The Oracle of the Tarot

Paul Foster Case (1933)

The Suit of Cups

ARRANGE the 14 cards of this suit as you arranged the Wands in the preceding lesson. Go through the entire series once daily, at least, reading the text with the cards before you.

The suit of Cups corresponds to the second letter of IHVH (HEH), to the creative world of mental patterns, to mental and emotional energy, and to the element of Water. In the Knapp Tarot pack this element is symbolized by the Vesica Pisces, a distinctively feminine symbol, corresponding to the equilateral triangle with its apex downward.

Ace of Cups

In the Vesica is a radiant crown, from which ten rays descend, for the Ace of Cups represents the power of the Qabalistic Kether, or Crown (No. 1 in the system of 10 Sephiroth), in the Creative World. It is the will to differentiate, or the will to specific manifestation. The Rose- Cross on this card reminds us of the essential Rosicrucian doctrine: Let your heart's desire be unified with the basic pattern of creation. This is symbolized by a rose (desire) fastened to the center of a cross (the cross representing the fundamental pattern of cosmic manifestation).

Time period

Astrologically the Ace of Cups governs the time-period from Cancer 0 to the last degree of Virgo, June 21st to September 22.

Occult title

The Root of The Powers of Water.

Meanings

The general meaning of the card corresponds to the time-period it controls, during which, in the temperate zone, all the fruits of the ground come to ripeness and perfection. This, also, is vacation time, and the period when the weather is most favorable to pleasure out-of-doors.

Fertility, productiveness, development, multiplication; happiness, pleasure, gratification, fruition of desires; cheerfulness, geniality, gayety.

Keyword

Desire-force.

Two of Cups

In the vesica the Eye of Horus surmounts a sharp-pointed upright triangle. Both Eye and triangle are masculine emblems, corresponding to the Qabalistic notions of Wisdom (the All-seeing Eye) and masculine force associated with the number 2, which is called AB the FATHER in Qabalah. Two circles concentric to each other are behind the cups, suggesting harmony.

Time period

The first decanate of Cancer, June 21st to 30th, ruled by the Moon.

Well-dignified

Reciprocity, reflection; gain and benefit through parents; favors from opposite sex; changes of residence.

Ill-dignified

Reverses and losses through parents or the opposite sex; unfortunate changes of residence; fluctuations of mood; unwise decisions.

Keyword

Response to environment.

Three of Cups

In the vesica, the letter H is surmounted by a flame refers to the second letter of IHVH, which letter is attributed by Qabalists to Understanding, or the number 3. Compare with the lamp on the 2 of Wands.

Time period

The second decante of Cancer, July 1st to 10th, ruled by the Scorpio aspect of Mars.

Well-dignified

Activity, determination, practicality; fondness for pleasure and comfort; attachments and attractions to the opposite sex; pleasure, merriment, eating and drinking, plenty of new clothes, etc.

Ill-dignified

Sensuality; danger of the "triangle" situation; trouble through attachments or the opposite sex; prodigality; misunderstandings.

Keyword

Enjoyment.

Four of Cups

In the vesica is a diamond, so cut that one face is a square, or 4. It is a symbol of wealth and substance, reminding us that 4 is associated with Beneficence in Qabalah, and is said to be the Sphere of Jupiter.

Time period

The third decanate of Cancer, July 11th to 22nd, under the rulership of Jupiter and Neptune.

Well-dignified

Success in material things, but desire for something higher; a period of comparative comfort, yet a little confining; thus the card suggests a degree of satiety; it is a symbol of contemplation, and of the turning away from pleasure in quest for higher things; intimates strong psychic influences.

Ill-dignified

Material gain, but through injustice; sorrows resulting from satisfaction of desire; getting what one has wanted, but finding no joy in it.

Keyword

Surfeit.

Five of Cups

A serpent rises in the vesica over the cups. It is the ancient symbol of the sign Scorpio, to which this card specifically refers. Yet it is also the serpent-power which brings illumination; so there is a flame of light over its head.

Time period

First decanate of sign Scorpio, October 23rd to November 1st, ruled by Mars.

Meanings

No meaning of this card is really good, but they are worse if Ill-dignified. Loss in pleasure; vain regret; disappointment, sorrow and loss in those things which have been much desired; treachery, deceit; unexpected troubles and anxieties; disappointment in love, broken engagement, broken friendship.

Keyword

Defeated desire.

Six of Cups

The King in the Vesica is a reminder that one of the titles of the number 6, or Beauty, in the Qabalah is Melek, the King.

Time period

The second decanate of Scorpio, under the combined influences of Jupiter and Neptune, from November 2nd to 11th.

Well-dignified

Deep emotions, ardor, enthusiasm, generosity; money through marriage of business partner, or by inheritance; the beginning of steady gain in

business or pleasure, but beginning only; peculiar circumstances.

Ill-dignified

Deceit in reference to partner's money; loss of money inherited through some sort of swindle; danger of death on water, or through poisons or anesthetics; some reversal of fortune.

Keyword

Betterment.

Seven of Cups

The firmly-grasped battle-axe suggests adequate power. Here it may be noted that one of the ideas associated with 7 in Qabalah is that of the armed hosts of heaven.

Time period

Third decanate of Scorpio, November 12 to 22, under the rulership of the Moon.

Meanings

Possible victory, but the person to whom the card applies may be too indolent to take advantage of his opportunities for commanding circumstance (Note that the battle- axe is held in a left hand); success may be gained, but not followed up; necessity for choosing the highest possible objectives.

