What a beautiful card for a spring day (at least, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere – those of you in the South can lift a cup to spring days yet to come)!
3 of Cups is a social, cheerful card saying, Celebrate! And find your best friends to celebrate with you.
You’ll remember, from Tarot . . . It’s Easier Than You Think, that 3s are expression and expansion, and Cups are emotions, relationships and creativity.
So how can you express your emotions? How can you expand your relationships? Your creativity?
Looking to the Crystal Tarot image, we’ve got the three Cups (or Chalices) enclosing an egg, symbol of fertility and creativity. This one is many layered and includes a design that makes me think of the beautiful pysanky from the Ukrainian Easter tradition. Floating above the stable triangle is the fluttering butterfly of transformation. We’ve no shortage of blooming flowers here, with lots of heart-based green and turquoise from the higher heart – that place where expression comes from the heart.
For Tarot 2: We’re Not in Kansas Anymore, let’s introduce 3 of Cups experiences to a couple of Court Cards. Start with the Knight of Cups. We’ve got the airy Knight stirring up the watery Cups in a situation of the same element. Remember, he keeps moving. As long as things are expansive, is he likely to stay? When we look at the stability of the 3, how is he likely to react? What happens when we’ve got too much water and it’s all being stirred up?
Bring the practical Page of Pentacles in. How do earth and water get along? Pretty neutral, aren’t they? But how long is this Page likely to stick around if the party just keeps going, particularly if it’s celebration for celebration’s sake? The Page may not have much impact on the situation, but the situation may not have much impact on the Page either.
If you were a Court Card, who would you be? And which Courts might best represent some of your friends? Now, which ones do you want to invite to the party?
Are you running out of patience and ready to be out creating and socializing? Have at it!
One of my favourites is his appearance as a white glamour puss on his proud black mount, from the Baroque Bohemian Cat deck. This Knight obviously loves the finer things in life. When he rides into town, it means you’d better put on the dog to have a chance with him. It’s nights at the theatre and five-star dining. The minute you want to run through the sprinkler in your undies or crash on the sofa, he’ll be back on his horse in search of his next peak experience.
Brian Williams’ Knight of Cups from his Renaissance Tarot seems more accessible, perhaps even more interested in being of service. He’s awfully placid atop his feisty and substantial steed. This Knight promises growth and healing (his green garments and the corner reference to the Archangel Raphael) if we drink from the cup he offers. But his horse has all the ferocity and bite of the transient and truncated sexual encounters (Scorpio’s sting is in there, after all – the astrological correspondence for Knight of Cups) that the Knight of Cups is famous for.
Finally, we have the Aleister Crowley- Frieda Harris Thoth Tarot (another Prince of Cups). Frankly, a whole lot more scary Scorpio and less hopeful romantic. His sights are still set firm on his desires (the serpent rising from the cup), but he wears and rides the eagle aspect of Scorpio (the “evolved” scorpion) and carries a lotus blossom. This Prince (Knight) may still tear through with romance, but he’s putting the transformative aspect right out front.
So, what kind of emotional mindset do you need to get on the horse – or eagle – with any of these Knights, even for a short ride? Can you visit the elite artistic heights with the Baroque Bohemian Cat? Are you seduced by the gentle healing promise of Williams’ Renaissance Knight, despite his high-spirited horse? Are you brave enough to join Crowley’s Knight for a transformative flight?
What about the transient romances in your own life? Have you been the “victim” of a Knight of Cups or two . . . or three or . . . ? Were you able to let go after the encounter to let it be healing? (Or did you, like many of us!, kick and scream in resistance to the ending?) Are you still lost in romantic fantasies of bygone desires and wishes?
Or have you been the Knight of Cups, highly creative and innovative, intimate with whomever you fancy? Commitment? Of course you’re committed: to love, to creativity, to beauty and truth. Are you guilty about your Knightly self or have you learnt transformative acceptance?
Be in touch with your desires this week and make a commitment to their source. Spontaneity and creativity are required in your ride . . . the scenery will change, after all. Above all . . .
Commit to the ride!
When the ride gets a little wild or confusing, a tarot session with a professional can help you find your course. And here‘s where you can find one.
Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere . . . that darkest time of the year, when the sun “stands still” for 3 days. In that stillness, if we choose, is an opportunity to pause and explore our depths, to go within our own deepest darkness. We’ll need those resources in the cold time before us. There is no more harvest to be had; we’ll have to draw on what we already possess to make it through till the bounty begins again in the spring.
How to explore? Our earth, our bodies, are slow with cold, buried under snow – and parkas. Our water is frozen, immobilized. All the better to examine our emotions! Our fire’s been tamed, brought indoors to keep us warm. The spirit’s close to the hearth. The air is crisp and clear, as quick and vivacious as ever. Our minds and thoughts have additional clarity now, seeing anew, reflecting on what we see of ourselves in the stillness, keeping our passions close to home.
It’s not a journey for the faint of heart, so tarot can be our guide into the depths and back out again. For this solar landmark, our Winter Solstice spread puts the now into the context of the full lunar year (there are 13 cards in this big spread, honouring each of the lunar months of the year). Let’s look at a spread that takes us into our collective depths. Throw your own personal spread the day of the Solstice, or the day before or after. We’ll use Barbara Moore & Franco Rivolli’s Silver Witchcraft Tarot.
What’s at our depths? IV The Emperor
Whew! Right at the beginning of our journey we’re discovering that what’s at the bottom isn’t so bad. The Emperor gives us sovereignty over our lives while we retain our connection to others. As the lambs and ram attest, he corresponds to Aries, the beginning of Spring. Here at the Solstice, we’re already hearkening to revivification. As a society, we’ll be confronting our rigid and ineffectual systems, with opportunities to give them new life and make them more inclusive.
How can we reach them? 4 of Chalices
It’s always good to know the vehicle that will take us where we want to go . . . no sense getting on the wrong bus. Our dreams will be a help this winter. Guided meditations that relax the body to let the mind travel are excellent carriers. Following your areas of boredom and dissatisfaction (looking toward a traditional meaning of the card) can also be fertile roads to explore. Even falling asleep on the job will lead us down to the bottom. In the bigger picture, that says we’re part of systems that are failing; if we do nothing, we’ll be looking at the foundations. Since we’re being pointed to Spring again, we can expect our journey to be a long-term process.
What do we want to bring out with us? XV The Devil
Here’s the first intimation that there’s some scary stuff down there in the deeps. We’ll encounter some of our own dead zones this winter, as individuals and as a society. What have we let die through neglect? What have we killed and buried, thinking we were done with it? We’ll actually benefit from unearthing our self-destructive side. Notice when you hear yourself, or someone else, saying things like “I’d like to kill that guy” or “They deserve to just be blown away.” It’s a difficult thing to hear, especially from ourselves or the ones we love. Consciousness of those moments is bringing the Devil out of the depths.
How can we use it? 5 of Pentacles
And here we have what to do with our own killing energies when we bring them up: we let them go. As the maiden and crone are doing, we shed our robes, the actions and habits that have brought us to where we are now, in preparation for immersing ourselves in the flowing waters of Spring. Our connection to the Tree of Life and the rabbit of endless fertility and creativity is strong. We don’t need our self-destructive habits, as individuals, or as a society.
The side of using self-destruction that we all fear speaks to war, environmental degradation, ethnic cleansing – the global traumas that are all too commonplace in our lives. How does the technological availability of reports on these issues serve the call to bring XV The Devil out of the depths?
What will be brought to light? XVIII
XVIII The Moon keeps secrets, creating illusions and confusion. The Moon brought to light will show our illusions in the harsh light of day. Remember, sometimes that’s a good thing: what we thought was a threatening monster was just a duffle bag with a hockey stick propped against it. Other times it’s a little more terrifying: we find the plans we’ve counted on don’t have the foundations we thought they did. Or someone finds the key to our closely guarded secrets and shares them out in the open. Come Spring (XVIII The Moon’s association with Pisces is another reference to spring), much less will be hidden and much more will be clear. Apparently, Wikileaks will be having a field day.
Look back to XV The Devil. How often do the destructive impulses you’ve encountered follow fear, confusion, or misunderstanding? How often do we think the solution to our problems is to kill something or someone?
