The minor arcana of the Tarot is set up similarly to a deck of cards--numbered cards one through ten, which correspond traditionally with aspects of numerology in their archetypal meanings. Then what are called the court cards come into play--the page, the knight, the queen and the king. These sixteen court cards come to represent personality types and the people in and around your life. When we talk about personality types, most of us identify those kind of things by psychological tests, like Myers-Briggs, for example. These personalities are ones you know, they surround you constantly. And if I were to describe the personality of any court card, you would more than likely be able to think of someone in your life who has those personality traits. Some people even read the cards with physical features. Pentacles, for example, might represent a dark haired people, or it can represent someone who is grounded, a financially responsible (or irresponsible, depending on the card) person, or even the age (pages are young adults, kings and queens tend to be mature people.) So, the court cards help card readers identify people in the life of the questioner.
The court cards are often these markers in your reading, helping the reader validate the present situation. People are often looking for tarot readers or psychics to help validate what they are saying is true for them. So, if I say to someone, there is a dark-haired man in your life, he is mature, stable, financially secure, this helps the person know that the cards are accurate. Court cards are great tools for that, because they can be so literal in that way.
But the court cards aren't just about other people, they can help you identify the energy you are bringing to the situation. I read for someone a few weeks ago with three knights in her layout. So, what does that tell me? That is not necessarily about the one knight, but the symbol of the knight, which we will get into later. It is telling me she is acting in extremes right now, making decisions quickly, being fearless and/or reckless in some aspects of her life, where and how those knights appear in the layout help me help her to identify where that recklessness or fearlessness is playing out. in general, court card gives a true human depth to the reading, if you can be honest about your motivations and accept the warnings and validations of the tarot.
Knights have a specific energy in the Tarot. That energy is one of movement and action. The knight, after all, isn't sitting on a throne, or lounging about the castle, his duty in the kingdom is one of protector, warrior, and messenger. He is in defense of the kingdom, or riding off to battle, or off to rescue the princess. So, the knight energy carries with it extremes of each suit from its best attributes to its worse. Only the reader and questioner can really figure out whether this extreme can be positive or negative in your life. Often, when you read about knights, there are pair of words to describe the knight energy--reckless/fearless. They are pairs of words that have the energy, but different outcomes.
The Knight of Cups embodies the extremes of the emotional suit of Cups. Often, but not always, this emotional extreme deals with love. Love is where we are most vulnerable and most emotional in our lives, so when the Knight shows up in our reading, we get to look at this energy. And it bears a sort of emotional honesty that is imperative with the Knights. Often Knights are warnings, recognitions of our own extremes, and an invitation by the Tarot for genuine and honest self-appraisal.
The Knight of Cups is a poet, a lover, a rescuer. This card is often called the Knight in Shining Armor card, because the energy of this knight is one of idealization, either rightly or wrongly. What I mean by that is that we often are idealized or idealizing someone else when this card appears. Placing someone on a pedestal, or being placed on one, a lover who seems too good to be true, or just is that good. We sometimes say this card appears when someone is in love with being in love. Or feels like this new relationship or person in their life was love at first sight.
And the darker side is this idea of illusion, of people, particularly a romantic partner, being too good to be true. So, reversed, or in challenging positions, we often have to ask if we are seeing things clearly, or are we being swindled? There is another underlying theme of being rescued--either we are waiting for rescue, or waiting to rescue. Either way, it is often a warning in the tarot to check our intentions and our illusions.
This Knight is a sensitive soul, perhaps overly emotional, self-centered, moody, melodramatic or temperamental. On the other side, he injects romance into the situation, ecstasy, drama, beauty, and creativity. Sometimes, the Knight of Cups brings this deeper quest into the reading, the quest for our Higher Purpose, the passion of your soul's path. Can we follow our soul's path as fearlessly and passionately as we pursue a new hot relationships? For spiritually based questions, the Knight of Cups can be about emotional courage. For example, a silent retreat can be hugely recharging, or it can be torture depending on where you are emotionally. Can you be courageous enough to do this type of work? That kind of spiritual process requires Knight of Cups energy. We also pull the Knight of Cups when we are doing intensive emotional work through therapy or other processes, like the Twelve Steps, or self-help work. It requires a beautiful bravado and belief in the ideal you--the one that has always resided in you. The romance and idealization can be strongly tied with falling in love with yourself, who you are meant to be, who the Creator envisioned us all to be.
Whether it is romantic love, or self-love, or courageous energy, the Knight of Cups can be the spark of emotional courage that we need to find that romance, our soul path, or the way to our emotional truth.
I'd love to hear what you think of the Knight of Cups, or anything on this blog. Remember that I offer tarot readings, either remotely or in person, with the same type of depth I do with my blog posts. You can find my offerings here, or shoot me an email at themoonandstone(at)gmail(dot)com.