All of the characters in my tarot cards have sad faces. Am I only pulling the sad ones or just seeing them that way? And if so, why would I be homing in on the disquiet, dissatisfaction and nostalgia when there is so much summer left in the sky?
Perhaps it is the storm that is brewing, the turn of the temperature, the feeling of moisture in the air? I have always been deeply connected to the environment, my energy affected by it’s constant shifts. When there is no light or heat; damp that is pervading: I wither away. I need favourable weather and plenty of sunshine in order to thrive.
It might also be related to my recent departure from all things Virtue and Valentine? I feel drawn – for the moment – towards archetypes. It is easier to read a man’s face, pet a dog, get up on a horse, step into a cup or wield a stick then flap along with a dragon, angel or fairy; they seem so much more tangible. No offence to our winged friends.
Or else, simply the basic need for a change of energy to challenge, wake, force out, etc… into a space where it is necessary to face one’s fears? Ejected from the slumber of stagnation, the apathy of security: we, both you and I, confront ourselves anew – realising and realigning, reintegrating and releasing, repairing and remodelling; rising from the flames.
Is there a phoenix in my life? Or am I embodying its essence, taking its message to heart?
Whatever the reason: it is delivering interesting and fresh insights on old cards, something I enthusiastically embrace.
OVERVIEW: THE SUIT OF CUPS
As a Suit, the Cups represents our heart, emotions, feelings and mental well-being, determining the quality of our inter-personal relationships, interactivity with others and connection to the surrounding world.
As an Energy, the Cups are impulsive, passionate, powerful, spontaneous, erratic, unpredictable, hopeless, hapless, helpless, honest, optimistic, imaginative, romantic, fluid and subject to ups and downs.
As an Element, they are water.
As a Season, spring.
As People, Cups are highly sensitive, they feel everything – picking up on the slightest atmospheric shift, sensing the mood of a room, sentiment of an object. They can read you like a book. The news hurts. They find it hard to accommodate pain. They make great confidants, healers and friends but often give out too easily and need to pay attention to this, especially if nothing is coming back. They are survivors because they believe that everything happens for a reason. Their optimism and faith make them universally wise and resilient. But they wound easily. They also scare and take offence – running from relationships, friendships, situations and jobs. Hiding their head in the sand, they seek to evade and avoid: circling, stalling, taking the long way around. They often lose things that are precious, either through misguided selflessness and over-generousity or fear. Their life is not as big as it could have been. Their biggest adversaries are doubt, guilt, unworthiness, low self-esteem and lack of self-love. They also dislike conflict, chastisement, rejection, recrimination, punishment and confrontation. They hate to feel bad. They have a tendency to self-punish and hold others in higher regard than themselves. They are in or out, on or off, all or nothing…
OVERVIEW: THE KNIGHT
A knight is a servant, soldier, hero, warrior, messenger, traveller, pilgrim, vagrant, adventurer, seeker, survivor and thriver. Patient and steadfast, and good at following rules: he can take charge, pull together and take the lead. He works hard for what he believes in and he is devout. He fights for country and king. He prays and trusts in the protection he receives. His energy is that of action, vitality, mobility, passion, impulse, initiation, curiosity, question, enthusiasm, determination, activity and restlessness. He is archetypal of motion – e-motion, emotion, energy in motion.
– THE KNIGHT OF CUPS:
The Knight of Cups carries a gift. He is bringing something new into your life: something that you lack, something which you need. It is most likely of a romantic or spiritual nature. But this does not mean that it cannot also be a lesson, opportunity, windfall or reprieve, freedom from that which has been restraining you. His presence is an invitation for action and change in your life, prompting you to reach out and embrace it.
IN DEPTH ANALYSIS: THE CARD AS A COMPLETE PICTURE…
Looking now at the card as a complete picture, encompassing the meaning and energy of both the cup and the knight: the Knight of Cups speaks of a journey almost done. The knight has been travelling for a long time, fought many battles, lost comrades, companions and friends. He has been hit, struck, kicked, stabbed and covered in blood. He almost lost his horse, and she him. Because of this, they are inseparable, like soul mates or twin flames. Despite being exhausted: both are jubilant. They are alive, they were successful, they achieved what they set out to do; they expect a joyful reunion, much thanks and time to rest.