Ill-dignified

If definitely Ill-dignified, illusionary success; lying and deceit; drunkenness, violence, even lust.

Keyword

Illusion.

Eight of Cups

Note the Mercurial suggestion of the flying disk with its four wings, referring to the Qabalistic meanings of the number 8, Sphere of Mercury.

Time period

First decanate of Pisces, February 19 to 28th, ruled by Jupiter and Neptune.

Well-dignified

Renunciation of material success for something higher; interest in psychical and spiritual things; strong emotions; charity and helpfulness; love of travel.

Ill-dignified

Momentary success, but nothing lasting; over-impressionable; erratic and unsteady emotions; meaningless change of mood and purposeless journeying; querulous disposition.

Keyword

Instability.

Nine of Cups

Here the winged disk is stable in flight, and comes straight ahead, in contrast to the instability suggested by the four wings on the preceding card. This is the same as the Nine of Hearts, and is the traditional wish- card. It owes this significance to the original Tarot meanings.

Time period

Second decanate of Pisces, March 1st to 10th, under the rulership of the Moon.

Well-dignified

Complete realization of desires; almost perfect pleasure and happiness; wishes fulfilled; physical well-being.

Ill-dignified

Vanity, conceit, egotism; foolish generosity; easily led; one spoilt by prosperity.

Keyword

Desire fulfilled.

Ten of Cups

The uplifted hands suggest surrender, and one of the old Egyptian hieroglyphic meanings was slavery.

Time period

Third decanate of Pisces, from March 11th to March 20th, under the rulership of Mars in its Scorpio aspect. The meanings are not fortunate unless the divination refers to spiritual matters, for the combined forces of Mars, Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces on physical levels, while they mean tremendous power of desire, and sometimes the satisfaction of those desires, point rather to unbalanced force than otherwise.

Well-dignified

Relating to spiritual matters only, permanent and lasting success, through inspiration from higher levels of consciousness; high psychic development; realization of the highest aspirations; happiness. On questions at a lower level, even if Well-dignified, great ambition,

ultra-sensitiveness, great power of realizing desires, but equally great danger of misuse of that power.

Ill-dignified

In spiritual questions, danger from psychism; probability of being injured mentally through unwise attempts at meditation. On all other questions, danger of self-undoing from psychism, prodigality, and liability to being influenced by others through the desire-nature; tendency to drug-habits and drunkenness; disgust resulting from over-indulgence; excess in pleasure.

Keyword

Excess.

King of Cups

The YOD in the vesica refers to the attribution of all Kings to the Sephirah of Wisdom, and to the letter Yod. He represents the positive aspects of desire-force in the mental realm.

Time period

From beginning of last decanate of Genini to end of second decanate of Cancer, June 20th to July 10th, combining the rulerships of Saturn-Uranus, the Moon, and Mars. Subtle and secretive; crafty, psychic, artistic; strong, violent desires, but calm exterior.

Well-dignified

Friendly to the Querent, and really wise.

Ill-dignified

Evil and merciless, and likely to be attracted by occult studies promising power and wisdom for the satisfaction of desire without purification of character.

Appearance

Fair-haired and blue eyes.

Queen of Cups

The white rose in the vesica indicates the highest possible development of the character portrayed by this card, not by any means always met with.

Time period

From the beginning of the last decanate of Libra to the end of the second decanate of Scorpio, October 12th to November 11th, combining the rulerships of Mercury, Mars and Jupiter-Neptune.

Meanings

She is mentally alert, yet somewhat superficial, probably has a touch of the poetic in her nature, and is kind-hearted, though not likely to go to much trouble for anyone. Has strong desires, and is emotionally responsive to the opposite sex. Very psychic, and if her higher nature is developed, is a very powerful spiritual force.

Appearance

Gold-brown hair, blue eyes. Friendly to Querent if Well-dignified. If Ill-dignified, she is more subtle, decidedly coquettish, and may be even a deliberate heart-breaker.

Warrior of Cups

The swastika in the vesica is a symbol of good fortune.

Time period

From the beginning of the last decanate of Aquarius to the end of the second decanate of Pisces, February 9th to March 10th, under the rulerships of Venus, Jupiter-Neptune, and Moon.

Meanings

He is a graceful, somewhat indolent personality, generous and enthusiastic, if he can be really interested. Somewhat impressionable and psychic. Fond of home, and probably puts all women more or less on a pedestal. Friendly to Querent. If Ill-dignified, lazy, untruthfull, very likely effeminate and more or less "catty."

Appearance

Brown hair. Gray or brown eyes.

Slave or Servant of Cups

The sun in the vesica suggests the warmth and radiance of a generous personality.

Time period

The same as that of the Ace of Cups, but the Servant represents the outward manifestation of what the Ace typifies.

Well-dignified

The character has sweetness, poetry, gentleness and kindness. Fond of home and all that it stands for. Imaginative, dreamy, yet with a good deal of latent courage. Friendly to Querent, and one who will further his hopes and wishes.

Ill-dignified

Too indolent to help, or possibly one who promises far more than he can perform.

Appearance

He typifies either a young man or a young woman.

Practice Work

For practice this week, repeat the formula given in Lesson Two, but read the Cups in addition to the Wands. This will give you insight more particularly into the desires of the Querent.

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Next: The Suit of Swords

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