Court Card Thumbnails: The King of Cups

The Minor Arcana: The King of Cups


Fire of Water; The Lord of the Waves and the Waters; The King of the Hosts of the Sea

Astrological Correspondence:

21° Aquarius to 21° Pisces


Golden Dawn “Liber T” (S.L. Mathers):

Graceful, poetic, Venusian, but enthusiastic if roused. Ill-dignified, he is sensual, idle and untruthful.”

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot (A.E. Waite):

Fair man, man of business, law or divinity; responsible, disposed to oblige the Querent.; also equity, art and science, including those who profess science, law and art; creative intelligence.”

The Book of Thoth (Aleister Crowley):

He is graceful, dilettante, with the qualities of Venus, or a weak Jupiter. He is amiable in a passive way. He is quick to respond to attraction, and easily becomes enthusiastic under such stimulus; but he is not very enduring. He is exceedingly sensitive to external influence, but with no material depth in his character.”


As a person involved in the situation, the King of Cups represents an agreeable and sensitive older man, emotionally comfortable in his own skin but not especially stimulating to be around. He represents a sympathetic ear rather than a stout comrade-at-arms in time of need.

The predominant association with the sign of Pisces yields a dreamy, intuitive and kind-hearted disposition that is all too prone to soft-hearted (and sometimes soft-headed) dithering. Although the Aquarius backdrop shows noble intentions, Pisces can be weak on follow-through. The characteristic directness of a King in the least forthright of the Water signs makes for an uneasy match. This King wrote the book on “passive/aggressive.” Like any monarch, he knows exactly what he wants but is more circuitous in his approach to it, and can be exasperating in his tendency to vacillate. He may at times seem disengaged and moody.

As an attitude or behavior of the seeker, the King of Cups advises maintaining an even keel and not overreacting to circumstances. A pleasant demeanor and gracious manner backed by a firm resolve are keys to getting your way in the situation at hand.

As an impersonal influence upon one’s life, it suggests a placid, rather benign interlude.

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