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King of Cups

A description and interpretation of the role of The King of Cups in the Tarot

In a nutshell...


  • balance

  • manipulation


General overview

The King of Cups is a court card in the minor arcana. As such, the card offers cartomancy fans the opportunity to make a precise analysis of this just and caring person. This is not always the case when you want to deal with the minor arcana which are less popular, or perhaps only less studied, than the major arcana.

Unlike the cards of the King of Wands or the King of Swords, two fairly young characters, this card depicts a mature man sitting on a throne, his beard indicating his great wisdom. The character seems to exude a certain gentleness, especially because of his serene leftward gaze and his blue clothes, a color traditionally associated with the world of emotions and intuition.

In his right hand the King of Cups has a long cup, with a relatively narrow open top. For an unexplained reason, his eyes focus away from it, i.e., to the right hand side of the card. This attitude could at first sight be surprising. However, it doesn't mean that the character is turning away from it but rather that he has deep knowledge of the mysteries it contains. He can now use this wisely, without needing to be attached to it. The King of Cups seduces through his mastery and experience.

He is sometimes considered the most noble King of the tarot, a symbol of the achievement of benevolent power directed through love and empathy. The folded hat that he wears under his crown also points up to the sky.

Above all, true tenderness is restrained power.


  • from an emotional viewpoint

    The King of Cups is associated with a fulfilled emotional and love life. The character is always considered as the very emblem of stability and benevolence. In a romantic relationship, this can result in a lasting union in which empathy, mutual respect and tenderness will play a fundamental role. The King of Cups is a loving man, surrounding his clan with all the affection that its members need to flourish.

  • from a career viewpoint

    In the professional field, the King of Cups is associated with qualities that are particularly beneficial for the seeker's career development. So he exercises a paternal domination over his team, resulting from his legendary empathy and his ability to lead troops and understand their objectives. His natural charisma allows him to charm without ever frightening, in an approach that will remind some of the principle of soft power.

  • from a life path viewpoint

    In a life path analysis, the King of Cups encourages the seeker to get closer to their emotions and develop the qualities of empathy, respect and love that make human life richer. Under his auspices, humanitarian causes and social actions are particularly favored. Thanks to him, it will become easier for the seeker to understand the emotions their family is experiencing and, if necessary, to provide support and advice.

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    Its influence

    • short-term

      The King of Cups encourages you to get closer to your emotions and stop living your life on automatic pilot. By understanding what really drives you, it will be easier for you to accept who you are and to act in accordance with your true values.

    • long-term

      In the long run, the King of Cups emphasizes the importance that relationships have in a fulfilling life for you. In a world that emphasizes individualism, your ability to connect with the people around is a valuable asset that you should look after like the valuable jewel it is.

    Full interpretation

    Interpretation of The King of Cups upright

    Among all the characters of the Tarot, the King of Cups certainly presents the most powerful emotional balance. It is the perfect symbiosis between instinct, creativity and affect. Profoundly touched by the joys and happiness of others, the main values of this character are empathy and generosity. For the seeker, drawing the King of Cups means that perhaps they are now mature enough to know what really matters in life and experienced enough to live in perfect harmony with the principles they believe in. While some tend to be overwhelmed by emotions and others prefer to bury them deep inside, the King of the Cups allows the seeker to accept them for what they are, without them becoming too important. When a difficulty arises, it will be easier for them to really understand the situation and find a solution quickly.

    The King of Cups is also widely associated with the beautiful quality of benevolence. When you seek his company, it is partly thanks to the advice he gives and the serenity that emanates from him. Not only has the old man learned to control the flow of his emotions for his own well-being, he also wants to share his lessons with those around him. The King of Cups is a deeply human character, believing in sharing and the happiness of others.

    Interpretation of The King of Cups reversed

    When drawn upside down, the King of Cups doesn't usually have a good press, for perfectly understandable reasons, as you will see. This draw speaks of a person totally absorbed by their emotions and particularly difficult for their family to deal with. They sense their deep weaknesses and won't hesitate to manipulate anyone who crosses their path in order to achieve their ends. At the slightest misdemeanor, the inverted King of Cups will explode in violent anger, frightening everyone around him. When he feels betrayed, he won't wait to plot revenge. Needing to control others emotionally, he turns out to be a toxic person.