tarot of the week--three of cups

“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” 
― Friedrich Nietzsche

This week's Tarot card was my second choice, first I pulled the Three of Swords, then the Three of Cups, and funnily, I was sitting next to three large Lemurian Quartzes. Threes. Threes. THREES! So, before we talk about this beautiful card, let's talk about the numerological meaning of three in the Tarot. Threes are about growth. Three completes the triangle, both in positive and challenging ways. We see that in the Three of Swords, where the love relationship is tested by the perception or reality of a third person. This growth in the Three of Cups is about friendship and expansion of the emotional/vulnerable part of the being. Threes also have a creative and abundant aspect to them, as any concept of growth does. Threes have a mystical connotation of growth as well, For religions with an expression of the Trinity, this growth is the fullest expression of the One God or Goddess, as the manifestation of three aspects of the One. In Christianity, it is Father, Son and Holy Spirit; Wicca has the Triple Goddess, Maiden, Mother and Crone; in Hinduism, the Brahman is one God in three manifestations; Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva; even the Ancient Sumerians and Egyptians both had the concept of the Trinity. Pythagoras felt all things were bound by the number three (birth, life, death).

This idea of three as a growth from One (singular, individual power)  through Two (the coupling of power) to Threes (growth and expansion) plays out in their expression in the Tarot. in some ways, you can see it as the fullest expression of the Individual. As they say, it is easy to be a holy man on top of a mountain. It is in our interaction with others that our truest spiritual expression reveals itself. In the Three of Wands, it is a business/creative growth. The man is looking over his accomplishment. Three expresses itself as Past, Present and Future. In the Three of Pentacles, you have the growth of the artist. No longer alone in his studio, he has gone out in the world to sell your work, find a benefactor, get the blessings of the Church. In the Three of Swords, this growth is about transcending one's perception of betrayal and cutting to the heart of the truth. You grow beyond perceived victimization to take the reigns on your heart and vulnerability. The Swords contain the most biting commentary on where we are at, but also allow the most spiritually vital growth. In the Three of Cups, one moves beyond the two, or rather the emotional connection with one person, and grow into the connection with a group, a community. Connections. This card is about connection.


The Three of Cups show women dancing in a circle, drinking. These three are no ordinary revelers; however, they are the Three Graces, or the Charites. The Three Graces (another Trinity, no?) are the children of Zeus and Eurynome. They are minor goddesses from youngest to eldest are Aglaea ("Splendor"), Euphrosyne ("Mirth"), and Thalia ("Good Cheer").  When these three are shown together, they often herald the gifts of beauty, creativity, fertility, and charm. The three were invoked in the beginning of meals or dinners (grace) to herald happiness and health for all present. And so the Graces gather for the Three of Cups, growing from the coupling of the Two of Cups to the fertility and gathering of the Three. 

For me, this card is about the sacredness of our friendships and spiritual community. Circle up, it seems to demand. It is time to find your circle. The lightness of being achieved when we allow ourselves to be present amongst of our friends. I am thinking of the words authentic. Vulnerable. Present. Joyous. Gathering our women together, honoring Splendor, Mirth and Good Cheer as goddesses, as worthy pursuits. Nietzche's quote, for me, is not necessarily about finding friendship with our partner, but rather about friendships around us--other women, ourselves, our community. Marriages and partnerships grow and flourish when our partners are not our all-consuming passion and focus. In particular, when we realize, that our partners simply cannot be every thing to us. We need a network, a circle of people around us. When I pull this card, I often advise my clients to fall into their female friendships, to gather their ladies and go out for drinks. Talk, share, laugh, tell stories, sing, dance, revel in them, and LAUGH a lot. This is the nourishment that you take into the emotional toils of your every day. It strengthens your ability to deal with work, partnerships, family, traffic, all of it. 

Cups are all about emotions, yes. They are about the heavy emotions, but they are also about the light ones. This card heralds levity and friendships. If you have a circle of women, rejoice. Hold hands. Spin. It is the time to allow these women (or men, if you are a man. I believe this card is about same-sex friendships) to carry you into the next stage. This is how love grows, not by simply putting all your love into one person, but into many. In my experience and the messages I get from Spirit, I am told time and again that humans are the conduits of Divine Love, light workers in particular. Our compassion and love is the expression of the Divine compassion and love. And so, when we join circles, we allow ourselves to be channels for Divine love, and in return, we feel that acceptance, non-judgment, forgiveness, and yes, love.

A good affirmation for this card might be:

I accept the splendor, happiness and joy of my friendships. I allow myself to be vulnerable and accepting of the women in my life.