Vol. 8 #10 / December 1, 2016
In this Issue:
- Tarot Tip: Embodiment
- Tarot School Aphorism
- Guest Article: Tarot Counseling, Skills, & Ethics (Part 1)
- PsychWise: Tarot Suits as a Personality System (Part 3)
- Upcoming Events
Welcome to a new issue of Tarot Tips!
And a special welcome to our new subscribers.
‘Tis the season of giving and receiving! We are very
grateful to have an abundance of information to share with
you this month in Tarot Tips. We are leaving 2016 behind,
however learning and enjoying tarot never goes out of style
or focus for most of its loyal enthusiasts.
In this issue we bring you articles from two of the featured
presenters at the upcoming Readers Studio in April 2017.
Mitchell Osborn explains how to embody a card for your
readings and Katrina Wynne, in the first of a 3-part special
series, discusses counseling skills and ethics for tarot
readers. Dr. G continues her series on using tarot as a
personality system. Gina is busy with lots of gigs, working
on her tarot deck and preparing for the holidays, so she’s
taking a writing break. Her Best Practices column will be
There is a plenty to explore here! We appreciate your taking
time here with us. May the season bring you prosperity, love
and joy. See you next year!
And one more thing...
If you're in the area, be sure to Save the Date
for our annual "Keep the Holidays Going Party"
next month at Bella Napoli in New York City.
We'll be celebrating on Wednesday, January 11th!
RSVP to Sasha Graham at email@example.com
to get the details.
With love and gratitude on the tarot journey,
Ruth Ann, Wald, Gina & Elinor
Tarot Tips is here to help you with the practical side
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advantage of this newsletter, please send us your
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by Mitchell Osborn
One of the definitions of embodiment is ‘a person, being,
or thing embodying a spirit, principle, abstraction etc;
How can we apply the idea of ‘embodiment’ to reading
tarot? You know how you feel when you wear dress shoes vs.
flip-flops or tennis shoes? Each pair of shoes often gives
you a different feeling. They can influence you to walk a
certain way or feel more ‘empowered’ to do something you
normally wouldn’t do. They may even make you more relaxed,
peaceful and calm about the end result of what you are
currently going through.
Actors are often trained to eliminate their body’s
resistance to the psychic process. They are called to unite
the body and mind. When I think of my years of acting, and
especially when I owned an improv theatre where we did
improvised sketch comedy on a weekly basis, I specifically
remember having a few ‘stock characters’ I would fall
back into with ease. I realized later I was truly embodying
these characters and I know this because I remember NEVER
having to think when I was on stage. I just reacted to what
was being said to me by the other actors.
It was like how we maneuver through everyday life. After
all, we are mostly improvising our way through our days. I
was just being me... but yet I wasn’t. I was someone else
and didn’t need to ‘act’, but just ‘be’ that character and
reply, react and respond as that character would. It was
I believe we can do the same thing with our tarot cards. We
can connect and embody them, and NOT just the characters,
but also the objects, environments/ settings and even the
colors of the cards. There are many different ways to do
this and reasons why you might want to. I am a very
practical person in many ways so I like to teach practical
things that you can use in your day-to-day life. I wanted to
give you a few exercises you can try with your clients as
well as in your regular daily life.
Practical use #1
When you have a special event, or difficult day ahead,
either randomly draw a card to embody or scan the cards to
see which person, environment or objects resonate with what
you will need to 'bring with you' or embody for the day. You
may pick out clothes or accessories that are represented on
the card or the environment. It can be adding colors or
patterns to your attire or items you know the person on the
card would use on a regular basis. Set a clear intention and
turn your pen in to a wand and spark of imagination or carry
seven coins in your pocket to ensure an abundant, fruitful
Practical use #2
When preparing for a reading you may want to embody a
specific card, object, environment or person in your deck
depending on the client, location or event at which you are
reading. A great way to prepare for your next client is to
ask the card ‘Who do I need to be for my next client?’,
then draw a card. Step into the colors, clothes or castle of
the image on the card and be transformed as you embody it
and assist your client to the best of your abilities. Your
client may need the gentle mothering qualities of The
Empress or the spiritual passion of the Queen of Wands
during this reading. If you are at a loud and noisy event,
you may want to embody the King or Queen of Swords to
maintain laser-like focus.