In his left hand * the knight carries a valuable treasure, an important asset and the key to what comes next. In his possession, it will help the King and Queen to: carry out their goals, furnish desires, improve the overall quality of the kingdom. He is at peace with this: it feels good to serve: all he has ever wanted to be was a servant; it saddens him when there is upset in the world, when the land is unhappy. If he can do something to make it a better place, easier to live with: his life is complete.
* see later breakdown for an in-depth analysis of what the left hand symbolises
But why did the knight choose to be a knight and not a butcher, baker, farmer, farrier, sailor, tailor, artist, monk, etc., and what was his motivation?
• Does he desire adventure, stimulation, something bigger?
• Is looking to outrun, leave behind or escape?
• Is searching for the answer to the spiritual question, ‘why am I here?’
• Is he seeking deliverance from his sins or filling in an empty life?
• Perhaps, like the Prodigal Son, he is returning home after years of wandering
having tried out multiple careers along the way?
To get a closer look, let’s break it down into pieces.
A cup is a tool, a container, a vessel. A nice cup could be an award, a gift or an object of beauty. Kings and queens are famed for their use of cups, especially golden goblets. And what of the Holy Grail: of all the symbols of the quest for spiritual illumination, the Holy Grail is the most prized. In one’s possession: it can raise the dead, heal all wounds and turn a wasteland into a paradise of perpetual bounty.
In the Bible, a cup is thought to embody grace and salvation or damnation and wrath. It is part of the Holy Communion: it’s contents, the wine, symbolic of Christ’s blood.
A cup helps us to satiate our thirst, celebrate an occasion, feed another, share tea. A cup can conceal secrets and surprises; hold a spell, a potion; contain a remedy or a poison. A cup can be one of many, or entirely alone.
We use cups every day. We are comfortable with lifting, filling, holding, washing, making and breaking them, etc. We trust them to do their job without letting us down. They are ordinary and they are special. They are mainstream and unique.
– THE CUP AS THE GRAIL:
If we consider the cup as the Holy Grain, the knight its seeker and finder; then (in this card) he is returning home after having successfully completed his quest. He will have passed various tests, sought out guides, received visions, translated dreams… He will have travelled far and faced many difficulties and adversaries. He has probably killed a mountain lion, as well as a dragon or two and, perhaps, competing men. But in order to have won and secured this illusive commodity, he must have done away with his former self, rebirthed his soul and embraced the characteristics of acceptance, patience, compassion, humility, justice and grace. He must have died, essentially, and reawakened: his heart pure, his body an open vessel.
If we view the knight as external: a situation, energy, circumstance or person; then he is a messenger, denoting the arrival of something which may or may not be perceived as a gift.
• Perhaps he brings news of a loved one, an invitation to an event,
word of a marriage or birth?
• Perhaps he brings renewed health, spiritual enlightenment, an
• Or the arrival of a new relationship?
Welcome things that make us joyful.
But he can also bring us sad news, like an accident, separation, tragedy or death. And bad news, like an unexpected bill, a legal summons or a termination.
When we receive, we allow something outside of us in; something we did not necessarily invite. And with this, we shift the energy around us and even our path. Good news can lift us to new heights and achievements. Bad news send us into a hole.
• Think about the post and how you feel when it arrives.
• Contemplate the power of those packages and that of the
individual who sent them.
• Do you like your postman? (he is, after all,
your most prevalent messenger)
In the Bible, the angels Gabriel, Michael and Lucifer serve as ‘Agents for God‘; Mary was visited by the Angel Gabriel and told she was with child; Moses saw God via the burning bush and was instructed to save his people; Abraham received orders to sacrifice his only son, and Jesus was tempted by the Devil. Politicians meet with other politicians to broker peace and threaten war. A friend comes to visit and cheers you up; a relative and perhaps you feel bad. The visitor might be other things, like the wind and the rain; a migraine, cold, cut, mosquito bite…
It is a weighty job to be a messenger: to hold so much power in a single body.
Messengers can reveal things like death, desertion, departure, infidelity, deception, eviction, termination. As well as awards, prizes, commitments, publications, contracts and sales.
