The Queen of Cups

The Queen of Cups - Tarot Card from the Rider-Waite Deck

Representing the maternal nature; the Queen of Cups represents self-love and devotion. Our life experience gained, our knowledge practiced, our wisdom spread; the Queen of Cups represents the connection to the self, and the devotion to nurturing our spirit so that we may tend to others.

In the upright state the Queen of Cups emphasises the need to continue to invest in our own lives; whilst we may love and be loved by others, and whilst we may cultivate fruitful relationships with others, we cannot nurture without tending to our own nature first.

In the inverted state the Queen of Cups represents an imbalance in this relationship, an undue or unearned obligation to others which has left us in the debt of others’ expectations that we cannot fulfil for we have not taken the time to nurture the self.

In the Rider-Waite deck the source of our attempts to nurture the self is depicted as a Christian Tabernacle held in the hand of the Queen. In Catholic tradition and Christendom more widely pre-reformation the Tabernacle named for the building of Jewish tradition, represents the vessel or residence of the Holy Spirit. Christian churches would contain a Tabernacle which would be locked and serve as the symbolic place within the church where the Holy Spirit would reside.

In the Queen of Cups card, this tabernacle represents the place we must create for the spirit to reside; sat upon a throne at the line of the shore before a body of water, with bountiful fruits at her feet, the Queen’s focus is fixed on the Tabernacle emphasising the need for us to focus on our spiritual health as much as we would our physical health.

The throne of the Queen is adorned with cherubs, two above her head, and one below her cape. Cherubs represent adoration most often associated with a Mother’s Love and loss, although in the case of Cupid they represent romantic love. The two cherubs above the Queen regard the Tabernacle in awe, whilst the one below holds in their hand a fish taken from the sea, this could portend the loss of a loved one.

Of all the cards of the Tarot, this is the only one in which literal death may be predicted and is often overlooked. As with Peter in the Knight of Cups whose robe was adorned with fish, representing Christ’s nomenclature of Peter as a Fisher of Men, the fish metaphorically represents humanity. The Queen of Cups could also metaphorically represent the loss of a loved one to a fundamental change within them, not a literal death.

It's important to stress here that although the Tarot can be used for divination, they are said to predict potential futures which can be avoided, be very careful in how you relate this potential meaning to a querent as it is not likely to be received well.

In self-reflection the Queen of Cups serves as a prompt to consider your environment and reflect on what enhances your relationship and to try and amplify those elements and minimise the impact of the elements of your environment that negatively impact your relationship.

Ask yourself “When are we happiest together?” and “What makes things more difficult than they need to be?” - Where this relates to your emotions and feelings the question instead asks “What impact is this environment having on me and how I feel about myself?” and “Can I remove myself from this environment?” if the answer to the previous question is negative.

Removing yourself from your environment in this context means to put distance between you and the sources of negativity, that distance can either be physical distance by going for a walk or moving to another place which has a more positive influence, or it can be emotional distance which is achieved by focusing your energy and efforts on something else that requires emotional attachment.

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