Order a Reading

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Ace of Cups - Home of Love

Jean Noblet Tarot, JC Flornoy 2014 
We are accustomed to associating the suit of Cups with emotions and relationships, which is a figurative leap based on the role real cups play in our lives.

The cup is the vessel we use to hold water or wine. Without liquid, we would die within a week, as opposed to going without food, which will kill after about 45-60 days. (According to sources found online). The vessel that delivers liquid, then, becomes symbolic of life-giving properties.

The cup represents the essence of nourishment -- physical, spiritual, emotional, and nowadays we would add psychological.

The cup represents fulfilment in all those areas, and the people and circumstances that deliver that fulfilment to us.

It's not the cup so much as what's in the cup. An empty cup is useless. The emblems of the other suits are tools in and of themselves. You can cut things with a sword, hit things with a stick, and buy things with a coin, but you can't do anything with a cup, if there's nothing to put in it. It can only fulfil its role if it has something to contain. Though I suppose you could rightly say, you can't cut if there's nothing to cut, hit if there's nothing to hit, or buy if there's nothing to buy. However, there's one other point about the cups suit. With the other emblems, you use them as a tool to act upon something outside yourself, but with the cup, you use it as a tool to deliver something inTO yourself. It is thus instantly more intimate. And that's another reason to associate it with internal things, like love, emotion, spirituality and psychology.

Havdala receptacle 
The Ace of Cups in the Tarot de Marseille, though, doesn't look much like a cup. It certainly doesn't resemble the cups found in the pip cards. What is that thing?

Containers of holy relics
It's something called a 'reliquary', or a container of holy relics, in the Catholic tradition. Similar looking vessels are also used to contain spices in the Jewish Havdala ceremony to mark the end of the Sabbath. Here the cup is elevated to its most spiritual level of meaning.

We can see, then, how other emblems are mostly concerned with conflicting with others, while the cup is concerned with communing with others, both in the earthly and the heavenly realms. The cup is nourishment to the body, nourishment to relationships, and nourishment to the spirit as we use it to connect to others and to our gods.

Like reliquaries and havdala receptacles, the Ace of Cups has an architectural quality. It looks like a building! It resembles a castle with turrets. On a mundane level, the Ace of Cups can represent a house, for this reason. It can also be seen as a connection between the earthly and the divine, just as the receptacles serve as earthly homes for divine objects in the Catholic and Jewish traditions.

The question that springs to mind in response to this card as a daily draw is this: How is your home a source of comfort and love to you? How can you make your home a more loving place?


  1. A fascinating exploration of the suit emblems as tools! And I love your questions at the end. Filling the house with friends today :) You'll be missed...

    1. I have to work today and tomorrow! Still, gotta earn cash to pay for that new home. :)