Practical use #3
Another time to put the technique of embodiment into
practice is when doing a reading and you or your client are
having difficulty interpreting a card. You may want your
client to walk away with a renewed strength, fortitude,
understanding or different attitude and this could be a
perfect time to have them assume the position, literally, of
a character on a card.
Have your client stand, sit, and mimic an action or posture
of a character on the card. You can have them move
emotionally into the attitude the card or person displays.
This is a place to be creative and remember that there is no
wrong way to do this. I have often had the client take a
picture of one of the cards and use it as a screen saver on
their phone to remind them of the power they can draw from
if needed. They can use props as well, like placing six cups
on the table to bring in a nostalgic feeling in or lay down
five knives on the table in front of them to see how
mentally frustrating it may be for the ‘other’ person in
the reading, which often brings about a wonderful sense of
compassion and understanding.
I hope you find these practical exercises useful. Please let
me know if you have any ‘aha’ moments from using this
technique and be sure to keep studying and honing your
skills whether you are a professional reader or one who
loves to dabble with the cards regularly.
To continue your study, check out Mary K. Greer’s book '21
Ways to Read a Tarot Card.’ Step 17 is about embodiment.
This would be a great extension of education and practical
uses of embodiment work.
Mitchell Osborn is a Psychic Medium
who uses his abilities as a Tarot and
Lenormand card reader, Intuitive Soul
Coach, Animal Communicator, Dream
Interpreter, Hypnotherapist, and Spiritual
He connects to and channels Spirit to
help in identifying soul-level solutions
for wellness, enlightenment and growth. He uses a direct, humorous
and compassionate approach in his sessions and classes.
Mitchell will be one of the Master Class Instructors at the
2017 Readers Studio!
Website - www.MitchellOsborn.com
YouTube Channel - http://bit.ly/IMYouTube
Tarot School Aphorism
by Katrina Wynne, MA, CTM, CTI, CLC
TAROT COUNSELING, SKILLS & ETHICS
Part 1: Counseling Skills for Tarot Readers
The moment you engage in reading for another, you have
initiated a relationship with its unique exchange of energy,
time, and information. On a deeper level, you have your
client’s soul in your hands, a responsibility that I take
Because of this delicate relationship, all readers would
benefit from reviewing and utilizing skills and values
promoted by classic counseling training. As you read
through this list and descriptions, notice what techniques
you already use. Then I invite you to consider incorporating
new skills that may benefit you and your clients.
Here is a partial list of counseling skills excerpted from
my book, An Introduction to Transformative Tarot
Listening — Effectively listening to another is to be
attentive and observant with a compassionate presence. This
cannot be accomplished if the reader is focused on their own
words, thoughts, strategies, etc. For a reader who does not
identify with being particularly psychic, listening deeply
inside one’s self is a powerful channel for receiving
intuitive information. Listening skills also help us pay
attention to the client’s level of presence or engagement,
which will help detect unspoken boundaries.
Patience — Listening requires patience for the reader, as
well as the client. At the
beginning of a reading, agree to a predetermined amount of
time for the reading. Doing
so helps create a safe container for working together. This
will allow both reader and client enough time to go into the
subject of the reading and the card details in such a way
that the experience is complete, yet not so long that it
Awareness — Many readers are excellent at being aware
of their intuitive knowing or psychic impressions. As a
counseling skill, awareness means to be truly awake and
present in the midst of a reading. This allows the reader to
notice subtle communications as well as the client’s
intended and unintended communication, e.g. when a card
is revealed and the client’s eyes begin to tear-up a little.
You can then pause and reflect back to the client noticing
that there may be some feelings involved with the card.
If there is an opening or receptivity by the client, continue
to find out more about the client’s feelings, and connect
that to card knowledge. Be patient and respect any boundary
the client may have, whether stated or implied. Boundaries
will be further addressed in the next chapter.
Transference and Counter-transference — This concept
is a classic tool and occasional concern for professional
counselors. Briefly, transference occurs when the client
projects a role onto the counselor, such as filling a mother
role. Counter-transference occurs when the counselor in
return projects a role onto the client, such as a child or
younger sibling. In a Tarot reading we might look at this
process in terms of attraction, roles, power dynamics, and
dependency. One such aspect is the reader’s ability to
differentiate between what is the client’s material and
what is the reader’s. For example, during the reading you
notice that you begin to feel anxious, although before
working with the client you were calm. Perhaps you are
subconsciously feeling the client’s emotional state. If
you know yourself well enough to perceive that it is not
your anxiety, then you have more awareness and choices
for interacting with the client’s mood or issue.
