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Wednesday, 9 September 2015

The King of Cups - Fountain Tarot

Fountain Tarot, 2014
My card of the day is the King of Cups from the Fountain Tarot by Jonathan Saiz, Jason Gruhl and Andi Todaro.

This card depicts a man in a business suit, ankle across knee, a cup balanced on his knee. His hands are folded across his lap, and he smiles and looks to his left, as though another person were there with whom he is enjoying a conversation. He seems very personable. His bald head and glasses give him an elder, fatherly air. He seems to be a very powerful man, but one who is approachable. He is giving his full attention to the person he's speaking to; he is one whose 'open door policy' is genuine. His fine suit and casual posture, show us that he is confident, self-assured, diplomatic, and emotionally available. His demeanor is welcoming, but his body posture shows that he also knows how to engage in psychological self defense -- the crossed legs, the folded hands. He's open, but he's the one who is in control of the conversation. He's more of an empathetic listener than a sharer, just as he should be in his capacity as a professional man.

Traditionally, the King of Cups is seen as the father figure of the court cards. He is a loving and gentle male presence in the lives of his children and family.

Surprisingly, in its reversed position, the King of Cups can be reactive and veangeful, rather than, as one might expect, being depressed or self-condemning. This is explained by using a traditional way of determining the reversed meaning of  court cards, which is to look at their opposite elemental dignities -- The King of Cups is Fire of Water the opposite of Fire is Water. The opposite of Water is Fire. So that would be Water of Fire, or Queen of Wands, and she can be an absolute terror when crossed!

The companion book to Fountain Tarot doesn't give us any guidance on the geometric shapes that occur throughout the deck. I can't help but think there's some significance to the shapes. Here we have a circle on a triangle. The triangle inside a circle is a symbol that is more familiar to me, being used on US currency, a Masonic symbol, a symbol of creation, a symbol referenced in kabbalah, and in decorations in Catholic cathedrals (usually with an eye in the triangle). But what about a circle inside a triangle? In this card, the circle is slightly bigger than the triangle, but still. What is it? It is known as Solomon's Circle, or Solomon's Seal, which some occultists claim was on King Solomon's signet ring and contributed to magical powers.

Without going into it too much, you may notice that the inner circle spells out 'Mi-cha-el', or archangel Michael, and the lines represent Primeumaton, Anaphaxeton, and Tetragrammaton (AHYH, ADNI, YHVH). If you know the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, these will be familiar. If you don't and are curious, seek and ye shall find. (In other words, google it.)

But an even more salient meaning for the King of Cups, to me, is this one:

This is the Al-Anon symbol. King of Cups, for many readers, is associated with alcohol and substance abuse. The circle-within-the-triangle symbol represents Al-Anon, the support group for those affected by another person's alcoholism. It is the reverse image of the AA symbol: 

In both logos, the three arms of the triangle represent unity, recovery and service. The circle represents serenity, perfection and the source of unlimited potential. 

The stable shape of the triangle envelopes the symbol of potential and serenity in the Al-Anon symbol -- stability, fortitude, those are the things that foster an environment that will allow perfect peace to grow. Whereas the peace and serenity bring the stability for the substance abusers. It's a great representation of the interlocking needs of all involved. 

The King of Cups in Fountain Tarot sits upon a throne made of these symbols -- stability, unity, support, service, peace, recovery, serenity. What a great guy. Great dad. Great friend. Great boss. He knows how you feel. He can help. 


  1. Love your exploration of the shapes in this card. I always get warm fuzzies from your descriptions of the King of Cups. He was my card of the day yesterday, but for the first time in at least a month I didn't manage to do my 15 second video on it - I just don't find him easy to live with :D Probably because of the al-anon link you mention, that's my link to the King of Cups (otherwise known as Dad) :/

    1. I like him a lot. He reminds me of my own dad. My fictional character to represent King of Cups is Charles Ingalls, from Little House on the Prairie. :)

    2. Yeah, he was a great dad and a big softie. Our personal life stories so affect our readings of the archetypes...