King of Cups Tarot Card Meanings

Posted by John Taylor on

King of Cups Tarot Card Meanings

(The above image is a copy of The King of Cups card in a standard Rider-Waite Tarot deck. The 6 symbols pointed out above are explained below.) 


Card Description

The King of Cups is at the height of power in the cups suit. Despite this, he appears calm, unanxious about losing that power. Instead of being ruthless, the King rules in compassion, listening to those around him. Far from the toxic masculinity that plagues most rulers, the King of Cups is in touch with his emotions and uses them to be empathetic to those he is in charge of.

If you are looking for a deck of Tarot cards, check out our standard Rider-Waite deck here or check out one of our recent arrivals here.

For more information about The King of Cups card, check out A. E. Waite’s description here


Point 1 – KING

Like the Queen of Cups, the king is relaxed and levelheaded. Instead of ruling with an iron fist, The King of Cups rules through compassion and dialogue. He lacks any anxiety over his position of power, expressing a contentment for his life.


Point 2 – THRONE

The throne carved in stone miraculously floats on top of the ocean. This reveals the king’s lighthearted nature and grace. The gray color of the throne in turn illustrates his unbiased judgement. Free from the weight of guilt, the king’s virtue floats to the surface.



The fish popping out of the left side of the card is reminiscent of the fish in the Page’s cup. It is that surprise spark of creativity. As the spirit animal of the cups suit, the fish also reiterates the need for us to swim in our emotional subconscious.


Point 4 – SHIP

To the right of the card, a ship sails across the sea. This symbolizes the need to keep exploring. Enlightenment is not a static place; it is a movement towards the divine. Opposite to the fish, the ship represents our creativity manifested.


Point 5 – CUP

Far from the ornate cup of the Queen, the cup that the King holds is a reiteration of the previous cups found in the suit. It is a reminder to stay humble, especially when you are in a position of power. The cup you drink from is the same as the Page’s.


Point 6 – SCEPTER

The scepter is the source of the king’s royal authority. It is shorter than most scepters, suggesting the need to limit one’s power and to avoid ambition.


Tarot Reading


An Upright King of Cups suggests complete control in situations. When problems arise in your life, trust your intuition. Use a combination of logic and creativity to surpass any obstacles that block your path. In exercising your mastery, you lift other people up, allowing them to float in the water with you.



While the Upright King of Cups focuses on your ability to command external project, the Reverse King of Cups focuses on your ability to command internal projects. In understanding your own emotions, you better understand the emotions of others. Repress no experience. Strive to make your inner life harmonious with your outer life.


For more Tarot Card Meanings, check out our blog here.




About the author: John Taylor is a content writer and freelancer through the company You may view his freelancing profile here. He has a B. A. in English, with a specialty in technical writing, from Texas A&M University and a M. A. in English from the University of Glasgow. You may view his previous articles about Tarot here and his LinkedIn profile here.

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Last update date: 02/07/21

1 comment

  • What is the lord of cups

    Hailey on

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