In a future Tarot Tips, I would like to continue this
exploration of counseling skills with special emphasis
on “boundaries” for the reader as well as the client.
Feel free to send questions you may have for me to
the Tarot Tips team.
Katrina Wynne, MA, CTM, CTI, CLC
is an internationally renowned Transformative
Tarot Counselor™ and trained psychotherapist
with 45 years’ experience living the wisdom
Katrina will be a featured presenter at the
2017 Tarot & Psychology Conference!
Contact Katrina at:
www.TarotCounseling.org - website
www.MySacredJourney.org - weblog
www.OracleSoup.org - podcast
The 2017 Readers Studio is coming soon!
Click the poster above
for all the details and
to get on the 3-month Payment Plan!
PsychWise – Tarot & Psychology Q & A
with Elinor Greenberg, PhD, CGP, CPTR
TAROT SUITS AS A PERSONALITY SYSTEM
Part 3: The Suit of Cups
Before I begin talking about the Suit of Cups, I want to
repeat something that I spoke about earlier in Part 1 of
this series on “How to Use the Four Tarot Suits as a
Personality System.” I regard the images on Tarot cards
as visual symbols and metaphors for a variety of attitudes,
skills, behaviors, and beliefs. When I speak of a Tarot
Suit, I am really thinking about an approach to life.
As a psychotherapist, I know that all of us are capable of
learning new strategies and letting go of old approaches
that have not been working for us. To my mind, nothing is
fixed in stone (except perhaps the Charioteer in Key 7) .
We all have each of the four Tarot suits within us to use as
we choose. Some of us flow fluidly among them using a
Wands’ skill here or a Pentacle’s one there, whatever is
best fitted to the task at hand. Most of us are more
limited and only use those suits that feel most natural to
us. Our chosen suits color our world view, inform our
approach to life situations, and also limit what we see as
This view of personality and Tarot has been heavily
influenced by my work with the Amberstone’s Elemental
Array and their other extremely useful projective
techniques. I recommend their work to any psychotherapist
or Tarot reader who is interested in the intersection of
personality and Tarot.
The Suit of Cups
The Suit of Cups represents the romantics among us: dreamy,
sensitive, emotional people who are focused on the realm of
love, romance, and nurturing. As a therapist, these are the
clients who enter therapy to deal with the emotional side of
the relationships in their life. The subject can be their
lover, their parents, their children, and even their boss
and colleagues at work; but the underlying concern is
organized around the figure of love, nurturing, and
emotional fulfillment. In their simplest and most obvious
form, these are the people who come for Tarot readings and
ask: “When will I meet my soulmate,” or “How can I get
my lover back?” Disappointment in love and a lack of
nurturing from others takes center stage in their life.
THE COURT OF CUPS
I use the Court Cards of the Suit of Cups as a way
of talking about the client’s level of experience and
competency and his or her actions. Below are some
examples of what I mean by Page, Knight, Queen and
King of Cups.
Page of Cups
In my personality system the Page of Cups can be a
description of three types of people:
1. Any young person with pronounced Cups’ traits
(1-18 years old).
2. A person of any age with Cups’ traits who is
beginning to use their emotions in a new way.
3. Someone who is beginning to develop their latent
Cups’ traits who usually utilizes other elements
Example: A Young Person with Cups’ traits – the Romantic
Lisa was a very dramatic version of the Page of Cups. She
started dating at thirteen and always had a new boyfriend
that she had a mad crush on. While the relationship lasted,
she was consumed with thoughts of her beloved, could not
focus on her schoolwork, and spent a lot of time writing
his name over and over in her school notebook. Each breakup
was (I quote) “the worst thing that had ever happened in
the history of the entire universe.” She was inconsolable
until the next boy became the center of her life.