What has been brought into balance? XVII The Star
In XVII The Star we have the masculine and feminine aspects of the Divine truly connected, with the spark of creation the product of that connection. The Star is a welcome beacon in the dark of night. We can find our way home from the light and position of the Star. I can’t help but think of the portion of Michelangelo’s ceiling of the Sistine Chapel where God and Adam touch fingers. The Star awakens our individual and collective Divine sparks, calling us as co-creators. If we’ve been stampeding ahead into inappropriate action without listening to our inner calling, we’ve been out of balance. If we’re in touch with our purpose but haven’t found the energy to act on what we feel, we’ve been out of balance. It’s very good news that we’ll individually be feeling and acting on our personal missions here on our shared planet. What might our community or national or global missions be as a group? It will be beautiful to see the results as our sense of purpose is restored to the people of Earth.
What will be left behind? 8 of Swords
Traditionally, 8 of Swords is the card of being stuck. Those days will be over for us. How amazing will it be to have long term problems finally moving toward solution?
What I’m aware of in Franco Rivolli’s image is the threads that have already been cut, but are still attached to the tree. Earlier, in the 5 of Pentacles, we saw those strong threads attaching our women to the Tree of Life in the midst of change and letting go. Here the impending storm is so frightening that geese are moving on rather than hunkering down, and people have been cutting their threads to escape.
If we’re no longer cutting our ties to life, we’re staying to engage and deal with the storm. Could we see a more proactive attitude from greater numbers in the coming year? Could we see the literal suicide numbers decline? What a beautiful thing that would be, especially for the families of those in the Armed Services, where the numbers are astonishingly high.
What choices and decisions are now possible? Knight of Chalices
How many people do you know who would love to follow their hearts, but feel unable to for a multitude of reasons? Are you one of them? The Knight of Chalices has connected his mind to his heart. He’s following his heart as he makes choices and decisions. What will be possible as we bring compassion and emotional connection back into our lives? I’ll join the Knight of Chalices in a toast to a world where we’re individually and collectively making choices from the depths of our hearts.
What do we welcome into our lives? XI Justice
Your reaction to XI Justice is dependent on your perception of your “guilt” level. XI Justice is all about accountability and truth. It will help us deal effectively with the confusion and deception of XVIII The Moon. If there’s an accountability price tag to XI Justice in your life, what it purchases will be considered a bargain (remember, we’re welcoming Justice, not dreading it). Who doesn’t hunger for justice? Who hasn’t said “that’s just not fair!”?
This particular XI Justice image turns its attention to the dark pillar, appropriate for our quest into unknown depths. The butterflies indicate new life and transformation out of the darkness. Collectively, we could welcome steps toward economic justice or climate justice.
What do we release? XII The Hanged Man
Releasing is different from leaving behind. We leave behind what’s outmoded, we release what’s caged. XII The Hanged Man is the Philosopher, trapped by no particular dogma or world view, able to see and accept – and be comfortable with – a variety of perspectives. This can add to our growing store of tools to dispel misconceptions that lead to destructive actions. Knight of Chalices allows us to connect with each other via the heart, XII The Hanged Man brings us connection via the enlightened mind.
Can we understand and accept the varieties of perspectives that make up our complex individual characters? Can we learn about the perspectives of tribes other than our own? The release of XII The Hanged Man says “yes”.
There’s an interesting connection here to the 8 of Swords. The 8 of Swords is tethered with criticism, the mindset that we’re leaving behind. It is also a card of inactivity, stuckness. XII The Hanged Man is also tethered and inactive, but with a very different attitude. He has the patience to wait for understanding of a new perspective with an open mind. If we’re releasing him, has he now reached a level of understanding that allows for enlightened action?
What do we celebrate in the Winter season? VIII Strength
VIII Strength celebrates our own strength and stamina, our fiery Leonine wild side. The mask we wear is that of the Green Man, our nature archetype. We can celebrate our health, our vitality, our abilities as instinctual beings. Those of us with furry companions can celebrate the additional warm that cozying with them brings us.
