard work, they can make reality better than the fantasy. It won't be perfect, but it will be REAL.
seven of cups
Seven of Cups: This is Venus (Empress) in Scorpio (Death). This is where the Empress (the creative, expressive principle within us) deals with the shadow self. She's trying to understand why she manifests what she fears. Swiss psychologist Carl Jung explains that in order to be a solid person of substance, you must cast a shadow. When we don't face our dark sides, we project them into our relationships, & we are then forced to face our own negative traits over and over again through our interactions with others. In this way, an unexamined life can feel like a bad dream, a nightmare, where everything is exaggerated, distorted, repeated & never resolved. In the seven of cups, the Empress finds the courage to examine the root of all her emotions, triggers, impulses, memories, urges, etc., in order to unravel the mystery of her true self. This work can be messy, scary, dark & depressing, but its necessary to come to terms with the past & move on.
Real Life Application: No matter what you do, no matter where you go, no matter how many books you read on healthy relationships, you repeatedly find yourself in toxic unions with similar partners: emotionally unavailable, unfaithful, verbally abusive & financially exploitative. Finally you begin to suspect something is wrong with you, that you've been getting what you deserve. You lose faith in your ability to choose a healthy mate & give up on relationships altogether. Out of loneliness, you begin talk therapy. Your therapist helps you see that each of your relationships mimicked the unhealthy dynamic you witnessed between your parents growing up. You come to realize that you were choosing relationships that most closely fit your unconscious, dysfunctional model of love. You leave therapy empowered; you know that YOU are not broken, however your definition of love IS broken. You begin the slow process of reeducation regarding healthy relationships, starting with the way you love & care for yourself.
eight of cups
Eight of Cups: This is Saturn (World) in Pisces (Moon). If we think of the Moon as a card full of mystery & fear, & we think of the World as....the World...then we see a person who has had several experiences that caused them to fear life in general. This person likely felt a great amount of instability in place of a solid foundation, since its difficult to become rooted & grow in situations that are chronically turbulent, fearful & uncomfortable. However the person in this card is walking away from all those old cups full of fear, pain & misery. They don't know what the future holds, but they now understand that life can be better than what it has been. They are determined to seek a more fulfilling, stable experience, even if the journey to better is long & arduous. Notice the gap in the top row of cups; there is a certain emotion (happiness? peace?) this person knows exists but has never felt. They are determined to find it.
Real life application: You've lived in the same city all your life. Everything is "fine" you suppose, but still you experience a growing sense of dissatisfaction. For some reason you want to move. You need a change. You try to express your feelings to friends & family but they all say in subtle- and not so subtle ways that you are crazy to complain. You soothe your wanderlust by doing new things around your hometown, but no one shares your excitement. When you express joy to those closest to you, you leave the conversations feeling deflated. One day you come across a travelling show on tv, all about people living extraordinary, unconventional lives as a result of making radical, unpopular choices.They explain similar experiences as you: vague dissatisfaction, discussions with family & friends, zero support. You realize no one is going to give you permission to live your own life. You resolve to do it anyway.
nine of cups
Nine of Cups: This is Venus (the Empress) in Pisces (the Moon). This person looks super self satisfied, huh? If we see the Empress as the creative principle within us, & the Moon as a long road through our inner mysteries, we see this person is happy because they finally learned to create the experiences they never knew they always wanted, which results in positive emotion they never knew they could feel. This person is surprised & delighted. They had to face their own depths & move through inner fears & resistance for the emotional reward on the other side. For the first time, this person is proud of their own self.
Real Life Application: You've been at the same job for years & you're great at what you do but there's no room for growth. You have feelings of resentment toward your superiors because they often get credit for your ideas. One day you quit your job, resolved to start your own company. You've been saving, you have some freelance work lined up; still, people tell you it's a bad idea. You work your butt off but see little success; you begin to doubt your self. Right when you're down to your last money, you land a huge client that pays enough to replenish much of your savings. When you deposit the check you realize this is the first (but not the last!) time you've literally made your own money. You can't stop smiling.
ten of cups
Ten of Cups: This is Mars ( The Tower) in Pisces ( the Moon). If we think of The Tower as raw power & the Moon as our emotional depths, then the ten of cups is the power of love. We can't experience the true power of love until we obliterate the expectations & restrictions of others by being completely faithful to our individual paths. This is because love can only be shared; meaning you must already have it. You must be a self full of love, full of SELF love, powerful & confident enough to always do what's best for YOU, living YOUR best life & no one else's. What looks like a happy family in the card is really a unified self: one person harmoniously balanced between their inner masculine, feminine, childhood & adult selves: whole.
Real Life Application: As a child, you always wanted a house with a window seat, where you could read & daydream. But you realized those were for rich people. Years later, after surviving career failures, family deaths, marriage woes, health scares- you settle down for a cup of tea in the home you bought with the money you made from the book you wrote about surviving your terrible life- & you look down & realize you are in fact sitting in a window seat in your kitchen. Your heart gives off a little firework at the fact that somehow, down to the detail, your dreams came true.