Example 2: A Young Person with Cups’ traits—the Nurturer
James loves animals, insects, birds, and any other creature
that crosses his path. While other boys were off playing
ball, he was nursing injured birds and bringing home as many
stray cats and dogs as his parents could tolerate. He knew
he wanted to be a veterinarian at an early age. James was a
Example 3: A Cups Adult Learns Discrimination
Marsha started therapy because she inevitably chose the
wrong man to love. She was drawn to men like her father:
angry loners who professed to love her but proceeded to
treat her badly. The focus of Marsha’s therapy was on her
acquiring the skills she needed to pause and evaluate her
next suitor before she committed herself to the same type
of abusive relationship again. Instead of asking, “Why
doesn’t he love me?” she learned to ask, “Should I
Marsha used her Swords abilities at work to analyze
financial stocks, but it had never occurred to her to use
her analytic abilities to evaluate a man. She decided that
her next boyfriend would be different. She wanted someone
who was already happy with his life and not angry or
unsocial. Her therapy consisted in large part of her closely
listening to what each new man said to her, and before she
gave away her heart, asking herself some key Cups
• Is he a happy person? (obviously none of her angry loner
boyfriends or her father was happy).
• Does he treat me in a loving fashion?
• Does he have friends?
It did not happen overnight, but once Marsha got in the
habit of asking the above three things, she found it changed
the way she looked at men and her romantic life changed for
Cups and Swords
The above is a good example of the relationship between
Cups and Swords in the personality. Often the solution to
a Cups’ type problem, is the use of one of the powers
associated with the Sword: analysis, reflection,
discrimination, and judgement.
The Suit of Cups represents the element of Water
Water will flow uncritically into the next container it
encounters. This is something like what happens with
Cups’ people. They may love uncritically whomever and
whatever is available. When love fails, it is seen as
unmitigated tragedy. The heart does not break things into
degrees. It is the mind (Swords) that asks, “Is this really
Example 4: A Swordsy Guy Opens his Heart
David taught graduate level mathematics. He was most at
home in the world of abstract thinking and logic. He even
chose his wife logically by evaluating their areas of
compatibility and the similarities of their life goals before
he proposed to her. What David did not expect was to
fall in love with his new baby daughter. When he saw her
for the first time, his heart opened as he touched her tiny
fingers and one curled around his. Suddenly, he was flooded
with emotions that he was not sure how to express.
At first David tried to use his analytic skills to express
his love: he figured out how much money it was likely to
take for his daughter to go to college and started a fund
for that purpose. No one in his family of origin had ever
hugged him past the age of two or said “I love you” to
him. When he once asked his father if he loved him, his
father said “A man shows his love by his deeds, not his
words” and that was the last time David asked. David’s
mother was equally brusque and unaffectionate. She
thought that the fact that she got up to feed David breakfast
when he was a child was all the proof he needed that she
In therapy, we discussed words and gestures that he could
use that would more directly and emotionally express his
love for his daughter. He practiced saying “I love you”
out loud and imagined himself hugging her. As this
progressed, he also started expressing his love for his wife
more directly, and their relationship became warmer as well.
Knight of Cups
As I mentioned in a prior post, in my system a Knight’s
key characteristic is that he or she is in motion and
active. The Knight is always on a quest seeking something.
What he or she seeks varies with the suit. The Knight of
Cups is the most idealistic and romantic of the Knights.
He seeks truth, beauty, and true love. He is also the least
practical of the Knights. He exists in the world of feelings.
In contrast, the Knight of Swords is concerned with the
world of the mind and wants to know and understand
what is going on. The fiery Knight of Wands is pursuing an
exciting project that usually involves the will to succeed,
overcoming all obstacles, and defeating the competition.
The earthy Knight of Pentacles is concerned with the actual
manifestation of something that can be put to practical use.
Example 1: The Knight of Cups comes for a Tarot Job Reading
John was just out of college with a degree in English
literature and an interest in the romantic poets. What he
really wanted to do right now was take a year off and travel
to the famous Lake District in England that had inspired so
many of the poets he read. Instead, he decided that he needed
to take a job to pay off his student loans. (His concern about
his loans told me that he was not all Cups, but also had some
ability to use the practical powers of the Suit of Pentacles).
John wanted a Tarot reading to help him decide between
two job opportunities that had popped up. One job was as
an assistant editor in a small publishing house. It paid very
little, but did involve the world of literature, so he was tempted
to take it. He loved the idea of being surrounded by other people
who also loved the written word.
The other job possibility was as an adjunct English teacher
at a local community college. It paid a bit more and, if he
did well, there was a slim possibility of a full-time job.
