This week’s card to study is the Queen of Cups
Esoteric Title: Queen of the Thrones of Waters
The Tarot by Alexander Daniloff 2012’s Queen of Cups portrays a woman, the Queen, sitting on an unusually shaped throne holding a gold chalice. Above her is a canopy attached to a crown and below is a crab, the symbol of the astrological sign Cancer. On the back of the throne, you can see a charm with a heart on it; the corresponding playing card suit.
Rider-Waite-Smith Queen of Cups for comparison:
The Queen of Cups is found in the Minor Arcana, which represents day-to-day life and its ups and downs, challenges and opportunities. However the Courts are the people cards and are read differently, see below.
Cups are associated with the element Water and represents all emotions, all different kinds of love, all kinds of relationships, feelings, receptivity, intuition, the subconscious, your dreams, your imagination, your vision, artistic creativity. What we feel.
Astrological Correspondences: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces (Water signs)
Kabbalah Tree of Life: Sephirah – Binah
Queens are associated with the Cardinal Modalities
Queen of Cups is the cardinal sign: Cancer.
Note: The Golden Dawn approaches the courts differently:
- Queens are associated with Cardinal signs
- Include two signs (20°each). Gemini and Cancer
Court Cards –
The Courts are arguably the most challenging cards of the Tarot due to their complexities. Each Court represents a different rank or stage of growth beginning with the very young and naïve Page who is at the learning stage, followed by the immature wild Knight who is in the acting out stage (acting before thinking). Through their experiences they become the mature Queen and King – masters of their suit. Queens and Kings are similar however, their roles are the opposite. With the exception of Queen Elizabeth (and many others), try to imagine what you would expect from a Queen versus a King. While the King ruled the land making decisions (active), the Queen supported and nurtured the community (receptive). His focus as well as the Knights is outward while her focus as well as the Pages is inward.
*Please note: the courts are not bound by gender. In addition, some Tarot readers attribute physical characteristics. I do not use this system because we are a world filled with beautiful diversity and in my humble opinion, it would be too difficult to fit billions of people into only four (suit) combinations of skin, eye, and hair color. However, if this works for you, by all means use it. They also have various titles and may change from deck to deck.
The Courts can represent the following:
- actual people; it can be the Querent themselves or someone else involved
- personality traits/characteristics
- influential or aspirational energies (inner potential)
- roles we play
- a situation or an event
- a message or news (usually the Pages and at times the Knights)
- a conquest or desire (usually the Knights)
Queens are the nurturers and the emotional masters of their suit. They’re mature, their focus is inward and their energy is feminine (yin) and receptive. They represent archetypal maternal energy (Empress), persuasion, understanding, awareness, acceptance, reflection, creativity, caring for others, rites of passages, expression, and development. They are the counselors, mentors, healers, mediators, harmonizers, and they unite people. They’re the mothers, wives, sisters, lovers, and friends.
Dual Elements –
Some Tarotists interpret the Courts as having dual elements. Each Court has their own governing element in addition to their suit’s element. The Queen’s governing element is water*. Therefore, they add a watery aspect to whichever suit they represent.
- The Queen of Cups is Water of Water.
*Important: There is much debate which element each Court card governs (aside from their suit) due to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and Aleister Crowley (Thoth) or I should say, Authur Waite (RWS) switching the Knights and the Kings. This is too long and confusing to get into here, but this has caused Tarot readers to switch the associations of Fire and Air between the Kings and Knights. Be that as it may, almost all Tarot readers agree that the Queens correspond with Water and the Pages correspond with Earth. Although, I have also seen all of these interchanged by some.
Honestly, I still haven’t decided which I prefer but I lean towards Kings/Air and Knights/Fire. However, I do have a difficult time squaring Pages with Earth – so this is why I don’t follow any system of dual elements. Again, this is a personal preference and you can follow which ever system that works for you or none, like me.
Nurturer, intuitive, loving, perceptive, empathetic, compassionate, affectionate, counselor, introspection, artistic, sensual, sexual, loves animal and children, matriarch.
