I was doing some meditative work recently with the suit of Cups. Longtime readers of this blog will know that I am not, by nature, a Cupsy person, and this has always been the suit I’ve struggled most to connect to. So I did some intensive reflection and writing exercises to try and establish a deeper relationship with the suit. It was like pulling teeth.
And then I had a realization, and the heavens opened up before me.
The suit of Cups is a mirror image of the suit of Swords. Card for card, they approach the same thing, but from complementary perspectives. Let’s observe:
The Ace of Swords is the root of all thinking. The Ace of Cups is the root of all feeling.
The Two of Swords is about divergent paths, having to choose to go left or right. The Two of Cups, in contrast, is about conjoining and convergence, two people coming together from different places.
The Three of Swords is heartbreak. The Three of Cups is mirthful celebration.
The Four of Swords is restful and recuperative. The Four of Cups is also a kind of stillness, but is stagnant and oppressive.
The Five of Swords shows us defeat at the hands of others, where we’re undermined and cut down by the people around us. The Five of Cups shows us self-defeat, when we are the authors of our own misery.
The Six of Swords is about moving forward, changing your perspective, and growing through new knowledge. It’s oriented toward the future. The Six of Cups, on the other hand, is oriented toward the past, and it focuses on nostalgia, childhood, and memory.
The Seven of Swords shows us the way we equivocate and deceive others. The Seven of Cups shows us the way we equivocate and deceive ourselves.
The Eight of Swords is about feeling trapped. The Eight of Cups is about being liberated and free enough to walk away from a bad situation.
The Nine of Swords is a card of anguish. The Nine of Cups is a card of joy.
The Ten of Swords gives us ruin and betrayal. The Ten of Cups gives us flourishing in the arms of a loving community.