Knight of Cups

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The Knight of Cups is the archetypal knight in shining armour. Riding a white horse and wearing a winged helmet, the Knight of Cups oozes charm, grace and power.

The Knight of Cups is connected to the star signs of Pisces and Aquarius, and embodies many of their qualities; emotional intelligence, extrasensory perception, mystique, creativity, romance, empathy and idealism.

When the Knight of Cups appears in Tarot readings, he is usually a positive and encouraging omen, talking about your inherent potential and ability to expand creatively, romantically or otherwise. The Knight of Cups can be a reminder of staying true to your core values and ideals.

What the Cups mean in Tarot

The Tarot’s Minor Arcana is divided into four suits, one for each of the four elements that make up the physical world. The suit of Swords represents air, the suit of Pentacles earth, the suit of Wands fire and the suit of Cups water.

Water is associated with fluidity, with deep feeling and emotional intelligence, with creativity, imagination, empathy and the mysteries of the unconscious mind.

What the Knights mean in Tarot

Each of the four Minor Arcana suits has four court cards, a King, a Queen, a Knight and Page.

While the Kings and Queens represent fully established, experienced and accomplished people who have long since found their stride and earned their power, the Knights and Pages typically indicate younger people who are still in search of themselves and their places and missions in the world.

The Knights are a little more mature than the Pages. They have amassed a certain amount of practical life experience and are now using it to navigate, grow and expand who they are and what they are capable of. In other words, while the Pages are just starting out on their journey, the Knights are a little further ahead on their path. They have typically gathered a bit of traction and are making headway towards their dreams. They are in a place where they are out to prove themselves, refine their skills and build their kingdoms.

Knight of Cups Tarot card description

Depictions of the Knight of Cups differ from Tarot deck to Tarot deck, but most versions include the essential symbols found in the classic Rider-Waite Tarot. Because they are the most universal, the Rider-Waite Tarot’s symbols and details are the ones we will be taking a closer look at here.

The knight

The knight rides a white horse and is, of course, the main feature of the card. Dressed head to toe in armour his appearance taps into the popular idea of what a knight in shiny armour ought to be.

Over his armour, the knight wears a cloak decorated with images of fish, highlighting his connection with the element of water and also linking him to the Pisces zodiac sign. The Knight’s boots and helmet are adorned with wings, hinting at his powerful imagination and lofty ideals.

The horse

The Knight of Cups is riding a white horse. The colour of the horse represents purity and clarity, and the horse itself is a symbol of strength, resilience and determination.

It is interesting to note that, unlike the three horses belonging to the other three Knights of the Tarot, this horse is moving at a leisurely pace – an indication of the Knight of Cup’s desire to relish the beauty he finds on his path instead of storming ahead in a mad rush.

The cup

In his right hand, in lieu of a sword or any other form of weapon, the knight holds a golden cup.

Not only does the cup, or the chalice, underscore his connection with the water element, it also represents his creativity, sensuality, intuition, emotional intelligence and appreciation for beauty.

The landscape

The landscape in the Knight of Cups Tarot card is all but barren, with only a few trees visible way off in the distance.

The only source of life and vitality that the landscape has to offer is the stream of water coursing through it. The water represents the power of imagination, creativity and idealism to transform and bring life even to the most dull and empty places.

Knight of Cups Tarot card meanings

The Knight of Cups, like every other Tarot card, is a multi-faceted, many-layered prism of meaning. Here are some of the key upright Knight of Cups Tarot card meanings.

Creativity

The Knight of Cups is a clear indication of creativity and creative potential.

Whether you are working in a creative field or not, you have within you vast reservoirs of creative potential, waiting to be tapped into and used in all sorts of imaginative ways. Creativity is a powerful energy and isn’t confined to its typical manifestations such as painting or composing music. Creativity is the ability to view old and tired cliches from new and interesting angles, to come up with novel solutions, to disrupt and to breathe life and excitement into whatever you are creating or working with. Creativity exists not only in art but also in medicine, finance, science, politics and beyond.

Imagination

The Knight of Cups is uniquely comfortable and at home in the mystical, vast, largely unmapped realm of the human imagination.

Rather than suppressing his irrational, curious and imaginative side, the Knight of Cups honours, relishes and trusts in it completely. He knows that his imagination gives him wings and enables him to envision solutions, inventions or creations that those who operate purely from a logical vantage point have no hope of ever coming up with. You just can’t beat imagination.

When the upright Knight of Cups comes up in Tarot readings he indicates that you have a rare ability to listen to the secret whispers of your subconscious mind, the home of your unfettered imagination. When you lean in and pay attention, your subconscious starts to divulge all sorts of wonderful ideas and gifts to you, whether through your dreams at night or while you meditate or stroll along the beach in a daydream reverie.

Intuition

The upright Knight of Cups indicates a heightened sense of perception and sophisticated intuition.

