Suit: Suit of Cups
Card Type: Minor Arcana
Tarot Element: Water
Star Sign: Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio
Angel: Archangel Gabriel
Key Meaning: Time To Act On Your Life Purpose
The King of Cups in your reading means – now is the time to do something about your life purpose. You have enough knowledge to move to the next phase.
A to Z: List of Tarot Cards
King of Cups Keywords
🥰 Upright: Calm, wise advice, maturity, peacemaker
😒 Reversed: Exhaustion, indecision, conspiracy theories
King of Cups Description
This description is based on the Rider Waite Tarot Deck. The King sits on his throne, managing to stay calm despite the rough waters. This is someone who has his emotions under control, he has managed to navigate life’s ups and downs. A dolphin jumps out of the water, the fish is considered a symbol of spiritual awareness. He holds a cup in his hand, the same cup we saw in the Ace of Cups. Whatever began some time ago – perhaps as a curiosity or idea, is now ready to be shared with others.
All Kings represent ‘time for action’. While Knights also represent movement and action, usually the Knight reflects external events – things happening to you or around you. The King however means you need to instigate the action, you need to get the ball rolling. As Cups refer to emotions and spiritual life, the King of Cups encourages you to do what you love, follow your soul song. In comparison, the King of Wands encourages creative pursuits, the King of Swords represents intellectual pursuits and the King of Pentacles represent physical pursuits.
Court Card Personality Traits
This King is a mature man who has achieved something in his life. He is sociable, warm hearted and loyal. He is emotionally intelligent and the leader of his feelings rather than an obedient follower. When he was younger, he was more open to emotions and learned some valuable lessons.
While he does feel empathy for those around him, he tends to listen without becoming upset himself. He is a good counselor and peacemaker. As a therapist, he has patients. As a father he has children, as a grandfather, grandchildren. He wants to be a good listener, attentive and understanding. This King is refined and sophisticated, and appreciates the finer things in life. His astrological sun or rising sign is Pisces, Scorpio or Cancer. Read more about Tarot court cards.
LOVE: What does The King of Cups Mean when You Ask About Love?
When the King of Cups turns up in a love reading, the meaning will depend on whether or not you are in a relationship.
💖 If you asked will I find love? – then this card is a straight forward yes. You will meet someone who has the traits of the King of Cups.
💖 You are most likely to meet your King by acting on your life purpose. Your paths will cross along the way. Occasionally, this card can mean meeting someone through volunteering or charity work.
💖 If you are in a relationship, then this card can mean counseling can help improve problems. Or it may simply mean, you need to spend more quality time together, listening to each other.
CAREER: What does This Card Signify When You Ask About Work?
If your question relates to work, business, career or study and you receive the King of Cups, then the guidance is:
⭕ Now is the time to work at something which fills you with joy. Sometimes this King turns up when we face a choice of doing more of the same, or taking a risk and doing what makes our heart sing.
⭕ If you are trying to choose between studying something that ‘makes practical sense’ or something that makes your heart sing, listen to your heart.
⭕ Jobs associated with the King of Cups include healing, teaching, social work, writing, public speaking, law, arts and science. As there is a ship in the card, occasionally it means working on boats or in the fishing industry.
⭕ As our King’s throne is in the middle of the sea – he can ‘float’ around. This is why he represents remote working. If you would like to work remotely, this is a sign that your goal is possible.
MONEY: What is the Meaning of The King of Cups in a Money Reading?
💲 If you asked the Tarot about money and finances, and you receive the King of Cups, it means now is the time to address how you make your money. Living from paycheck to paycheck or spending 8 hours a day doing something that is just ‘OK’, is no longer good enough. When this King turns up, you already know what you must do.
💲 If you asked about a significant purchase, like a house – then look for somewhere near water. As remote work is possible, this may expand your potential search area. In a very few cases, this card means living on water – or buying a boat.
Tarot Card Combination Meanings
“King of Cups combined with 5 of Swords” – Remain calm when others are argumentative.
“King of Cups combined with Four of Pentacles” – Invest in yourself and your career.
“King of Cups combined with The Sun” – Great success when you follow your own wisdom.
HEALTH: What does The King of Cups Mean When You Ask About Health?
The King of Cups can mean, your health will improve when you focus on being of service to others. It may be that you are spending too much time mulling over your own problems, and that you would benefit now from focusing your energy outwards, rather than inward.
Lots of studies show that giving makes us feel better. For example, one study followed a group of retired Swedish people who received massages for three weeks. The following three weeks, they gave massages to other people. The study found, they had less anxiety, depression and significantly lower stress hormones, after giving the massage compared to receiving it. In other words, they benefited more from giving than receiving.
Health and emotional conditions associated with the King of Cups include: male and female menopause, mood swings, sadness, bad breath, kidney stones, tummy cramps.
YES/NO: Does The King of Cups Mean Yes or No in a Reading?
❓ When you ask a Yes or No question and the King of Cups turns up, then the answer is YES.
TIMING: Does The King of Cups Predict any Particular Timeframe?
🕔 The King of Cups is only a timing indication when you specifically asked a timeframe question. For example, if you want to know if something will happen, and when, then you need to draw two separate cards. These are in fact, two separate questions. This is a fundamental principle to understand if you want an accurate tarot reading – and it is core to my teaching in my book Tarot in 5 Minutes.
🕔 Using my timing method, the King of Cups is about 14 months If the card is reversed, timing will be slightly longer – so up to 21 months.
Karina’s Timing Method:
Swords are days. Wands are weeks. Cups are months and Pentacles are years. Please note this is my personal timing method. Feel free to adopt it (or not).
What is the Meaning of The King of Cups Reversed?
When the King of Cups is reversed then he is tossed from his throne and he loses his emotional balance. We don’t even know if he can swim, so will he reclaim his throne?
✔️Your energy is depleted and you need to prioritise your own needs at this time. Do whatever it takes to recover and the world will have to wait.
✔️ If the King of Cups represents a person in your reading, he or she may be showing manipulative behaviour. Be careful.
✔️Other keywords associated with a reversal include: dishonesty, law suit, injustice, bad temper.
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King of Cups Symbolism
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Previous Card: Queen of Cups
Complete List: Tarot Card Meanings
Karina, author of Tarot in 5 Minutes.