Tarot Card meaning for the King of Cups



In the King of Cups, we see a King whose eyes are on the future. He holds a sceptre in one and a Cup in the other. His throne is solid, but is not based on land; it floats on the ocean. Both this and the live fish in the background show that although he might be a good sensitive leader, he is never one hundred precent in control.

The King of Cups as a day card

Today you or someone you know might be a sensitive leader or a visionary; someone that rides with the tides.
Reversely, the mood might be dependent on the ‘weather’, and the king does not seem to completely control these moods himself. Who is this? How can we be part of the positive side of this leader and help anchor him when things are less stable?

Negative or reversed meaning for this card

Although this King is a good leader, he could get thrown around by external factors that bring him off balance. Clearly emotional intelligence is very useful as a leader, it might however not be suitable to rule through emotions at all times.

How this card could present itself in real life

Both my brother and husband appear to fit the description of this King (they also have the same star sign and their birthdays 1 day apart). They are strong men but also very sensitive. They are great to talk with and will always be up for a good time. Sometimes they do get ruled by stronger women I feel, as they just role with the punches (or the waves as the King does on this card).

How this card is represented in other Tarot decks

Kings are represented differently in different tarot decks. The card represents the final figure in the court card for a suit and could be called (amongst others), King, Knight or wise one. In all decks this figure shows us a person who has been in this suit for the longest amount of time, someone that feels at home in the suit and has many skills to draw on.


In the Crowley Tarot we find that this card is called a Knight whom we see wearing a winged suit and riding a horse. Again it is an image closely linked to the Knight of Cups in the Rider Waite but this card has a bit more dynamics to it. The horse goes faster the person is in motion and appears to have a clear goal in mind.

In the Celtic Dragon Tarot we see a more mature King enjoying a sense of stability and peace in his kingdom. This card has a stronger sense of stability as the King is standing firmly on the land.

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