The King of Cups

The King of Cups – The Pleaser

King of Cups Upright


Mature Male Water, Deep Wisdom, Calm, Caring, Friendly, Loving, Considerate, Sensitive, Sympathetic, Supportive, Kind, Compassionate, Protective, Tolerant, Diplomatic, Fair, Un-biased, Non-judgemental, Harmony, Peace-Keeper, Intuitive, Deep Emotion, Disciplined Emotions, Reserved, Balanced, Affectionate, Attentive, Romantic, Lover, Chivalrous, Gallant, Adoring, Devoted, Doting, Courteous, Honest, Integrity, Loyal, Faithful, Psychic, Intuitive, Gut Instincts, Hunches, Spiritual, Religious, Meditative, Secretive, Secret Dealings, Confidences, Imaginative, Nostalgic, Creative, Artistic, Musical, Poet, Mediator, Diplomat, Consultant, Counsellor, Psychologist, Doctor, Priest, Spiritual Teacher, Guru, Sage, Lady’s Man, Charmer, Host, Entertainer, Family Friend, Grandpa, The Sea, Sailing


Give somebody some good advice, Be Kind and helpful to those around you, Provide a shoulder to cry on and a sympathetic ear, Listen to what is being said, Volunteer for some charity work, Help in a child’s upbringing, Provide a child with a warm and emotionally secure environment, Show some compassion for those who are upset, Seek advice from a family friend or professional, Try to look to the heart of the matter,  See everyone’s point of view,  Trust in human nature, Keep your cool when others are losing theirs,  Be patient in trying circumstances, Try to keep everyone calm, A calm approach is necessary, Remain composed no matter what,  Be more relaxed in yourself,  Do something romantic, Be Gallant, Show your partner how much you care,  Your partner is loving and wise, It is wise not to expose your true feelings in this situation, Be secretive,  Keep a Secret, Someone may be involved in secret financial dealings,  You are a natural healer, Develop your psychic/spiritual side, trust your gut instinct on this one,  Follow a hunch, 

Now explore the personality of the King of Cups below. If he has turned up in your reading it means his energies have special meaning for you at this time.

You must ask yourself:  Who is he?  Who does he remind me of?  Is he having a positive or negative influence in my life?  Am I exerting discipline in the proper areas of my life? How can I embrace or avoid his energy?  What is he trying to tell me?  Is this how I am behaving?  Is this how others perceive me?  Do I like him or not? Do I want to be more like him? How can I be more like him, If he is not a person then what is his energy trying to tell me? How would this King handle my situation? Which part of this King am I trying to deny?

Personality Profile

The King of Cups combines the outward focus of a King with the positive, caring, sensitive and compassionate energies of Water.  He uses Earth to ground these energies so that he can make a difference in his world.

Here we meet the King of Cups adrift at sea. This King’s throne looks more like an armchair chosen for its comfort and ease rather than regal status.  He sits deep into his throne as it gently rises and falls; bobbing up and down with the ebb and flow of the waves. Adrift at sea, this King does not look the least bit concerned for his safety.  Instead he looks calm and relaxed and quite content to just sit and be.  He uses his powerful yet gentle influence to guide the tide and current to carry him wherever he wishes.  If we look closely, the water looks quite choppy and we see a ship in the background lean into a large swell.  The Ship represents the emotional baggage that we all carry to some extent.  The King has his back to it and does not look overly concerned so we must assume that it is not such a huge issue in his life. This King is in his element and so does not fear his throne or the ship capsizing.  So too, the Dolphin that appears to enjoy leaping up and down in the waves.  The benign smiling Dolphin represents those issues from the past that from time to time pop up and re-present themselves to us.  For the upright King these can be put down to taking a trip down memory lane or being nostalgic.  The Dolphin known for its healing, spiritual communicative, loving and loyal nature is a natural companion for this King.

