In the traditional Tarot there are 22 Major arcana cards and the minor arcana is divided into 4 suits. Wands (sometimes called staffs), Cups, Swords, and Pentacles (coins). Every suit has meaning, particularly if cards from a particular suit show up in abundance throughout a spread or if you find a card from a particular suit “follows” you.
The cups speak of the feelings, emotions, and intuition. When cups show up in abundance it indicates a period of being driven or motivated more by feelings. Cups indicate feeling or intuiting our way through a situation. They can also speak of a time where the questioner will benefit from learning to trust in and follow his/her intuition and inner wisdom. Cups also serve as a reminder to trust in our inner wisdom and not give in to thoughts of fear or anxiety.
In the Tarot there is a natural progression through the suits with the wands being ideas and initiative. The cups follow, representing feelings and intuition and are the second step in the evolution of a course of action. You've moved beyond the inkling or thought and now are starting to feel or gain some insight into what may develop. This is followed by swords being the action and movement cards and the pentacles being the end result or culmination of all the other stages of development.
When cups show up in abundance and they are all or mostly upright it tends to point to your intuition being accurate. You are recognizing the potential in something, feeling abundant, joyful or at peace regarding your choice. Cups upright indicate deep passion and sensitivity, but not the loss of objectivity that sometimes accompanies a lot of reversals. An abundance of cups upright can also tell you to use your creativity to come up with solutions to challenges. Artistic and highly creative people tend to be surrounded by cups a lot.
Many cup reversals can indicate emotional challenges that may impede your intuition or ability to be objective. Reversed cups in abundance tend to suggest the questioner is seeing something as they wish it was, rather than as it truly is. Reversed cups can indicate problems in relationships (romantic or otherwise), not connecting well with others involved in a particular situation, and possible miscommunications. There is a tendency to let one's anxieties take over when cups are imbalanced.
Often these cards will come up reversed when we are too stuck on what we think or feel we want or need, instead of being open to all of our alternatives and opportunities. Often this occurs when we become stuck on ideas, people, or situations that we have outgrown, but refuse to let go.
In future posts, I will cover the individual cards in greater detail and you can see in those interpretations how the suit meanings tie in. If you see a lot of cups in your readings consider your true motivations. Are you seeing things as they really are or as you wish they were? Is your emotional attachment to something causing you to lose objectivity? Are your fears/anxieties causing you to question your true intuition?
Quick Reference (These traits are quite general and will depend on the context of other cards around them etc.)
Positive Traits Associated with Cups
passion, empathy, compassion, intuition, wisdom, faith, hope, trust, recognizing abundance, joy, self-esteem, seeking the higher purpose or meaning behind ones circumstances, connecting well with others.
Challenges Associated with Cups
over emotional, reactive, pessimistic, victim mentality, anxieties that take over, self-sabotage, addictions, manipulative, secretive, distrust, failure to recognize one's own importance.