King of Cups Tarot Card Meaning - Upright, Reversed & More

King of Cups upright

King of Cups At A Glance

Keywords: Emotional maturity, diplomatic, advisor, protector, wise, manipulator, narcissist, anxious, repressed emotions
Season: Winter
Element: Water (emotions)

King of Cups Tarot Card Description

The King of Cups is the highest court card within the minor arcana suit of Cups within a deck of tarot cards. Originally it depicts a regal king seated on a luxurious throne by the sea. He wears a decadent fish-shaped amulet. This fish represents water and a fluidity of emotions. The ocean around him is calm and tranquil suggesting his mind is too.

The equal mix of water and land in the background behind the king shows a balance between the conscious and subconscious. Because land represents the physical body and conscious thoughts we are aware of and water represents our emotions and subconscious thoughts which are beyond our control. Their calmness shows that with The King of Cups there is no conflict between these areas and that they work in perfect harmony.

King of Cups Upright Meaning

Like all court cards The King of Cups represents a person in our lives. Kings and queens represent adults and elders. This card is referring to someone in control of their emotions who has a calm and gentle presence. They may be quiet and contemplative. They don’t speak much but when they do it is often well thought out and wise.

The King of Cups can also refer to ourself and these same attributes which exist within us. When we see this card upright it is asking us to lean more heavily on these attributes at this time.

“There are no friends and no enemies, only teachers.” - Charlotte Maloney

King of Cups Reversed Meaning

King of Cups reversed

When reversed The King of Cups is suggesting that the attributes of this card could be becoming too much to the point of causing harm. What was quiet and gentle when upright may become cold and repressive when reversed. The King of Cup’s emotional maturity when upright could be used to manipulate in the reverse.

Reversed this card may be referring to others with these attributes or it may be speaking about these elements within us. The King of Cups asks us to lean away from these behaviors if we are performing them. If we see these behaviors in others we should talk about them as soon as we notice them.

“Emotional immaturity is searching for love outside you. Emotional maturity comes from realizing you are the source of love.” - Collette O'Mahony

King of Cups: Yes or No

The King of Cups is a yes card when upright. It says we have reached a level of emotional maturity that means we can handle what the ‘yes’ would bring to us.

If reversed it is a maybe. It says we may need to work through our emotions either before or during this opportunity so that we can handle the tasks as they are given to us.

Let’s Break Down the King of Cups In Our Lives

How the cards in tarot can change in reference to different parts of our lives.

King of Cups In Love

To receive the highest Cups card in a love question is a very positive sign. For single people it can mean meeting someone who is compassionate, gentle and quiet. Someone who is a deep thinker but also funny and kind. If in a relationship this means the communication between partners deepens and the love between them grows as a result of this. Reversed we may accidentally find ourselves in a relationship with someone who displays narcissistic tendencies.

Which could lead us to a situation where we are emotionally manipulated or taken advantage of. We must protect our own energy at this time and draw clear boundaries. The good people in our lives won’t mind this at all, the only people who won’t like it will be the ones with intentions of crossing our boundaries.

Bad news: there could be conflict on the horizon.
Good news: at least now we can spot them.

King of Cups With Money

Kings are not only figureheads of a monarchy but also strategists and protectors. To receive a king in regards to a money question is very fortuitous. The King of Cups says the path to our fortune will require us to look within and process our emotions regarding recent events. We need a clear head, light heart and open eyes.

Reversed we are being asked not to make any unnecessary purchases at this time because we may not be in a rational head space. Currently we may have emotional factors contributing to temporary bad financial judgement. The King of Cups reversed asks us to shelve the ideas we have and come back to them when the funds are definitely available.

King of Cups At Work

We are being asked to step into a teaching role or a position where we pass down the knowledge we have amassed over the course of our career. This can spark feelings of insecurity and imposter syndrome but they are unfounded. We are good at what we do and our knowledge will outshine our anxiety.

Reversed it says we are not finding our work fulfilling and we are seeking a higher purpose. We might find a role of teaching or training could scratch the itch we have. We need to show our bosses or superiors that this is not a fanciful whim of ours but actually a well-timed business plan which would benefit all at the workplace.

King of Cups With Others

The King of Cups with others asks us to step into the role that a younger person in our life needs us to be. Be the teacher, guardian or parent we needed when we were younger. We don’t need to wait for a level of near perfection with our knowledge before we can start passing it down. We need to begin now because it is needed now.

Reversed we are possibly being manipulated or taken advantage of by someone who holds a level of power or authority over us. Or The King of Cups reversed can suggest we could be doing this to others without realizing it. The advice this card gives us is to be the mature person and resolve the situation without rising to the unnecessary conflict the other person desires.

King of Cups With Self

We are entering a new phase of life where we are more emotionally balanced and mature. We are becoming more self-aware of the emotions which drive us and why we do the things we do which means we are able to shape our lives into our desired life more easily.

Reversed it says we might be struggling to keep our emotions and expectations of ourselves in check. We are highly critical of every aspect of ourselves and this is causing our mental health to spiral downwards. We must stop this negative inner dialogue immediately.

King of Cups As Feelings

The King of Cups feels like knowing ourselves to our very core. Having a deep connection with the universe and our community because we have reached a high level of self-awareness.

We are self-actualized and this means we are aware of why we act the way we do so we can handle tasks and conflict with grace and ease.

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