Messengers of bad news are often hated. Messengers of good news are welcomed with open arms. Messages we are expecting are okay – like packages from Amazon and Christmas gifts. But surprises and unexpected arrivals can be difficult and challenging.
The knight of Cups is an important messenger, for he carries a potent gift. Cups contain things and his holds the stuff of legends. What he brings will transform lives; elevate the King, granting him immortality, infinite wisdom, salvation from sin, renewed health; save or kill a man, curse or redeem him. And yet, the knight is forced to give it away. He has gone out in search of it; he has endured many trials, passed difficult tests, risked his life and sacrificed his family… For what? He keeps nothing, only the lessons learned along the way.
So a messenger can also be a servant, a soldier, a preacher and a follower.
• Are there any messengers in your life right now?
• What might they be trying to tell you?
• Are they welcome or resented?
– THE KNIGHT INTERNAL:
If the knight is you, consider how you process information.
• Do you work in an office and people the phone?
• Do you sit at a desk and interact via SMS and email?
• Do you predict the weather, stock market, betting odds?
• Do you write articles for a publication or blog?
• Do you teach, perform or act?
• Are you a judge, lawyer, bus driver, social worker,
ad-man or salesman?
• Do you pray and receive guidance from God?
• Do you work with your intuition:
– or angels and guides?
– or speak to the departed?
• Are you a healer: doctor, dentist, counsellor, therapist,
social worker, homeopath, physiotherapist, etc?
• Are you a parent, sibling, relative or friend?
• Do you watch the news and share or relay what you have
learned with a third party?
• Do you read a book and then recant or retell that story?
• Do you carry gossip?
• Do you make things up?
• Are you kind, gentle, patient and encouraging?
• Or are you blunt, tormenting, cruel and stern?
Work out what kind of messenger you are. Then work out how you share/transmit the messages you receive. And look at how you respond to others when they send information your way.
• Are you a ready receiver?
• Or are you closed?
• Do you welcome information, help, advice, interference?
• Or do you shy away from it, fearful or resentful of the power it contains?
Then, work out what the knight is telling you about your attitude towards sending and receiving and how he might be prompting you to act.
• What do you have to let go of?
• What do you need to embrace?
• What do you need to strengthen?
• What do you need to reduce?
Follow his lead and balance the imbalances in your life. Moderate your energy.
The knight is riding with the reigns in his right hand and the cup in his left, his arm extended. The cup is proffered as a gift. He carries it carefully, as if it is of the upmost value; as if its contents might spill easily if not mindfully observed. There is feeling of intense focus and responsibility. While he might have been the one to venture out and find it, passing numerous challenges and tests, and as such be its rightful owner: he is a servant of the crown and it is not his.
If you are right-handed, then the left hand is the hand that receives energy: from the Universe, the earth, objects and others. If you are a healer, you use this hand to remove dis-ease and illness and other unwanted things. It is the hand that rests on a desk or your lap when you write, the hand that eats while the other serves. As your non-dominant hand, it is the weaker hand, the less dexterous one, the hand you neglect; the appendage you dismiss and fail to celebrate.
This tells us that while the knight is definitely bringing something towards us, something that feels positive and useful, something we want, something important to the continued growth and expansion of our lives, and that it is symbolic of a new energy coming in; he is also taking something for himself. He is a servant and a messenger, but he is also a man of the world and wise: he would not have survived this long without making sure that his needs are also met.
• What can he teach us about taking and giving?
• How might we reflect upon this energy in regards to how we feed ourselves:
physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually in our own lives?
• Do you over-give or over-take?
• As a person, are you independent or needy?
Universally, the horse is a symbol of freedom without restraint, because riding a horse makes people feel like they can free themselves from their own bindings. Horses represent your energy or drive to express your authentic self and succeed in life.
The horse is also a symbol for femininity, specifically in regard to sexual expression. Depending on the scenario, the horse could represent repressed or flourishing sexuality or your ability to overcome obstacles in life.
The horse is also a symbol of travel, movement, strength, determination, power, confidence, speed, grace, companionship, servitude, trust and adventure and shows us that we can harness our own energy (or nature’s) to serve us and take us further.
The white horse is a symbol for developing awareness of your instincts and intuition. In some cultures it stands for balance and wisdom. In others, it is always a white horse that carries a hero.
