Upright: Emotional balance and control, generosity
Reversed: Emotional manipulation, moodiness, volatility
The King of Cups sits on his throne on a grey stone block, calmly in the midst of a turbulent sea and wears a necklace with a fish amulet. The fish is the symbol of spirit and creativity and represents the balance of the unconscious with the conscious. Behind him on his right, another fish jumps wildly from the tumultuous ocean, and, on his left, a ship sails steadily in the choppy ocean. These images are a sign that the unconscious has been allowed to break through and has been recognised by the King, yet it remains within his power and does not overwhelm him. The King of Cups does not repress his emotions and unconscious impulses but has learned to accept and deal with them in a mature and balanced manner.
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The King of Cups, like all the court cards in the suit of Cups, represents emotion, creativity, and the unconscious. Unlike the preceding three court cards, however, the King of Cups expresses much more restraint in his emotional state. He is a master of his own feelings, and remains in control of his emotions. Not to say that he represses those feelings and sentiments. On the contrary, the King of Cups represents the balance between the emotions and the intellect. He is a master of compassion and kindness and his card often indicates strong bonds in a relationship based on temperance and understanding.
As such, the King of Cups indicates that you feel very emotionally balanced and in control. You have a very deep understanding of your feelings and emotions, and are able to connect with this when necessary. As you deal with some of the scenarios that life throws at you, draw on this deep emotional maturity to help you navigate these challenges. Also, know that this is an incredible gift you have and be open to sharing your emotional stability and calm approach with others.
If you are facing challenges, then the King of Cups is an indication that you must create balance in the realm of the emotions. The King of Cups represents compassion; one of the most powerful and beautiful qualities of the human spirit. Ask yourself, “How can I develop a stronger awareness of the unconscious without being overwhelmed by its power? How can I develop a stronger sense of compassion without falling into the trap of sentimentality?”
The King of Cups encourages you to be considerate in your dealings with others and as you counsel others. You may need to understand why strong feelings have surfaced and how to best cope with them. It is important that you do not repress emotions but instead explore them with an open heart and an open mind.
Sometimes, the King of Cups can represent an older male who may appear in your life. This card represents a man of business, law or divinity, who is kind, considerate and willing to take responsibility for his actions. He is paternalistic but in a sensitive, generous manner, and he enjoys the quiet power associated with providing loving energy to others. He is able to listen mindfully to others and he responds calmly in a crisis. He uses diplomacy rather than force, and reached out to help, not to stifle or have it only his way!
Similarly, the King of Cups shows you generosity, graciousness, love, calmness, caring and will give you his healing ways. He has power in the business world and loves law and order. You would love him to be your doctor. If there were a crisis at hand, this is someone you would hope to have near.
The King of Cups is highly diplomatic and politically correct. He has a real talent at being able to balance the needs of many people and keeps everyone working together harmoniously and productively. He knows how to show care and sensitivity as he leads others towards a common goal. He responds carefully to others’ emotional needs and can diffuse a tense situation by reading and responding to the different people involved.
If you are being challenged personally, the King of Cups suggests you will need to remain emotionally mature in dealing with the negative energy from others. You need to be clear in your own mind about what your boundaries are and what is and is not acceptable on an emotional level. This King is level-headed and in control of his emotions. He uses his emotional intellect to make smart decisions and does not let other circumstances or whims sway him from his central belief system and his morals.
The King of Cups reversed is incredibly emotionally controlling and manipulative. This is someone who is toxic, moody, sulky and withdrawn from others, particularly if things do not go his way. He can be vindictive and vengeful and has a talent at being able to punish others through emotional manipulation. He uses emotional blackmail to get his way and to push his own agenda. He leaves you feeling uncertain about yourself and as if you are the problem, not him. This only leads to emotional instability within you, which is entirely undeserved. If this sounds like someone you have met in the past, there is still some work to be done in releasing yourself from his controlling forces.
A reversed King of Cups can also represent a mature and loving, emotional person, who has let their emotions begin controlling their life. The King of Cups may depend too much on others and view himself through the eyes of others. He may fall into delusions or alcoholism, or others forms of escapism to deal with emotional pain. This could show you trapped in a relationship with someone that is dependent and emotional, or a co-dependency situation. You may be struggling with self-deception and/or the deceptions of others, and the most important thing in this situation is to see yourself and others as they actually are, with clear and loving eyes but not foster any sense of dependence or weakness through your own actions.
In a relationship reading, the reversed King of Cups suggests that you feel quite confused about your relationship and your emotions are out of balance and out of control. You are uncertain about your true feelings, and every day they seem to chop and change, leaving you completely confused. You need to be careful, too, about the messages you are sending to your partner as he/she may become easily confused too if you are ‘up’ one day and ‘down’ the next. It is probably best to keep some distance now until you work out your feelings and are more in control of your emotional state.
Finally, the reversed King of Cups suggests that you need to take greater control and responsibility for your emotional state. Right now, you are a loose cannon, letting your emotions rule and flip-flopping from one point of view to another. You want to take charge of your life but then you are waiting for the Universe or for fate to show you the way. You need to be more accountable for your emotional well-being.