Tossed about in the midst of the turbulent waters (emotions) the King of Cups maintains his balance with ease for he has learnt to discipline and control them.  He remains calm and not the slightest bit phased by all that is going on around him.  He has seen what happens to others when discipline is not applied.  He has seen some good people lose their balance and disappear into the watery depths were few could reach them.  Yes, he had watched many drown in their emotions, engulfed by the tidal wave of their situation, being sucked away by the sheer force of the current events in their life. He has gone to the rescue of many and helped them to find land again; helped them calm and regain control over their lives once more.  If life has turned upside down and chaos rules the day, this King will remain steady and composed.

This King has learned something that the majority of others have not.  He has learnt to  discipline his emotions.  Emotions are an energy force and indeed are wonderful when their energy clean and allowed to flow freely.  However, he understands that all energy can become potentially dangerous when allowed to get out of control or when it falls into the wrong hands. Even the energy of Love if not disciplined can become a smothering and overbearing force.  He knows that it is very possible to have too much of a good thing.

This King of Cups adrift far out in the turbulent seas sits and waits for the waters (emotions) to calm down instead of panicking.  When they do, the tide will bring him back to shore where he will make a safe landing. If you are lost at sea the King of Cups can be relied on to gently guide you back too.  He is the perfect man for the job. He is master of his element and enjoys all that this knowledge brings.

The King’s gown shimmers with hues of watery blues and green symbolising his connection to the element of Water.  His gown flows and ripples almost like the waves surrounding him.  He wears a soft yellow and red cloak suggesting that even though this King may be quiet and gentle he is also highly intelligent and is capable of deep passion.  The fish pendent around his neck further connects him to his element.  The green colouring of his scaly feet remind us that this King is also influenced by Earth.  Therefore he uses self-discipline to govern his emotions and imagination so that he may be productive in his world and of use to those around him.

We must remind ourselves once more that the King of Cups being a Water sign may be gentle, sensitive and kind yet don’t be under any illusion that this makes him weak in any manner.  This is a wonderfully strong and powerful King.  He is so at one with himself and the world he does not need to show it off as much as the other Kings. Beneath this King’s soft exterior lies a deep inner strength and a well of wisdom.

He holds his Cup proud and firmly in his right hand.  Even though this King is at sea he looks like he is in the middle of entertaining.  He looks like he has been in the middle of sipping on his wine but has just popped out for a moment to show himself to us. Being a Cups personality, this King does love to entertain and certainly enjoys a drink or two.  However, he also looks like he may like to drink alone too and might even fall asleep on his throne at times, too lazy or drunk to get up.  It depends really on how we look at him and whether he is upright or reversed.

The ring on the Saturn finger of his right hand symbolises his authority and how his need to control was formed from early life and his upbringing.  It is worn on the right hand symbolising that this King was brought up in a loving and caring way and so does not wield his authority in a threatening manner. The right hand symbolises that he has been allowed to feel and express his emotions instead of repressing them.  He is now in a good position to advice others on theirs.  The ring on the middle finger often asks questions of the relationship between Father and Child and how one learned to rule their Kingdom (their own life) by observing the Father.  It is when this card reverses that we find issues. The sceptre held in his left hand again symbolises this King’s authority.

One thing we must understand about this King is that although he can freely express his emotions, he does not always choose to do so.  He can often appear secretive to others or even withdrawn.  He has learned in the past that different situations require different levels of response.  Sometimes it is appropriate to show compassion or upset and other times it is vital to adopt a poker face.  He remembers the times as a Page and Knight when he wore his heart on his sleeve.  To those who did not respect or understand this feminine watery aspect he was perceived as weak and often taken advantage of.  As the King he is now viewed as the strong silent type.   He can be quite guarded at times and does not show his hand too readily.  The King of Cups presence in a reading can suggest that you should not reveal your true feelings in relation to the situation.

The King’s crown is colourful and bright, almost like a party hat.  It certainly does not look like the normal Kingly crown.  Could this King desire to be different, dare to wear his own style?  Is it a sign of being more laid back?  Is he possibly a tad eccentric?

The King of Cups sits calm and composed.  His face shows no sign of emotion.  Unlike the King of Wands who looks to the right and was concerned with worldly matters this King looks out and away to his left suggesting that internal matters are of primary concern to him and that he has the ability to tap into the subconscious when making decisions or for creative inspiration.  This King, although worldly and disciplined in his rank also recognises the need to be able to access both the conscious and subconscious to function in the world.  Therefore he is highly intuitive and relies on his own inner counsel in difficult situations.  Others rely on his unique abilities too.