The Fish represents the subconscious, emotions, healing and purification. It also represents movement and independence. As a symbol it connects us with the emotional side of ourselves and symbolises our ability to be wise without being strategic; to simply respond instinctively, without the need for debate or analysis.
And like the horse, the fish is also a symbol of the feminine; only here she serves not as a sexual energy but as a reminder to love and nurture ourselves, accepting and releasing, reconnecting to and reawakening so that we might swim more freely.
In some cultures fish are considered sacred and represent change and transformation. In many religions, they are part of a sacramental meal and Catholics eat fish on Friday’s. In the bible, they represent the ‘Christ Consciousness‘ and the disciples were often referred to as ‘fishers of men‘: man being the fish swimming in an ocean of sin.
Some other interpretations for fish include: transformation, enlightenment, knowledge, deeper awareness, intelligence and thought, creativity, fertility, birth and rebirth, prosperity, abundance, good luck, happiness, faith, determination and adaptability.
The Knight of Cups _ as a card _ is a messenger and an invitation. It indicates the arrival of something of emotional benefit, possibly a new relationship, or deep, meaningful love – of self or of other; and opens up the way for solid manifestation: dreams made real, fantasies realised, romantic notions solidified, adventures embarked upon, ideas balanced with action, words with results.
Scraping away the veneer you have placed on top of the darkness that lurks _ unmoving and somnolent _ within: it is telling you to pause to assess and alter your behaviour.
Notably, to stop:
• living in Fairyland
• pinning your hopes on winning the lottery, and other such romantic intangibles
• waiting for someone to rescue you
• envying what other people have
• dreaming about Porches and Ferraris
• making excuses as to ‘why not’
• resenting your life and bemoaning your misfortunes/disadvantages
• lounging around and feeling sorry for yourself
• burying your head in the sand
• feeling ‘not good enough’
• putting it off until tomorrow
• getting distracted
• whingeing and whining
• doing everything else but
• saying ‘yes’ to everyone but yourself
• letting life pass you by
• think bigger
• be braver
• get motivated
• get out there and do it
• heal your emotional wounds
• release the past
• let go of resentment and regret
• live your life fully _ as if today were the only day you had
The key to the Knight of Cups is in the cup. Work out what is in the cup and who the knight pertains to, and you work out the message and moral contained.
Essentially though, the card is a call to action, an alarm to wake up: out of reverie, out of fantasy, out of fear, procrastination, avoidance and denial.
Years ago you set out on a journey, intending to bring home a certain holy treasure. Somewhere along the way you got lost and forgot, and ever since you have been wandering. You have managed to convince yourself that you are living your life, that you are trying your hardest and working hard. And you do work very hard, daily. But in your confusion and overwhelm, you are working in the wrong direction, circling instead of approaching the desired goal.
Take yourself back to the beginning; recall what it was you wanted; pick up the pieces you have dropped and then return to where you are. With this new information reassess your journey and your destination and rewrite the map.
Try to do one thing a day towards making your dreams a reality. Record your victories and reward your failures. Failing means you have tried, no matter what the results. Chart your progress and at the end of every week look back over your achievements. Pretty soon you will see that you are moving and that this movement feels both expansive and good. You have reignited the adventure, risen from the flames, utilised the cup.
You have read this article and found these cards today because they are meant to guide you. Honour yourself with the permission and freedom to really appreciate that.
This means reading through the article again from the beginning and taking the time to record your thoughts. Then, looking back over these notes and the card on a regular basis to check in, using this disciplined exercise as your motivation to implement the necessary modifications and changes in your life.
To do this:
- Write down the answers to all of the questions in this article, then think about how those answers apply to you.
- Do your own reading of the cards and compare your answers to the questions in the article to your reading of the cards.
- Make a list of the main points, those that strike you as important.
- Check back in with your notes, first daily and then weekly, to inspire change and healing in your life.
- Ask yourself where you need healing, where you need help, where you need balance and where you need love, then commit to spending half an hour each day towards working to achieve this.
If this article has stirred things up for you or made you realise there are things in your life you would like to resolve, please feel free to visit my contact page or email me me to discuss both these and the possibility of our working together in the future.
Or, to book an appointment directly, see my contact page.
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