“Is this love, or is it just confusion?”

Jimi Hendrix could have been channeling a dysfunctional 2 of Cups when he wrote the lyrics to “Love or Confusion:”

Oh my head is pounding pounding
Going ’round and ’round and ’round and ’round
Must there always be these colors?
Without names without sound?
My heart burns with feelin’ but
Oh but my mind is cold and reeling
Is this love, or is it just confusion?

Everyone loves to see the 2 of Cups come up in a relationship reading. What could be better than a one-on-one romantic connection with no external distractions, right? But – and it’s a big but – the Number Two is more like a swinging pendulum than a fixed point in time and space (that’s the Ace). Two is reciprocal and compensatory, and only achieves stability briefly when the pendulum passes through bottom dead center. Everything else is give-and-take, back-and-forth, up-and-down, off-and-on, all the invigorating shades of human interaction that keep things fresh and stimulating. If and when the clock begins to wind down on the novelty, the relationship can begin to feel stale and narrow, inviting the Three to open the door to outside influences. There is a good reason why the 3 of Cups is often read as showing a romantic threesome – the blush of new love has departed and one (or both) of the partners craves excitement.

If I see the 2 of Cups as romance at all, I view it as a brand-new love that has not yet worn any ruts in the path. When they almost inevitably appear, those comfortable but treacherous ruts become like a rail keeping the “love train” from jumping the tracks. The friction of ennui becomes insidious and sooner or later the effort to keep moving forward in unison becomes greater than the allure of the destination. The challenge then is to find ways to use the energy of the Three creatively as a couple to break the grip of stultifying habit rather than welcoming it as an enticing diversion. The Threes are creative and progressive, expanding horizons and offering opportunity, but they don’t just hand over the goods. If the imaginative reach of the partnership has atrophied due to mutual disinterest, the 2 of Cups becomes a trap. It’s at this point that many relationships unravel. I call it the “tick-tock” effect: it’s only a matter of time..

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