He would be teaching a freshman writing course. Neither job
would actually earn him enough money to start paying off his
loans, but the teaching job paid more and he believed that
it was the more practical of the two (again a Pentacles
John’s Tarot Reading
I did a 6-card reading with my Rider-Waite-Smith deck. I
laid out two rows of 3 cards each, one row for each job
possibility. Each set of 3 cards had the following meaning
assigned to it:
Card 1: The Present
Card 2: What will happen during the job after he takes it
Card 3: How will he end up after being at this job for awhile
Reading for Job 1: Assistant Editor
Card 1: Knight of Swords
Card 2: 5 of Wands
Card 3: Key 14 Temperance
Reading for Job 2: Adjunct English Teacher
Card 1: Key 10 Wheel of Fortune
Card 2: 10 of Swords Reversed
Card 3: Page of Swords Reversed
I said something like this: “John, it seems to me that
although the second job seems like a chance for a new
beginning (Key 10 The Wheel of Fortune), there are things
about actually doing this job that you will find very
deadening (10 of Swords Reversed). It won’t be
emotionally satisfying (no Cups in any of the three cards)
and you are likely to end up mentally on the defensive
without any appreciable gain (Page of Swords Reversed).
The good news is if you take the first job as an assistant
editor, you are likely to find yourself later in an excellent
position to rise even higher (Key 14 Temperance). The
cards suggest that you need to rush in quickly to accept
this offer (Knight of Swords), be prepared for some
competition with co-workers at your level (5 of Wands),
and work hard at staying balanced and preparing to ascend
to the level of above you. Notice that the last card Key 14
Temperance shows an Archangel who is calm and radiating
energy as he pours the waters of consciousness between two
cups. I am taking this to mean that with a cup in each
hand, you will be quite happy with this job and grow from
Example 2: A Complicated Knight Comes for a Romance Reading
Lisa, an attractive 30 year-old professional woman, was
actively looking for the man of her dreams to marry. Like
all Knights, the stress here is on “actively.” She had
signed up with three online dating services, but was
disappointed with the results. She had liked some of the
men she met and thought that they had “clicked,” but
none of these relationships actually went anywhere long
term. She had come for a Tarot reading because she was
beginning to lose hope. Lisa wanted a general love reading
that would give her some insight about what was going wrong
and how she could meet her ideal man. My first thought was
that Lisa was a strong Knight of Cups.
As I prepared to do a 10-card Celtic Cross reading, two
cards fell out of the deck during the shuffle: The 10 of
Cups (Lord of Perfected Success) and then the 2 of Wands
(Lord of Dominion). It turned out that these two cards
summed up Lisa’s dilemma: There were two strong sides to
her personality, one Cups and the other Wands. The Cups side
wanted everything that the Cups suit can provide: romantic
love, a family, and children; while the Wands side was
concerned with extending her personal realm of dominion.
Here is a summary of the Celtic Cross reading that
Card 1 (Center): Lisa in the current situation—8 of Wands
Card 2 (Crossing Center Card): What helps or hinders Lisa—5 of Wands
Card 3 (Below Center): Foundation of the situation—Key 10 The Wheel Reversed
Card 4 (Above): Possible Outcome—2 of Swords Reversed
Card 5 (Right of Center): New energy coming—4 of Cups
Card 6 (Left of Center): Energy leaving—3 of Wands
Card 7 (Bottom of Pillar): Self-Image—Ace of Wands
Card 8 (Environment): Knight of Wands
Card 9 (Hopes and Fears): King of Wands
Card 10 (Outcome): Ace of Swords—Page of Swords Reversed—2 of Cups
Lisa asked for two more cards to be laid down to explain the
outcome card the Ace of Swords. She pulled the Page of
Swords Reversed and then the 2 of Cups.
When I saw that the cards were so heavily in the Suit of
Wands, I thought that I had made a mistake classifying Lisa
as a Knight of Cups. Was Lisa a Knight of Wands after all?
It turned out to be a bit more complex than that. While
Wands did play a large part in Lisa’s public personality
(She was a Leo, fixed Fire, and could be quite forceful),
she turned into a mushy Cup in the area of romance and
Lisa was far from being a pure Knight of Cups. Her outer
more visible self was almost all Knight of Wands—fiery,
passionate, ambitious, and competitive. The problems in her
love life seemed to be the result of Lisa trying to use her
Wands abilities in the service of her Cups agenda. This was
not working. Under Lisa’s somewhat intimidating air of
competency, she had an inner core that was soft and loving.
