The King of Cups

The King of Cups is seated on a throne that seems to be floating on what looks to be the ocean since there is a dolphin and ship nearby. He carries a sceptre or staff on his left side and a large goblet, or cup, on the other. The king here seems rather magnanimous in his demeanour, and he appears confident in his rule. This can be interpreted as a man who is in complete control of his emotions and temper while being a kind and fair ruler. The King of Cups is a man who has mastered himself in all areas, but has especially extensive knowledge and understanding in the real of feeling and the subconscious. He may be seen as a considerate man and a good father who raises his children with compassion and an innate maternal instinct. He is the next logical progression form the Queen of Cups who wasn’t always able to control her emotions, and thus, the querent arrives at the level of emotional understanding and mastery that the King of Cups embodies.

The court cards of each Minor Arcana Suit represent people, and the physical and astrological characteristics of a person as well. In the case of kings, there are astrologically significant details that should be made known.  The King of Cups is associated with the signs of Aquarius and Pisces. The nature of the energy that is carried by the King of Cups is considered fixed for Aquarius and mutable for Pisces. This shows that these individuals are very flexible and have the quality of adaptability in their energies when the individual being identified is a Pisces, and there is stable and constant energy within the Aquarius described by the King of Cups. The elemental property of this particular king, which is fire energy, mixes with the energy of the suit he appears in: water energy. The King of Cups shows a combination of water and fire energy, which embodies buoyancy or the ability to rise above many situations. This indicates that the King of Cups in a spread is speaking to emotional superiority of some sort. The physical characteristics often found to accompany a King of Cups individual include light eyes of grey, blue, or green, as well as dirty blonde to mid-level brown hair. It is advised that the querent pay attention to the man depicted in the King of Cups that has these physical characteristics.

Although there is very little to go on in terms of an outright card meaning, the surrounding cards will be of immense influence and importance to the King of Cups and the interpretation of it.

The King of Cups in an Upright Position

The upright positioning of the King of Cups reveals an ability to rise above petty arguments and emotional out bursts to get to the heart of an issue. This man is an excellent father or big brother who helps his children or siblings learn how to harness emotional, or water energy in a healthy and stable manner. This gentleman may also be a spiritual advisor or counsellor who helps people to deal with the difficulties in their lives and teaches people to exercise flexibility and stable responses to situations that others may not be able to control. He is a wise man, and could be a good resource for knowledge of things that are hidden from waking life, and he is a faithful and constant lover who would never betray his partner or waiver in their affections. Whenever a court card appears in a spread, it does not necessarily always signify a real human being, but a quality within the card that the querent needs to take up as part of his own persona or philosophies in order to experience growth and a better outlook on life.

The querent may find that their encounter with King of Cups has them thinking about how they can better control their emotions. There may be a need for this as well as constancy in relationships and a bit more flexibility. The querent may find that they are too rigid with their children and partners, or need to be more compassionate like the King of Cups is. The querent might find themselves being encouraged by the King of Cups to visit a minister or therapist in order to address emotional turmoil or anger issues. This is very open to interpretation though, and the meaning can change with the surrounding cards being taken into account. Either way, there is a definitive need to be more emotionally stable and kind towards people; especially lovers and family who are looking to their king for guidance and exemplary behaviour.

The King of Cups in a Reversed Position

A reversal of a court card has an inverse meaning that corresponds with the court card it is attached to. The reversal of the King of Cups shows a man who is definitely not in control of his emotions. This man may be prone to anger and could be known for his emotional outbursts and being somewhat abusive in his power over others. He may be unkind and isn’t supportive of his children, and he may be verbally abusive towards people in general. This would include his wife and children. The reversed King of Cups shows a man who is not in control of his emotions. It could also reveal a man who is mean-spirited and causes people grief for his own personal entertainment. The King of Cups I a reversed position could also represent a bitter man who hasn’t been shown what unconditional love means. He may lack constancy in his relationships due to the lack of constancy he has been shown in his.

The querent may also find that the appearance of a reversed King of Cups has more to do with him than with a representation of someone else he may encounter in life. The reversal shows that the querent could have had a very immovable father who was strict and unloving. The querent may also recognize the reversed King of Cups as a man in his life who showed him that over reactions and emotional outbursts were acceptable, when they clearly aren’t. The querent may be prone to losing control or had a father who possessed these behaviours.

Key Terms

  • Control over emotions
  • Kindness
  • Guidance
  • Constancy
  • Paternal energy
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