The Ace of Cups is a welcome card, but if it shows up in a spread in the reversed position, it can give you a shock. No love? No friendship? Your emotions spilled across the landscape, drying up and leaving you isolated for the rest of time? No, not really. While the Ace of Cups reversed can indicate that something love- or emotion-related isn’t going to follow the path you’d hoped it would, it also signals that you’ve got some very good opportunities coming up to help right your situation.
The Card’s Basic Energy
It’s best to start with a brief look at the upright energy of the card, or the energy the card is usually associated with. In general, the Ace of Cups upright signals new love — not necessarily romantic — and new emotional connections. It’s a beginning and a very positive card for most people; the only real “negative” connotation is that the beginning means something else has ended or will end. But the serenity of the suit of Cups indicates that this beginning, whatever it is, will be most welcome.
The Cups suit deals with emotions and has water as its element, showing how emotions can flow when unhindered. And this is where seeing a reversed Cups card can give you a clue; imagine emotions bottled up, blocked by rocks, the tangled branches of a natural dam, or even the solid structure of a human-built dam. The flowing water builds up, unable to really go anywhere unless some of that water is carefully released. The alternatives are the dam overflowing or bursting. For those of you familiar with the internet hashtags of #FEELINGSART or #FEELINGSMAIL (and additional iterations of that FEELINGS hashtag), this is exactly what leads to that overflow or busting through of emotions in a way that feels freeing to you but alarming as heck to the recipient or observer.
As corny as it sounds, love is the basic emotion as shown by this new love starting off the suit. You could look at all other emotions as a version of the presence or lack of love. So while the Ace of Cups may just be about connection, there’s an undercurrent of love and happiness coloring the interpretation.
So You Pulled the Reversed Version
You’ll come across two types of interpretations for the reversed Ace of Cups. One is short and not so sweet, while the other takes a longer view.
The short version is pretty much emotional blockage. No love, no connections. Maybe your crush rebuffs your hints at a date, or you feel alone while you see others around you interacting with ease and love. It can be the student who sees all of his or her classmates in their groups of friends while that one student has no social life. Or you’ve moved to a new neighborhood only to find the neighbors are kind of standoffish. No wonder the Ace of Cups reversed doesn’t elicit good feelings.
But when you look at the wider view, you find ways to work with the meaning and not see it as so negative. If an ace means a beginning, a reversed ace could be a beginning that seems rocky or one where the ending of the last phase hasn’t been so clear; in the case of the Ace of Cups reversed, the emotional impact of the transition that you expected — to a friendly neighborhood, to a new job where you’re free of that aggressive co-worker, to a new relationship — isn’t being expressed in the way you thought it would be.
Your new job might make you free of that aggressive co-worker only to find that your new clients are just as bad, making you feel like the universe wants you to be a target. Maybe you confessed to your crush that you like them, and got a positive response, only to find that all of a sudden, the crush is “busy” and rarely talks to you.
But seeing that possibility gives you a couple of opportunities. The imagery of an Ace of Cups is often a cup with streams of water flowing over the top, signaling all-encompassing joy. The Ace of Cups reversed, then, has water falling out of an overturned cup — but in many decks, those streams that were flowing over the side and onto the ground have reversed and are now flowing upward. (Free of the “gravity” of the situation, if you will. Pun fully intended.)
So, while you have the initial shock of “Oh my gosh, this isn’t what I expected at all,” you can now start to move on. Why waste your time pining after someone who may be stringing you along? Mourn the loss, and find someone better when you’re ready to date again. Your new clients are worse than your old co-worker? OK, try to identify patterns in the workplaces and in yourself that could have connected you to those situations, and see how you can identify them ahead of time as you look for a new job. Don’t worry about wasted time or effort. Someone who spills water out of a cup onto dirt doesn’t spend time trying to squeeze the water out of the dirt and back into the cup; they mutter their favorite expletive and go get some fresh water.
You also have the opportunity to make something of the situation. Maybe you are dealing with a new city where you know no one, and no one seems interested in you at all, except to sell you things. You don’t have to move to a new town, you just have to make new efforts to find your group. If your last city was full of friendly people, and you didn’t have to do much to meet new friends, here’s your chance to take the reins. Don’t sit back and mope; join new activities. Find new places. And most of all, find that friendship inside yourself because really, the saying about your insides matching your outsides is true.
So if you pull the Ace of Cups reversed, yes, there could be something emotionally blocked or stunted going on, or you may find such a situation in the future. But it’s not the end of the world (and even the World card reversed isn’t the end of the world, so you know with a mere ace card you’ll be fine). Keep an eye out, or be proactive and start planning a new beginning past whatever is currently holding your attention. And most of all, realize that even rocky floodwaters subside and calm down.
Like other tarot cards, the position of the card in the spread, the type of spread you’re using, and how the question is phrased all affect the interpretation. If you’ve got a situation that’s bothering you, or you’re looking for some insight into a future move, get an online tarot reading at Keen to get help interpreting the reverse Ace of Cups meaning today.