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The Quest for Emotional Satisfaction – by C.W. Geering, Dip (T.C.)

A.E. Waite had written that the Ace of Cups is the Holy Grail of Arthurian legends. So the suit of Cups is that quest for the happiness and stability we look for in our personal lives. The image that Waite created suggests a strong feminine influence ruling this suit. I feel the five streams feeding into the cup are broken up into two and three; this gives a connection to the High Priestess and the Empress, the two feminine ingredients needed to complete the quest.

Yes, I said feeding into; the cup isn’t overflowing, and it looks quite empty to me. The waters of love and life are filling up the cup, with the dove of peace and grace coming from above. If this cup is the Holy Grail – as A.E. Waite suggests – it is not going to land in your lap full at the beginning of the journey through this suit; it is your desire, your quest for the Ten of Cups. Conversely it can be the end of your quest, leaving the comfort of the Ten of Cups to find something more spiritually satisfying. The Holy Grail was an elusive and testing goal that many of Arthur’s knights failed to realise.

The two strong influences of the High Priestess and the Empress are the two strong and balancing feminine traits that you need to be mindful of in your quest for loving satisfaction. The Cups are linked to the element of water and therefore to the three astrological signs of Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces whose keywords are: I FEEL (Cancer), I DESIRE (Scorpio), and I BELIEVE (Pisces). These progress through the Two, Three, and Four of Cups of “I Feel”; then the Five, Six, and Seven of Cups of “I Desire”; to the conclusion of the Eight, Nine, and Ten of Cups of “I Believe”. However this can be reversed into a challenging journey of rediscovery of the true self.

The challenging journey

The belief that all is well in the rainbow of the Ten of Cups, and the belief that your world is stable and satisfied as shown in the character of the Nine of Cups, can become dissatisfaction in one’s beliefs within the Eight of Cups, which has in part the meaning of “…walking away from success…” This leads to the confusing multiple choices of your desires in the Seven of Cups. Confused, you desire the seeking of advice, wisdom and solace from the past in the Six of Cups, and the desire for rebuilding and organising your desires in the Five of Cups.

The lonely and disillusioned feelings of the character of the Four of Cups is about to get a spiritual helping hand and an offer from an external source. This is the card of motivation and that spark of inspiration. This help leads to feelings of joy in fellowship of friends and being part of a group to break out of the lonely Four and upset Five, a new lease on life. So you approach these new feelings with caution and sensitivity in the Two of Cups, testing the waters. Acceptance of the new challenge allows your feelings of emptiness to be refreshed and refilled with the Ace of Cups.

The satisfying journey

The Two of Cups is those feelings we have to be with someone special, that one person we wish to share with and have those special feelings for. The Three of Cups is those feelings we have to be part of a social group and have that joy from the happy feelings you get from friends. The Four of Cups is those feeling we keep to ourselves, our deep inner feelings, and our sensitive secret side.

The Five of Cups indicates that when our desires overwhelm others around us, they can be destructive to us and to others. The Six of Cups indicates that we seek acceptance and appreciation of our desires from others. The Seven of Cups is an indication of when we become unfocused with too many desires, we start to question what is important to us.

The Eight of Cups is our belief in our ability to move on and start over, a period of reevaluating our feelings and desires and looking for the balance. The Nine of Cups is our belief that we have sorted out our feelings and desires, and our emotions are in control and we have found stability. The Ten of Cups is our belief that we have found our Holy Grail rainbow.


Published in the Journal of the Tarot Guild of Australia Inc. The Magician, #22, Spring 2006
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Magician Issue 22