There’s another function of companion animals – and of our instinctual selves: to keep guard, to defend our safety, our territory. A barking dog sets boundaries. As we’re developing understanding for those with other belief systems, other world views, we can still define ourselves as separate, without losing our sense of connection. We can celebrate a better sense of ourselves as individuals within the greater world.
The shadow side of these celebrations would be the martial displays that celebrate victory through dominance. Rather than engage with those, celebrate the true strength that is displayed when we are living our mission, our purpose. Celebrate the stamina required to continue living that purpose, even against opposition. Celebrate the instincts that tell us “this direction is my meaningful path, that path holds meaning for someone else”. Celebrate the victory of vitality over the self-destructive XV Devil.
What mysteries will we contemplate? 2 of Wands
2 of Wands is the card of Winter Solstice. The mysteries of the season itself, as well as the mysteries that are revealed by living this spread are indicated. We’ve got another companion animal in the Silver Witchcraft 2 of Wands. This cat is asleep, relaxed in safety. We’re safe here, free to reflect, to contemplate all that we’ve laid out in our Depths of Stillness spread. What are the possibilities for expansion in the coming year? Which goals will bring us a warm glow? Which values will light our way? Who can we partner with in our cherished projects? How do our beliefs help create the world around us?
Who will we become? 7 of Chalices
7 of Chalices lays our choices before us, as coloured by our hopes and fears. Will we waste our Knight of Chalices potential to follow our hearts on the passing desires that are little more than temptations set up by external advertising? Will we recognize when we’re choosing out of fear? Will we meet the testing aspect of 7 of Chalices with the knowledge of our own sacred mission, to make choices that support that mission? Will we recognize that our purpose is just one individual purpose amoung a world of individuals, each with her own mission?
An exploration into the depths this Winter Solstice brings us to a crisis point. We can be lost in delusion, endlessly looking for the next thing to make us happy. Not the outcome I wish for any of us. Or, we can become someone with a sacred heart, a heart dedicated to our personal purpose in this lifetime, harvesting our most meaningful dreams.
I wish you all the warmth and beauty of a sacred Winter Solstice.
My, we’re spending a lot of time with the Courts lately! Last week we visited with the King of Swords; the week before that was Princess of Pentacles. When that many court cards show up, it lets us know that we’re out in the world of other people more than usual. Stop for a moment to see how your life has been affected by those around you, especially the intellectual authoritarian types and the youthful practical types.
This week, we’re meeting the Prince of Cups, also known as the Knight of Cups. Here we have the element of air living in the world of water. You’ve noticed, I’m sure, that air in water rapidly rises to the top. And a big enough wind on the surface of the water can really stir things up. Although air moves freely on its own, water slows it down or limits it into bubbles.
The attributes of the Prince of Cups grow out of that interaction of air with water. He (or she – remember, the cards are gender neutral in our material world) is on a quest to fulfill his emotional desires. He can get lost in the emotional content of any situation, losing sight of the bigger context. Deep feelings can be stirred up when this Prince rides into your life. As a representative of the airy world of ideas, he can lead you into situations where you’re more in love with love than with any real person or situation. He encourages looking within.
There are two pictures that we can draw of this Prince. One is of a sincere idealist who is in touch with his inner truth. The other is of a self-absorbed Don Juan, riding roughshod over all in fulfillment of his emotion-based ambitions. The keys that keep the Prince of Cups engaged with his successful, positive side are his emotional connections with others and his sincerity.
You’ve noticed additional symbolism on the Tarot of the Ceremonial Magick card. (You’ve seen XXI World and King of Cups from this deck before.) Lon Milo DuQuette designed these to include astrological references, as well as Enochian and Goetian Magickal connections. The symbols that refer to the elemental correspondences are in the I Ching lines in the upper left and in the Tattwa symbol in the lower right. The upper 3 lines and the blue circle signify air and the lower 3 lines and the crescent signify water.
Let the Prince of Cups lead you to a deeper understanding of your emotions this week. Use your discoveries to connect with others in your life.
Here’s to those creative moments of Truth!
Self-discovery is a strong suit in the Tarot. Let me know when you’re ready for a quest.
We’ve had another look at a few more of the Knight of Cups appearances.