ILLUSTRATED KEY TO THE TAROT.
THE SUIT OF CUPS. KING.
He holds a short scepter in his left hand and a great cup in his right; his throne is set upon the
sea; on one side a ship is riding and on the other a dolphin is leaping. The implicit is that the
Sign of the Cup naturally refers to water, which appears in all the court cards.
Divinatory Meanings: Fair man, man of business, law, or divinity; responsible, disposed to
oblige the Querent; also equity, art and science, including those who profess science, law and
art; creative intelligence.
Reversed: Dishonest, double dealing man; roguery, exaction, injustice, vice, scandal, pillage,
Beautiful, fair, dreamy—as one who sees visions in a cup. This is, however, only one of her
aspects; she sees, but she also acts, and her activity feeds her dream.
Divinatory Meanings: Good, fair woman; honest, devoted woman, who will do service to the
Querent; loving intelligence, and hence the gift of vision; success, happiness, pleasure; also
wisdom, virtue; a perfect spouse and a good mother.
Reversed: The accounts vary; good woman; otherwise, distinguished woman but one not to be
trusted; perverse woman; vice, dishonor, depravity.
Graceful, but not warlike; riding quietly, wearing a winged helmet, referring to those higher
graces of the imagination which sometimes characterize this card. He too is a dreamer, but
the images of the side of sense haunt him in his vision.
Divinatory Meanings: Arrival, approach—sometimes that of a messenger; advances,
proposition, demeanor, invitation, incitement. -
Reversed: Trickery, artifice, subtlety, swindling, duplicity, fraud.
A fair, pleasing, somewhat effeminate page, of studious and intent aspect, contemplates a
fish rising from a cup to look at him.
It is the pictures of the mind taking form.
Divinatory Meanings: Fair young man, one impelled to render service and with whom the
Querent will be connected: a studious youth; news, message; application, reflection,
meditation; also these things directed to business.
Reversed: Taste, inclination, attachment, seduction, deception, artifice.
Appearance of Cups in a rainbow; it is contemplated in wonder and ecstasy by a man and
woman below, evidently husband and wife. His right arm is about her; his left is raised
upward; she raises her right arm. The two children dancing near them have not observed
the prodigy but are happy after their own manner. There is a home-scene beyond.
Divinatory Meanings: Contentment, repose of the entire heart; the perfection of that state;
also perfection of human love and friendship; if with several picture cards, a person who is
taking charge of the Querent's interests; also the town, village or country inhabited by the
Reversed: Repose of the false heart, indignation, violence.
A goodly personage has feasted to his heart's content, and abundant refreshment of wine is
on the arched counter behind him, seeming to indicate that the future is also assured. The
picture offers the material side only, but there are other aspects.
Divinatory Meanings: Concord, contentment, physical bien-etre: also victory, success,
advantage; satisfaction for the Querent or person for whom the consultation is made.
Reversed: Truth, loyalty, liberty; but the readings vary and include mistakes'
A man of dejected aspect is deserting the cups of his felicity, enterprise, undertaking or
Divinatory Meanings: The card speaks for itself on the surface, but other readings are
entirely antithetical—giving joy, mildness, timidity, honor, modesty. In practice, it is usually
found that the card shows the decline of a matter, or that a matter which has been thought to
be important is really of slight consequence—either for good or evil.
Reversed: Great joy, happiness, feasting.
Strange chalices of vision, but the images are more especially those of the fantastic spirit.
Divinatory Meanings: Fairy favors, images of reflection, sentiment, imagination, things seen
in the glass of contemplation; some attainment in these degrees, but nothing permanent or
substantial is suggested.
Reversed: Desire, will, determination, project.
Children in an old garden, their cups filled with flowers.
Divinatory Meanings: A card of the past and of memories, locking back, as—for example
—on childhood; happiness, enjoyment, but coming rather from the past; things that have
Another reading reverses this, giving new relations, new knowledge, new environment, and
then the children are disporting-in an unfamiliar precinct.
Reversed: The future, renewal, that which will come to pass presently.
A dark, cloaked figure, looking sideways at three prone cups; two others stand upright
behind him; a bridge is in the backgrotind, leading to a small keep or holding.
Divinatory Meanings: It is a card of loss, but something remains over; three have been
taken, but two are left; it is a card of inheritance, patrimony, transmission, but not
corresponding to expectations; with some interpreters it is a card of marriage, but not
without bitterness or frustration.
Reversed: Xews, alliances, affinity, consanguinity, ancestry return, false projects.
A young man is seated under a tree and contemplates three cups set on the grass before
him; an arm issuing from a cloud offers him another cup. His expression notwithstanding
is one of discontent with his environment.
Divinatory Meanings: Weariness, disgust, aversion, imaginary vexations, as if the wine
of this world had caused satiety only; another wine, as if a fairy gift, is now offered the
wastrel, but he sees no consolation therein. This is also a card of blended pleasure.
Reversed: Novelty, presage, new instruction, new relations.
Maidens in a garden-ground with cups uplifted, as if pledging one another.
Divinatory Meanings: The conclusion of any matter in plenty, perfection and merriment;
happy issue, victory, fulfilment, solace, healing.
Reversed: Expedition, dispatch, achievement, end. It signifies also the side of excess in
physical enjoyment, and the pleasures of the senses.
A youth and maiden are pledging one another, and above their cups rises the Caduceus
of Hemies, between the great wings of which there appears a lion's head. It is a variant
of a sign which is found in a few old examples of this card. Some curious emblematical
meanings are attached to it, but they do not concern us in this place.
Divinatory Meanings: Love, passion, friendship, affinity, union, concord, sympathy, the
inter-relation of the sexes, and—as a suggestion apart from all offices of divination—
that desire which is not in Nature, but by which Nature is sanctified.
The waters are beneath, and thereon are water-lilies; the hand issues from the cloud,
holding in its palm the cup, from which four streams are pouring; a Jove, bearing in its
bill a crossmarked Host, descends to place the Wafer in the Cup; the dew of water is
falling on all sides. It is an intimation of that which may lie behind the Lesser Arcana.
Divinatory Meanings: House of the true heart, joy. content, abode, nourishment,
abundance, fertility: Holy Table, felicity hereof.
Reversed: House of the false heart, mutation, instability, revolution.