The King of Cups Tarot Card


He sits on a shell-shaped stone throne, this King with a crown and a cup in one hand. Many Tarot decks depict him holding his royal seal in the other. The unique thing about his repose is that his throne is adrift on a stormy sea. Wild waves and currents toss about the throne, but he is as composed as if it were the mildest sailing weather of the season.

This card has an aura of calmness about it. The King and his throne will survive the riotous seas. Cups in the Tarot deck are the suit representing emotions. To be holding his cup so steadily is a sign of controlling one’s emotions. A king’s official seal is a gold stamp that is embedded into wax in the private correspondence of royalty. To be holding this while resting on his throne means that it is business as usual despite tension in his world.

Are you in the presence of a calming, reassuring individual? Have you been placed in a leadership position because of your open-mindedness? Has the debilitating drama of an old relationship taught you to maintain an even approach when a little chaos appears? The King of Cups will be making an appearance in your Tarot reading when the need to dissipate the drama is peaking in your daily activities.

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King of Cups Meaning

The King of Cups is often representative of another person. If so, pulling this card may point to someone in your life who is not or was not affected by excitable situations. 

A deeper understanding of the King of Cups can be gleaned by analyzing both its suit and the card.

Suit of Cups Meaning

Cup cards represent emotion and are linked to things like love, feelings, and the connections we have with others. When you receive a cup card in a tarot reading, it often means you’re embracing emotion over logic – thinking with your heart rather than your brain.

King Card Meaning

King cards, on the other hand, represent the fully matured personalities of each suit. Kings are strong and stable and have total control over their thoughts, feelings, and emotions. 

Court cards in the Tarot (Pages, Knights, Queens and Kings) are often indicative of someone else’s involvement in your situation. A good Tarot reader understands that the influence of a particular individual can loom large in the life and on the psyche of the person receiving the Tarot reading.

King of Cups Placement in Spread

When the tarot is dealt for your reading, there are sections into which each card lands. These sections represent your past, your present and your future. Wherever the King of Cups lands, there is a calm energy.

King of Cups in Past Position

If the King of Cups is dealt into the past position, consider a caring and peaceful figure from out of your past. Your tarot reading will be emphasizing some of the events in your life that led you to where you are right now. You might be behaving in a manner that mimics this person. 

King of Cups in Present Position

When this card lands in the present position, assume that a calm person with whom you are interacting has more of an influence over the current situation than you may realize. Conversely, someone who you assume is taking care of business might not be doing the job. 

One downside of the King of Cups is that his detachment and tolerance for bad behavior can leave those closest to him exposed to negativity. Just because he has a calming influence of control and peacefulness is not a guarantee he will help the situation.

King of Cups in Future Position

In the future position, this card is a coming blessing of peace and loses much of its personification. The King of Cups here represents the universe itself creating an energy that assists in a complete calming of your life experience. 

Of course, if you are bored now and looking for some excitement, this is not necessarily the card you want to see telling you about the days and weeks – and maybe even years ahead.

King of Cups Reverse Meaning

While the King of Cups upright represents the King at his best – in control of his emotions and able to separate logic from decisions of the heart – the King of Cups reversed represents him at his worst.

The reversed King of Cups may appear in your life as somebody who is emotional manipulative, controlling, or volatile. This is often depicted in someone you may know but may also signal a change in yourself.

While the upright King of Cups can face situations with a level head, him reversed can no longer balance matters of the mind and heart. Instead, he uses his wisdom to manipulate others for his own bidding – like revenge or vindication.

Card Combinations

When your tarot cards are dealt, they do not speak alone. The cards sing in harmony, each card adding subtle definition to the cards nearby. This symphony makes every Tarot reading a unique song about your life.

Interaction with Queen Cards

There is a strong partnership angle whenever a Court Card depicting a King is in the same reading with a Queen. When the King of Cups is in the same reading as the Queen of Cups, look for an emotional soulmate union to be the most soothing thing you have ever felt. 

Paired with the Queen of Swords and you will be able to talk to a man who has interested you for a long time. When the Queen of Wands appears, look to have a reassuring relationship with a mentor, boss or teacher. The Queen of Pentacles card combines with the King of Cups for a strong bond between two people, although one of you may be financing the other’s pleasurable pursuits.

Interaction with the Major Arcana

When feminine cards from the Major Arcana appear in a reading along with the King of Cups, deep partnerships with many levels of attraction and complexity occur. 

The World combines with the King of Cups for a love relationship based on working to achieve a great goal together. 

The Star is a tarot card with intense psychic powers and when it combines with the King of Cups you will be drawn to a chance encounter with a potential soulmate. 

Temperance is a Tarot card of finding inner peace and combines well with the King of Cups, but almost too well, as some relationships without tension are easy-come, easy go. 

Two Major Arcana cards that feature women in roles that avoid feminine stereotypes are Justice and Strength. When either of these cards appear in a reading along with the King of Cups, a non-romantic partnership will be successful at a business or creative project. 

The King of Cups combines great with The Lovers card, although the usual warnings apply regarding one member of the partnership being in love with the idea of love more than with the partner. 

The Empress might be the most traditionally feminine card in the Tarot and when she meets the King of Cups expect a traditional dating, engagement and marriage cycle to be established. The two of you might overspend on a lavish wedding, though, so plan ahead. 

The High Priestess is a passive card as is the King of Cups; when the two of them appear in the same Tarot spread there is a mutual attraction between a woman and a man that grows in intensity, as neither party can make the move. Unrequited love is often the subject of novels and theatrical productions, but when you see this combination, you can use it as motivation to make your affections known. The King of Cups is reticent, but he is quite in touch with his feelings.

Is the King of Cups a Good Card?

Generally, the King of Cups is considered one of the best cards you can receive during a tarot reading. Pulling this signals that you have a healthy connection with your intuition, feelings, and logic. When a King of Cups pull represents another person, it can mean you’ll meet a potential partner with these qualities.

The King of Cups can also mean great things for your job and finances – like how your ability to make sound judgments will advance your career. If you’re ill or afraid of becoming ill, the King of Cups will tell you to feel positive about your health and to treat yourself with kindness.

Interested in receiving your own Tarot reading? Book with one of our expert advisors here on Keen!

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