Has family life been a source of joy lately? Is the peacefulness of life allowing you to become what you want to be? Did someone recently make you happier than you expected? Look for the Ten of Cups to validate your good feelings when it appears in your Tarot reading. Few cards in the deck deliver as much joy as this collection of golden chalices.
A man and woman are looking away from us, off into the distance. They hold each other at the waist, but each raise an arm in welcoming the future. Ahead of them is a scenic landscape with a charming house amidst the green shrubs and trees under a perfect blue sky. To the side are two children, clasping hands, dancing. Above this scene is a rainbow arching across the sky. Superimposed on it are ten golden cups.
No card in the Tarot deck quite looks like an illustration for the phrase, “and they lived happily ever after,” as does the Ten of Cups. Note that the people pictured in this card are not dressed in stylish or fancy clothing. Cups are the Tarot’s suit of emotions. The appearance and status of these people have no relationship to their emotional state of mind. This card reiterates the truism that happiness comes from within. If there is a downcast part to this card it might be that rainbows are more illusion than real and that happiness is a fleeting experience in every human life.
Meaning in Past, Present and Future Positions
The Tarot reading is divided into sections representing your past, your present and your future. The cards that land in one position tell a story about that specific time period of your life and look at things as foundational when they are in the past, active when they are in the present and possible when they are in the future.
The Ten of Cups in the past position is actually the card’s strongest presence in a Tarot reading. This card representing happiness functions best with that representation as a memory. Recalling happy times is actually clearer than experiencing happiness in the moment or finding fulfillment in wishing to be happy in the future. This card in this position represents a powerful foundation of faith in the world and a belief that things will work out. You are strong because of positive values instilled early in life.
In the present position, this card represents a recent breakthrough. You may be in love at the moment of the reading or falling in love with someone. This card carries emotional impact, so there is some wonderful sentiment permeating your life and your world at present. The Tarot reading confirms that you should be enjoying yourself thoroughly.
The future position indicates that your emotional contentment is coming. The Ten of Cups is a card that is the natural climax of the entire Tarot suit of Cups and so it functions well in the future position as a reminder that your goals in life are worth pursuing no matter what the current struggle may be delivering.
Every Tarot reading involves a few cards and the mixture of their meanings adds up to one reading. The cards are not sectioned off away from each other. They each have influence in the reading that changes the meaning of the cards nearby.
When any other cards from the suit of cups appears in a reading with the Ten of Cups, the emotional sentiment is amplified. When paired with the Ten card, the Seven of Cups gives your happiness a “dreams come true” feeling, while the Six of Cups delivers a childlike wonder at your new world.
Like all other cards from the Tarot’s Minor Arcana, the Ten of Cups is a lower echo of three cards in the Major Arcana: The Wheel of Fortune (card #10), Judgment (card # 20), and The Fool (card #0). The Ten of Cups reflects the Wheel of Fortune’s delivery of one’s ultimate reward, it echoes the absoluteness of the Judgment card and it has the unmistakable joie de vivre of The Fool card. Any of these cards appearing in a reading with the Ten of Cups underscores the importance of what your Tarot reader is about to tell you. All of these elements are present in the Ten of Cups whether or not one of these other cards makes an appearance in your reading.
When paired with any of the other Minor Arcana cards numbered 10, the Ten of Cups serves as a card of emotional hope no matter how tough the situation. The Ten of Swords speaks to finality and ending a chapter of one’s life on a sour note. When paired with the Ten of Cups, the happiness possible in the next chapter is apparent. The Ten of Pentacles is a card of extreme satisfaction on the material plane but not on the emotional one, thus these two appearing in one reading together indicates a complete satisfaction of emotional and material contentment. The Ten of Wands is a card of being overburdened. When it appears with the Ten of Cups in your reading it may indicate that you have spread yourself too thin or are responsible for the happiness of so many other people that you are not truly enjoying the moment.
When the Ten of Cups appears in a reading with the Three of Pentacles you are building the foundations of a deep relationship that will last a lifetime. Many Tarot readers report seeing the Ten of Cups appear in a reading paired with The Chariot when they give readings for athletes, and that this indicates a major victory is imminent. When The Hermit card is paired with the Ten of Cups in your reading, there is a muted celebration as your emotional triumph is difficult to share with those around you. If you are a writer or an artist this could indicate the moment when you realize that you have “created your masterpiece” … but of course, it is not the moment where you have sold it.