Lesson 79 – The Ace of Cups


There’s a show and tell at the front of the classroom today.  Everybody has brought in their favourite cup, glass or mug.  We admire the different patterns, materials, the textures, the stories which are shared.

A cup is a container, a vessel, it gives shape and form to the flow of liquid.  It allows us to drink.

Get out of your Ace of Cups card (or several of them if you have more than one).  What can you see?

Mine have a goblet or chalice on most of them.  In many there is liquid flowing out of the chalice, as though it is overflowing.  In the Wildwood Tarot the goblet is a stone basin from which a waterfall flows down to a pool.  Where there is no flow of water beams of light are radiating out of the goblet.

The image of the Rider Waite brings to mind the Christian symbolism of the eucharist.  The goblet with the water flowing out, held by a hand shrouded in cloud.  A white dove, often emblematic of the Holy Spirit, bringing down what looks like a wafer marked with a cross to dip into the water.  The emblem of the body and blood of Christ, marks the gift, in Christian tradition of eternal life.  The chalice here overbrimming with the water of life is an invitation perhaps for us too to begin again, echoing the symbolism of the waters of baptism, of being born again.

Emotionally water can represent tears and the watery nature of our feelings, the ebb and flow.  Water is essential for life.  A human being cannot live more than 72 hours without water.  When I pull the Ace of Cups I am minded not just of a new beginning in emotional life but of all new beginnings.

The Aces hold for us the promise of the new, the powerful moment of conception in any of the four elements, and in the cups perhaps more than any other, the power and ancient magic of a spring, bursting forth, flowing out, freely given, sacred, cleansing, nurturing, coursing, newly born from the earth, eager to be on its way.

Exercise 79

  • Take a cup of your choosing and fill it, with water, tea, your drink of choice.
  • Light a candle.  Give thanks for the gift you’re about to consume.
  • Drink mindfully and with gratitude, acknowledging the gift of new beginnings.
  • What images and associations do “cups” have for you?  Write them down.  Are you reminded of religious associations?  The toast at a family wedding?  The cup you won for a sporting endeavour?
  • How can you use these associations in your work in connecting with the suit of cups?

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