Tarot Card Meanings: Ace of Cups

The Ace of Cups is a card of communion, reconciliation, and genuine love.  Unlike the 2 of Cups, which so often indicates the fantasy of love, the Ace of Cups signifies a profound bond between the querent and another.  This is the heart that radiates with kindness, good will, and gratitude.

Traditional decks feature the Ace of Cups as a single, overflowing chalice, although the appearance of the chalice differs greatly.  In the Thoth, the Ace of Cups looks like a Candy Land dessert pulsating sweetness and delight, whereas the Rider-Waite overtly identifies the chalice with the Catholic sacrament of Communion.  A dove, symbol of the Holy Ghost, dives towards the cup holding a wafer in its mouth, echoing both the impregnation of Mary and the baptism of Jesus.

This symbolism needn’t be taken in a dogmatic fashion.  Rather, keep in mind that the third divinity of the Holy Trinity is the love between the Father and the Son — it is the relationship between two.  One is reminded of Jesus’ assertion in the Gospel of St. Matthew:

For where two or more are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. — King James, 18:20

This was (mis)quoted by Nick Cave in The Flesh Made Word as:

Wherever two or more are gathered, I am in your midst.

As an atheist with a penchant for storytelling, I greatly prefer the latter to the extent that it stresses accord, community, and language over the specificity of a name.  However, this quote also seems to be one of many which conflates the Son with the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost is love — the one which is two – hence its overt usage in the Rider-Waite.  Dali beautifully represents this relation as two profiles whose combined outline creates a single golden chalice.  Their love arises from their distance, in the negative space between them.  With a clear blue sky above, the golden chalice perches upon a matte green hill.  The faces are white, reminiscent of marble statues save for the roughly drawn laurels which crown their heads.  Below is yet another landscape, with the humble hill doubling up as a second sky.  A small man stands on the seashore near a lone sailboat.  As an Ace, this card represents the start of an emotional journey and yet the cup indicates an innate completion or fullness unto itself.

When you pull the Ace of Cups it is a benediction of peace, love, contentedness, and accord.  Whether such emotionality should be directed towards the one or the many, there is a purity of feeling which arises from your communion with others.  Celebrate it and give thanks for it, and your Ace of Cups will never run dry.


**While all manner of comments are welcomed, any further information pertaining to art history, symbolism, myth, cultural reverberations, and Tarot card meanings that traverse decks or lend especial light to the Universal Dali deck, specifically, are actively sought and encouraged.  I’m not using a book for these descriptions, so I may miss a reference that bears mention in relation to a card.  If you know something, please share it!

Conversely, I actively negate the astrological significations of the Trump cards within the Universal Dali deck in favor of the more traditional Thoth.  My plan is to tackle the astrological significations of the Universal Dali Trumps and their overt divergence from all norms in one article… after having described each card.  That’s a ways off.  ;)

Numerological Affiliations: XI. StrengthXXI. The WorldAce of Wands

Next in Suit: 2 of Cups

To visit the Tarot card library, click here.

4 responses to “Tarot Card Meanings: Ace of Cups

  1. I really love this image, especially the marble figures and something in the sky that looks like a Chinese character perhaps. The man on the beach looks like a fisherman with a net – perhaps connected with Pisces and the primordial ocean. The whole image speaks to me of archetipization and permanence. It was a revelation for me what you said about the difference between the two of cups (infatuation) and the ace of cups (true love).

    • Hi Monika, I love the image, too. The Chinese-looking characters are actually Dali’s signature. It’s on just about every card in the deck.
      I think you’re right about the fishing net, and it’s definitely a primordial ocean.
      I’m glad that you got something out of the juxtaposition of the two cards. When I’ve finished describing each card, I hope to consider certain card combinations, particularly the Trumps, with their astrological signification and numbering. That will be fun! ;)

      • Dali’s signature, ha ha, I had never noticed it before and I have read all of your posts on cards. I am still looking for a tarot deck that would really appeal to me. I have three decks: the Rider Waite, the Mythic Tarot by Liz Greene and The Golden Tarot by Ciro Marchetti. None is perfect for me. I feel I need something connected with mythology but maybe a bit darker, I don’t know. Still looking.
        I have started watching narratology. Another great choice of a person!

      • Yes, Dali was a devout megalomaniac. The back of the cards are a bunch of mini signatures, too! ;)
        You can’t really go wrong having a copy of the Rider-Waite and the Thoth, as they’re both so foundational. However, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t wait for the deck that speaks to you — you should! I think it’s better to start where you are called and then back up when necessary. There certainly aren’t any rules — guidelines, yes — but no rules.
        Glad you enjoyed Narratarology! My sense is that the Project self selects.
        “Birds on My Mind’ was beautifully written, Monika….

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