- Cancer, the Crab – protection, nurturing, motherhood, family, home. Also it’s a cardinal sign which the Queens are associated with.
- Undines on throne (RWS) – water nymphs: elemental water spirits
- Ciborium – in ancient Greece and Rome it was a particular shaped drinking cup. Later they were used to hold the Holy Eucharist.
When Queens show up in a reading they may represent you, someone else, or perhaps urging you to mirror her qualities in general or with the matter at hand.
The Queen of Cups is the archetypal mother – all the Queens are. This Queen focuses on loving, nurturing and caring for you.
The Queen of Cups is a compassionate, empathetic, sensitive, person. She’s genuine, considerate, easy to talk to and connect with, and she’s great listener. If you’re looking for someone to counsel you through an emotional period, she’s the one to go to. She seems to know just what to say to make you feel better about the situation and about yourself; she’ll offer healing and acceptance. In addition, she will also be honest and fair with you which makes her a great mentor. However, she thinks with her heart and not with head which can prevent her from being logical and rational.
This Queen is highly intuitive, more than any other Queen. As I explained above, each Court has dual elements and the Queen of Cups is Water of Water, connecting her to the subconscious mind, only Trumped (no pun intended) by the High Priestess. She can see your inner secrets and feel your inner thoughts. Her instincts are like a pendulum guiding her though life. She can read people within seconds. She can sense other’s suffering and challenges and because she’s warm, kind-hearted, and genuinely compassionate, her nature literally invite others in. At times this can make her vulnerable, so she needs to be cautious and be careful, especially of being taken advantage of.
Further, the Queen of Cups is artistically creativity, imaginative, and excellent at self-expression. These Queens can be poets, writers, artists, song-writers, musicians, etc.
In her love life, she’s an extremely romantic, affectionate, sensual, sexual being. She is warm, good-natured, and devoted making her a good wife and mother, a matriarch.
She’s also is a very good friend; always there for you if you need her.
Shadow Side: Each court has a shadow side just like we do. Imagine any of these characteristics in the extreme such as being overly emotional, sensitive, or moody or, becoming manipulative because she fully understand what make you tick.
When the Queen of Cups appears in a reading she may be urging you to use your intuition, or to be more compassionate and empathetic towards other, or to be aware of your creative side.
Career: A Queen of Cups at work, has such good instincts, you may want to learn from her and progress. Of course, you could be the one who has the good instincts and every one else wants to learn from you. In addition, you may find your colleagues come to you to vent.
These Queens tend to be in a careers involving caring for others such as nurses, counselors, nannies, physical therapists, and teachers.
If you are looking for work, the Queen of Cups is telling you to listen to your gut and use your imagination; be creative and express yourself well in your interviews or on your résumé.
Romance: If you are in an established relationship, the Queen of Cups suggests you have a deep love for one another. You have compassion for each other and you are affectionate and sensual. Always trust your intuition in your relationship. Be careful of being too sensitive or too emotional because this could become an issue.
If you are single and looking for love, the Queen of Cups suggest you may soon meet someone who has these characteristics. However, you should always use your intuition and instincts when meeting someone new; acknowledge and heed any red flags and don’t ignore them.
Remember: even though I referred to the Queen as ‘she’, the courts are not bound by gender. This could be anyone embodying the same traits, qualities, or energies.
Questions to ask:
- Do you try to put yourself in other’s shoes?
- Do you honor and trust your intuition?
- Do I need to set boundaries with some people?
“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”
– John Lennon
This is my interpretation of this card. It may differ from other Tarotists, and yours as well, and that’s okay. Please work to create your own card meanings; learning the Tarot is not about memorizing.
In addition, remember nuances of the interpretation may differ depending on the Querent’s question, the spread, the surrounding cards, and what your intuition may be telling you at the time.
Click here to see my review of this beautiful deck.
Rider-Waite used with permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902. c. U.S. Games Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. Rider-Waite is a registered trademark of U.S. Games Systems.
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