Her feelings flowed like melted chocolate. Inside, Lisa was
a dreamy romantic whose idea of bliss was curling up at home
with the one she loves (10 of Cups and 2 of Cups).
Unfortunately, what men saw when they looked at Lisa was
a competitive, competent woman who liked challenges.
Lisa and I discuss the reading (A Summary):
“This is basically a love reading, but the fiery, competitive,
go-getter side of your personality shows up in six out of
the 10 cards. How do you think the men in your life see
you?” Lisa was quiet for a minute, then said: “Well, I hope
that they see that all I really want is to be loved, but I
suspect that I mostly try to get their love by proving how
smart and competent I am.”
I continued: “This might explain some of your difficulties
with men. You probably present a confusing picture of what
you want. The card at the center of this reading is the 8 of
Wands speeding through the air. Some call them “the arrows
of love.” They are likely to land on the next man you are
attracted to. They also suggest to me that you may get
attached way too fast. However, this central card is then
crossed by the 5 of Wands, your competitive side. You
will get attached, but then you may show your attraction
by displaying your strength and jousting with the man.
Unfortunately, it is hard to get close to someone with a
stick in their hand. This will not lead to intimacy.
However, the good news is that your outcome cards—
the Ace of Swords, Page of Swords Reversed, followed by
the 2 of Cups (The Lord of Love)—show what you need
to do to get the love that you crave.”
“I see the Ace of Swords as indicating that you need to
try an entirely different approach. The Ace of Swords
represents the powers of the Mind: judgement, analysis,
reflection, and verbal ability. It is followed by the Page
of Swords Reversed which suggests to me that you are still
learning to use your mental powers appropriately in the area
of romance (the Page is the youngest of the Court Cards).
It also suggests that a concrete step that you need to take
to get the love you want is to stop being so defensive with
men and do less clever verbal sparring. The Page needs to
put down her sword. The combination of your preferred
approaches to life, Wands and Cups, leads you to be a bold,
impulsive and passionate lover who feels very deeply. When
fire meets water things get steamy pretty quickly. The cool
analytical powers of the Sword can help you stop and think
about the issue of suitability and how you are presenting
yourself before you are in over your head.”
We ended the reading with me suggesting to Lisa a few
questions to ask herself when she met a new man that she
• How can I connect with him without competing?
• Which side of myself am I showing him?
• How am I letting him know that I like him?
Queen of Cups
The Queen of Cups is dreamy, loving, imaginative, and most
at ease in the realm of emotions. She may also have psychic
ability. At her best, she embodies feminine mastery over
the flowing emotional tides of love and emotion in all its
forms. It is usually fairly easy to tell if someone is a
Queen of Cups type (whether male or female) because
generally all they want to talk about is their romantic life
and everything attached to it. What they feel and who they
feel it for is the center of their world. These are not
generally the people who want to discuss current events,
unless it involves celebrity marriages and breakups.
Some famous Queens of Cups are the late Princess Diana
(1961-1997) who said that she wanted to be the “people’s
Queen of Hearts” and Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011) the much
married movie star.
Example: The Queen of Cups comes for a Therapy Session
Rosa came to therapy consultation because she was
inconsolable after her breakup with her latest boyfriend.
She alternately felt abandoned, hurt, and furious. These
were familiar feelings for Rosa. Men had been the center of
Rosa’s life since she developed womanly curves at age 14.
Although Rosa had graduated college and had a job, work and
learning always took second place to romance. Everything
took a second place to romance. When I first asked Rosa to
tell me about herself, the history that she related was
focused almost entirely on the men in her life. When I
shifted the topic to other issues, such as her family of origin
or her career, she rather dutifully supplied answers, and then
went back to talking about her romantic relationships.
King of Cups
A King’s main characteristic is mastery over the energy of
his suit. At his best, the King of Cups is a master of
love, romance, and the world of emotions. Like the Queen of
Cups, his real interests lie in the realm of emotions. He
is concerned with feelings, not facts. These Kings tend to
be idealistic and often embody noble ideals. They also tend
to choose life paths that express these ideals. Given the
choice between love, money and power, these Kings choose
love. Their motto might be summed up by the romantic poet
John Keats’ lines in “Ode to a Grecian Urn”: Beauty is
truth, truth beauty. That is all ye know on Earth, and all
ye need to know.
