Ace of Cups
Keywords: joy, abundance, overflowing, love, positivity, emotion, beauty, pleasure, fertility
The Ace of Cups is a card of great abundance. It shows a cup being balanced on God’s hand, overflowing with five streams of water, filling the lake below, which is filled with green lotus flowers. The lotuses are symbols of wisdom and eternal life. Above the cup, a dove, representing peace and the Holy Spirit, delivers a host marked by a cross. If you see this card, Divinity has come down from the celestial worlds to bless you.
On the Ace of Cups we see an upside M and the dove of the Holy Spirit bearing a symbol of the Host, the wafer in the Catholic ritual of communion, representing the body of Christ. The upside M and cross is a reference to a symbol that would be familiar to two Catholics like Waite and Smith, the Miraculous Medal, a symbol of the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
In 1830 Sister Catherine, a young Seminary Sister of the Daughters of Charity, had a vision from the Mother Mary about creating a medal with the symbol of an M and a Cross, so that it could be distributed to Catholics everywhere.
In addition to the M and cross symbol, there were two hearts at the bottom of the medal, one with a crown of thorns and one pierced by a sword. The heart with thorns is the Heart of Jesus and the heart pierced by a sword is the Heart of Mother Mary. The symbol of the heart being pierced by a sword is also seen again in the Three of Swords.
This idea of the holy heart is alluded to in the Pictorial Key when Waite gives the divinatory meaning as “House of the true heart.”
Waite further says that the water flowing from the Cup is an “intimation of what which may lie behind the Lesser Arcana.” Perhaps this is the same river which flows in the background of so many Minor Arcana cards, which itself has origins in the Ace of Cups as well as the High Priestess.
The Ace of Cups has feminine energy. It signifies joy and happiness. The blue colors a depth to the well of emotion. The cups have to do with our emotional balance.
If you see the Ace of Cups, it indicates that you are in a position to receive an overflow of emotional goodness. It signals good tidings. But you have to be ready for it. You don’t want to get drunk on too much emotion, to be awash in too much emotional energy. While it is certainly a good sign, it has to be tempered by reason as well. Unchecked emotional energy will only drain us eventually.
When I see this card, I see hope. I see happiness in life and relationships. Everything is happy. It is about being blessed. It is hard to not be happy when we get the Ace of Cups in our lives. Who doesn’t want to blessed with emotional positivity? To be marked by the Divine as being a recipient of pleasure? It’s a good feeling.
The Ace of Cups in the Thoth Tarot is psychedelic in design, a blue Holy Grail spilling over with radiant waves of power and potential.
Being the Holy Grail, the waves are both red and blue, representing the capacity of the water to turn into blood (and wine) and vice versa. Accordingly, there is a thickness to the water that speaks to this quality of holy blood.
Above the cup descends the holy ghost, the spirit of Kether descending into the pure receptivity of Water.
Crowley says, “This card represents the element of Water in its most secret and original form. It is the feminine complement of the Ace of Wands, and is derived from the Yoni and the Moon exactly as that is from the Lingam and the Sun.”
From Book T – The Root of the Powers of Water
A white radiant Angelic Hand, issuing from clouds, and supporting on the palm thereof a cup, resembling that of the Stolistes. From it rises a fountain of clear and glistening water: and sprays falling on all sides into clear calm water below, in which grow Lotuses and Water-lilies. The great Letter of the Supernal Mother is traced in the spray of the Fountain. It symbolizes Fertility — productiveness, beauty, pleasure, happiness, etc.