Upright: Celebration, friendship, creativity, community
Reversed: An affair, “three’s a crowd”, stifled creativity
The Three of Cups is a card of celebration and accomplishment. Three young maidens dance in a circle with their golden goblets upraised in a toast of joy. Their arms reach out to each other and they connect through their emotions and their friendship with one another. The ground is covered with fruit and there is a general sense of abundance and happiness. Each woman in the Three of Cups has a wreath of laurel on her head. Wreaths of this type have long been a symbol of victory and success. A sweet smelling laurel wreath is also a symbol of protection, peace and purification and is a message that the favour of the Universe is upon us, and that we shall be the victor in this stage of our lives. At the women’s feet lie various flowers, symbolising joy, beauty, compassion and growth. The flowers remind us of the good times in life, the sweet smell of success, and the beauty that surrounds us if only we open up to its presence.
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The Three of Cups is representative of friendships and collegiate, harmonious relationships. It is a time when you are open to helping others, which in turn means that others are open to helping you. It is about spending quality time with your loved ones and your friends.
This card reminds me of the wonderful connection and friendship that exists between the four female characters in “Sex and the City” – Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda. They stand by each other, through thick and thin, and they are always there for one another as they make their way through various relationships, careers and other life journeys. Nearly every episode, they can be found enjoying each other’s company, often over a Cosmopolitan or another fancy New York cocktail. You get the feeling that these girls will be friends forever and will know that they can always count on each other for support and compassion.
You may find that by turning to your female friends, you receive the love, support and compassion you need right now. Your close circle of friends may be a mothers’ group, old school friends, a women’s networking group or a collection of friendships that you have built up over the years. There is a oneness shared between your close friends and you, and there is a general feeling of sensitivity and sympathy with one another.
The Three of Cups heralds a very sociable period. You will find a harmonious balance between meeting your commitments and spending quality time with friends and family. This is a great time to let your hair down and indulge yourself a little! You may be particularly drawn to the bar or restaurant scene, indulging in great food, wine and cocktails! You may also be celebrating something special, such as a birth, engagement, wedding, re-union, or birthday.
For the moment, even though life’s problems go on, you can take time out to forget about the hassles of the everyday world and enjoy the company of your friends and loved ones. Such respites are often needed before and after periods of high stress, to stop you from getting burned out emotionally or physically. When this card appears and you are experiencing a high level of stress, take some time off to recuperate, and gain the support of friends before returning to ‘reality’.
More broadly, the Three of Cups indicates the end or conclusion of any problems you have been experiencing, particularly those that relate to your interactions with others. A compromise will be found which will serve all the interests of those involved and will allow for a more harmonious environment. You can facilitate this process by bringing about positive change within yourself and changing your attitude and the way you react or deal with what is happening. Treat the situation with compassion and give the benefit of the doubt where possible.
The Three of Cups represents community and groups of people coming together to focus on a common goal for the greater good of others. You may find that by reaching out to others and banding together, you can achieve a huge amount in terms of sharing your positive energy and passion with others, benefiting the wider community. It is a sign that you should seek out other people to celebrate your successes along with you.
The Three of Cups is also a very creative card, suggesting that you may pursue a creative outlet within a group environment, such as an art class or a dance class. This is a great way to connect with others and to access your creative abilities.
Out of all the different readings that I do, more often than not I see the Three of Cups reversed come up in relationship readings when there is a third person involved. Often it is a reflection that you, the querent, are that third person and may be involved in an affair or dealing with an unfaithful partner. When this card appears in a reading, look to the other cards for more detail on the nature of the relationship. If you see the Seven of Swords, there is a likely betrayal of trust and possible cheating; if you see the Five of Swords, it is likely that you already know about the other relationship but you are trying to ignore that it exists; if you see the Devil, think carefully about the nature of the relationships as they are likely to be hedonistic and generally unhealthy to those involved. It is unlikely that this situation is sustainable as ‘three’s a crowd’, thus something has got to give.
On a broader scale, the reversed Three of Cups can indicate that your creativity is being stifled and instead you are being forced to conform to the group in which you are operating. You may be part of a very tight-knit group that does things a certain way and is not open to innovation or alternative approaches. You need to consider whether you are willing to sacrifice your creative abilities in favour of the group’s desires.
The Three of Cups reversed may reflect isolation from others. If this is the case, it is time to take charge of the situation and to reconnect with your community. Consider joining a group or organisation, and if the need for support is present, seek out the necessary resources.
Similarly, the Three of Cups reversed can indicate that you have lost touch with your close friends, perhaps due to a falling out or other, more demanding priorities such as work or family commitments. See this card as a reminder to reconnect with your friends, let your hair down and have a good time, without worrying too much about the consequences.
On the other hand, the Three of Cups reversed may indicate over-indulgence in the party scene. You may be spending most nights out at bars and nightclubs, indulging in drugs and alcohol and throwing caution to the wind. You may also be in the ‘work hard, play hard’ mindset, when what you need is greater balance in your life. Be mindful about the longer-term consequences of your actions and ask yourself whether this is indeed a sustainable lifestyle. Take a break from the social scene to regroup and get some much needed sleep.