Some well-known Kings of Cups are Giacomo Casanova
(1725-1795) whose name has become synonymous with
obsessive sexual “conquests;” the romantic poet Robert Herrick
(1591-1674) who wrote the famous words, “Gather ye rosebuds
while ye may” in his poem “To the Virgins, to Make Much of
Time;” and the Duke of Windsor, the former King Edward VIII
(1894-1972), who gave up the throne of England in order to
marry the woman he loved.
Example: Marrying the King of Cups
Emma, a beautiful young woman in her late 20s, came to
therapy because she had married the love of her life. He
had been the most romantic of suitors. He wooed her with
flowers and poems. He made her the center of his life. He
was an expert and passionate lover. It seemed as if life
with him would be blissful. However, after the most romantic
of weddings in which he wrote the most beautiful of wedding
vows, the day-to-day realities of married life were ruining
their relationship. He was as romantic as ever and still
wrote her poems and little love notes every day, but
Emma found herself wishing that instead of another love
note, he would remember to put in a new roll of toilet
paper. And while he was at it, could he please call the
plumber to fix that leaky faucet in the kitchen. Emma was
tired of being the only one who seemed to notice and do all
the chores that go into everyday life. It turned out that
Emma had been seduced by Cups, but actually lived in the
Suit of Pentacles. Yes, her Cups side had fallen in love
with him, but now her practical Pentacles side felt
frustrated by her husband’s single-minded focus on
dreamy, romantic love to the exclusion of all else.
The Cups Cycle: A Summary
All of the Court Cards in each suit can be viewed as a cycle
in which one goes from being a beginner (Page), to an active
seeker (Knight), to an expert (Queen or King) and then
sometimes back to the beginning again with a new object of
interest. For example, we might be seeking someone to love
and go through all the stages and get mastery and become the
King or Queen of Cups with regard to getting a mate; but
then we have our first child and the whole learning curve
begins again with the focus on how to be a loving parent.
Pages of Cups begin to learn about the world of Emotions
Pages of Cups are naturally attuned to the world of love,
beauty, and emotions. At this stage of their life, they
begin to recognize what they are emotionally drawn to,
whether it is certain people, activities, or pets. This is
the stage of crushes on other children or adults. It may
also be a time when Cups children start to fantasize about
love and noble deeds and play games with these themes or
read fairy tales and myths about these topics (Cinderella,
Beauty and the Beast, Sir Galahad). Pages of Cups are
innately sensitive to all the different ways that emotions
are expressed in the world around them, both good and bad.
These are very sensitive children. In response to the strong
emotions that they feel, but do not have control over yet,
some may act out dramatically, while others may become
quiet and retreat into whatever seems to be a safe haven.
Knights of Cups search for Love
This stage is a time of active experimentation with love and
sexuality and other topics to which they are emotionally
drawn. If all goes well, they move from the search for a
loving mate (2 of Cups, Key 6 The Lovers) to wanting to
create a happy family of their own (10 of Cups). This stage
also includes the search for meaningful employment. When
they have any choice, these idealistic Knights do not work
for money or worldly power alone. They want their work to
provide emotional fulfillment and feel cheated when it does
Queens and Kings of Cups live in the world of Emotions
The natural domain for these Queens and Kings is the world
of emotions. These are our poets, our songwriters, our artists,
our animal lovers. They are interested in feelings, their own
and other people’s. They make sensitive and attuned parents,
but unless they have a liberal dose of Pentacles or Swords in
their makeup, they are unlikely to be the disciplinarian in the
family or the one who remembers to buy paper towels. They
are there to cuddle their children and kiss away emotional
and physical pain. When both parents are in the Court of Cups,
the children are likely to feel loved and understood, but may
never have had a regular bedtime.
Dr. Elinor Greenberg, PhD, CGP, CPTR
is an internationally renowned Gestalt therapy
trainer who specializes in teaching the diagnosis
and treatment of Borderline, Narcissistic, and
Schizoid adaptations. She has been studying
tarot since 1995 and is psychology consultant to
The Tarot School, where she earned a Third Degree
in Tarot. She is a member of B.O.T.A. (Builders
of the Adytum) and has been certified as a professional
tarot reader by the American Tarot Association.
Dr. Greenberg is the author of Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid
Adaptations: The Pursuit of Love, Admiration, and Safety, which
demystifies the diagnosis and treatment of personality disorders.
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