Whether you are an all-out psychic or are simply very attuned to the subtle energies of the people, animals and nature around you, your fine-tuned intuition serves you well in many areas of life. Some might consider your hunches and tingling spider senses superstitious, but that is of no concern to you as your intuition leads you to higher and higher ground.

Romance

The upright Knight of Cups Tarot card can mean a romance, or having a romantic sensibility and outlook on life.

The Knight of Cups is sensual and romantic to the core; he sees and appreciates the beauty and lushness of the world around him, and is intent on relishing it. The Knight of Cups is the kind of person who will slow down his card to gaze at a field of flowers or admire a sunset.

Idealism

The Knight of Cups is an idealist and sets the bar high in life. He may not always live up to his own high moral, aesthetic or creative standards, but he is always striving to move himself closer to his ideals and dreams.

The Knight of Cups may fully believe in Utopia, and he has the ability to present a compelling vision of the future he wants to inhabit to the world, whether through art, political campaigns or in any number of other ways.

Reversed Knight of Cups Tarot card meanings

When the Knight of Cups card appears in its reversed position in a Tarot reading, it is bad news – here, all of the Knight’s positive and compelling qualities become distorted, unbalanced or subverted. Here are some of the most prominent reversed Knight of Cups Tarot card meanings.

Overactive imagination

Often, the reversed Knight of Cups represents an overactive imagination.

Here, rather than your imagination serving you and giving you wings, it distorts your view of reality, making you deeply irrational, unreasonable and unrealistic. Daydreaming and fantasizing may distract you from getting on with the practical matters that are necessary aspect of life. While planning and envisioning the ideal future is a vital component to manifesting it, living vicariously through daydreams can take power and energy away from your present. A hyperactive imagination can also erode your stability by causing you a lot of stress and anxiety, as you tend to let your mind fill in the blanks with the worst possible scenarios and paint shadows on the wall that aren’t really there.

Unrealistic expectations

Where the upright Knight of Cups is a romantic idealist, the Knight of Cups reversed is a tantrum-throwing antagonist, holding everyone around him accountable to his unattainable view of how things out to be.

Needless to say, perfectionism and unrealistic expectations can cause a lot of tension and conflict everywhere from your romantic relationship to your work to your family relations. Unrealistic expectations can also impact your own self-image negatively, if you find yourself constantly falling short of the demands you place on yourself.

Jealousy

When the reversed Knight of Cups comes up in a Tarot reading, he can be a sign of jealousy.

Instead of being romantic and giving, like the upright Knight of Cups, you become romantically possessive and controlling, jealous of your romantic partner’s every move. Jealousy can manifest in other areas besides romance, poisoning friendships and business contacts left and right.

What it means when the Knight of Cups represents you in a Tarot reading

Upright

When the Knight of Cups appears in a position within the Tarot spread that indicates you, it is usually a good omen.

When the Knight of Cups is upright, all of the positive aspects of the card are brought out and made relevant. You are likely to be in a positive place, in touch with your inner power, creativity and ideals. You might be happily engaged in a creative project and overall, it looks like you are en route to manifesting your big ideas. Exciting developments may be happening in your romantic life, as well.

Reversed

When the Knight of Cups reversed signifies you in a Tarot reading, it is an invitation for you to engage in some introspection.

Are you being fair and reasonable, towards yourself and towards others? Are your dreams practical and attainable, or are they mere daydreams that you use as crutches or excuses for why you aren’t satisfied with what you have, what you are and what you are doing right now? Are you imagining deceits or catastrophes that are not actually part of your reality?

What the Knight of Cups means in love Tarot readings

Upright

The Knight of Cups is good news for romantic love and potential.

You may be discovering and exploring your feelings for someone new, or keeping your connection with the person you are already with. Either way, beautiful things are unfolding and you feel like you are on an exciting quest or journey with someone, where the two of you are writing your own love story.

Reversed

The reversed Knight is a negative omen when it come to your love life.

You may have fallen in unrequited love with someone – a married woman or a lover who is unwilling to commit. Slighted and hurt as you may feel, resist the temptation to act out in a passive-aggressive way.

What the Knight of Cups means in career Tarot readings

Upright

This is a moment of possibility and promise for you. You may not be where you want to be yet in terms of your career, but you are certainly moving in the right direction. You are confident in your abilities, your creativity and your inventiveness.

Reversed

You are feeling creatively frustrated and unfulfilled at work. Your work situation – or the quality of your own work – is no match for your exacting expectations.

Lucius Nothing

Lucius has been slinging tarot cards professionally since 2014. He’s taken the tarot to places most wouldn’t think of: His best-known patrons include Torture Garden, The Dark Circus Party, Handel & Hendrix, A Curious Invitation and The Candlelight Club, where he has been resident tarot reader for the past half-decade. His writing on divination, magic and creativity has been published in Sabbat Magazine and on Medium.

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