There is a certain area of Tarot Reading that causes considerable confusion and frustration to those who are in the early stages of their apprenticeship or studies. The area I refer to is how one goes about interpreting a Relationship Spread when there is an obvious lack of Cup Cards to work with. Many students struggle when attempting to link non-Cup Cards to the emotional needs or desires of their client. They can view each Suit in a one-dimensional manner. This results in seeing love and romance only when Cup Cards are present. A good old Wand, Sword or Pentacle doesn’t have the same impact at all.
I spent several years teaching Tarot, and at the end each class lesson, students would pair up to do mini exchange readings for each other. I would oversee these readings as I circulated around the class, stopping occasionally to observe the interactions. Time and again, I saw students fall into the same presumption trap that seems to be particular to the Cups’ Suit. Here are some examples:
Student A – Wants to ask about their career and in their near future position lies the Ace of Cups.
Student B– Face lights up and announces that they are going to meet someone on a romantic basis in the near future. Love is in the air. Student B hooks onto this card and bases the rest of the reading around the new romance that is just appearing on the horizon.
Student A – Is quite flattered but still would like to know more about their career.
I ask Student B if there is a possibility the Ace of Cups held others meanings that might be connected to career rather than love? The Point being that Cup Cards do not automatically mean ROMANCE or LOVE.
Student C – Wants to ask about relationships and whether there is a ‘special other’ waiting for them in the near future. The cards drawn reveal no Cups.
Student D – On seeing no Cup Cards suggests that the time is not right as they see no romance in the foreseeable future.
I ask Student D to ponder the cards in the Spread and consider the possibility that Student C is not the romantic type and is looking for a less traditional type of relationship. Could they be seeking an intellectual match, or someone who is daring and adventurous, or then again it might be financial security and stability that means more than romance. The Point being that no Cup Cards does not mean NO RELATIONSHIP or LOVE
I had a query recently from a site viewer who couldn’t work out why she had drawn so many Cup Cards when she had deliberately asked about her career. She asked if it meant that she should be concentrating on her love life at present instead of her career? Now, maybe the cards did mean that, but my response was to examine the personal emotional associations of the Cup Cards she drew, as opposed to automatically connecting them to romantic involvement with another. I reminded her that personal happiness comes before seeking it with another. I asked her to revisit these Cup Cards in relation to how she emotionally felt about her career choices. Were the cards suggesting a career associated with the Cups’ Suit? Where they questioning the long-term emotional fulfillment that would be derived from certain career options she was considering? Could she be choosing to turn down a career opportunity that would bring great happiness, but little wealth, in favor of one that promised the very opposite? There are endless possibilities and she would need to analyse the spread as a whole to find the answer.
So, the next time you do a Relationship Reading, and upon turning over the cards you find not even one Cup Card to run with, don’t panic. Look at the cards that are present and work from there. Love comes in many shapes and sizes. Our definition of love also changes throughout of our life. What we consider love as a teenager, is perceived as no more than naive infatuation as a young adult. When we are busy building our careers we may take another view of love and romance. It may not be as vitally important to us during that busy time. Love that involves committing to each other, or starting a family, takes on yet another slant. Then we have the type of Love that develops into a deep rich friendship. We also have a Love that demands the retention of personal freedom, the love of one’s own company. We have love that comes and goes, many loves in one lifetime, love that is delusional or elusive, and of course love that is timeless. As Tarot Readers or consultants it is not our job to attach a blanket understanding or meaning of love when doing Relationship Readings for ourselves or others.
What might sound preposterous to you may very well be extremely acceptable to another. A lack of Cup Cards could easily suggest that the person you are reading for is looking for something other than the typical romantic idyll. They may not feel ready for that type of love, so it is not our place to cast judgement.
I have taken some time to compile a list of possible meanings and associations (both Upright and Reversed) that can be used for the other Three Suits; Wands, Swords and Pentacles when they turn up in a Relationship Reading. I have already written extensively about the relationship aspects in the more detailed versions of each card which are available to view on this site. These however can be used for quick access.
I have also given snapshot Yes/No meanings that can be applied, but remember they are only snapshot, and not definitive. There is also a reference to the Number of the Card with its numerical associations.
I will be releasing these in installments over the next week, starting with The Wands Suit. Of course I will also include The Cups Suit at the end. For today, I bring you The Wands Suit. Just Click Here or on the link below.