The King of Cups has a highly developed psychic ability and is also deeply spiritual. He holds old-fashioned values and can be very religious.  He is aware of his connection to the source and of other dimensions that are outside his physical awareness.  He understands that the information, messages or inspiration he regularly receives comes from a divine source.  He trusts this source and the gut feelings it brings.  The King acts on his feelings and trusts in his inner counsel or spiritual guidance.  He uses this guidance in all areas of his life.

This King of Cups understands emotions even though he only reveals his own to those he is most comfortable with.  He is compassionate and displays great depth and understanding when difficult situations present themselves.  Not one for losing his head or going AWOL on everyone, he chooses a calm approach during times of crisis. As a result he is suited to a position where meeting the needs of others is of primary concern.  He is a natural Diplomat during times of heightened tensions.

The King of Cups approaches everything in a serene and balanced manner.  Sensitive to the needs of others he is motivated to help wherever he can.  A good listener, his ability to tune in, in the middle of noise and distraction, to hear what is important makes him an excellent counsellor or advisor.  Because he has such control over his own emotions he can remain unbiased and objective when dealing with the emotions of others.  He does not like to take sides so he can be relied upon to deal with matters in a fair and just way.  You can tell this King your deepest dark secrets without fear of judgement or chastisement.  He will also keep your secret.

With an intense dislike for conflict or hostility, this King enjoys a happy harmonious environment and will work hard to keep it so.  He is the peacemaker not just at home but also in the wider community where he will readily get involved if he feels his Kingly qualities are required.  Like his female counterpart, the Queen of Cups, he always has time for friends or family who are going through troublesome times. He is a good listener and his wisdom and advice are much sought after.  The King of Cups epitomises the loyal family friend who can always be relied upon and subtly works in the background helping during a crisis.

In relationships, the King of Cups has learnt from experience that love and emotions are wonderful gifts but can leave one too open and vulnerable. He remembers how his heart was broken so many times as the Page when he idealised love and relationships. Looking back he sees how naïve he was and how he had to toughen himself up a bit as he grew into the Knight. He looks back at the days when as a Knight he wined and dined all the ladies and swore he would marry each one but then of course the hurt and betrayal he experienced when love was unrequited or abused. How he had run amok then working his way through women as if there was no tomorrow, punishing them for what another had done. He feels ashamed of those days but he has learnt that one must not throw one’s love around here and there and in quarters where it will not be respected. He now values his qualities and would want to be sure that any potential partner would respect them too before he would willingly share himself with another.

This King throughout his journey in the Minor Arcana learned a valuable lesson where love was concerned.  We saw him as a Page embark on his quest, in search of The Holy Grail.  He initially looked to others to make him happy but eventually discovered after his journey through the 8 and 9 of Cups that before he could expect another to love him, he had first to love himself. We saw him find that inner or self-love and acceptance in the 9 of Cups.  We saw how happy and fulfilled he was. He now had something of real worth to offer another but that other would have to realise the true value of his love and also to fully deserve it.  Therefore this King will seek out a partner who understands his love and is equally willing to return that which he is ready to give.  Love will need to be a two-way flow of energy.

The King of Cups tends to marry for life and will regard his partner as his sweetheart.  He will be loyal and faithful to his partner and will shower her with tenderness and affection.  Imaginative and creative he treasures his partner and will always find wonderful inventive ways in which to be romantic and show his love.  The King of Cups is considerate and caring towards his partner and is keen to make her feel emotionally secure and truly loved. Not one for pulling rank or throwing his weight around he views his partner as his equal and will always take her feelings and opinions into consideration when making decisions.   The King of Cups will display strong protective traits where his partner is concerned and will endeavour to shield her from anything nasty or upsetting.

This is the King who may very well want babies even before his wife does.  He is keen on starting a family early and enjoys every moment of his children’s upbringing.  He likes to get involved so will practically insist on sharing the more tedious aspects of it such as night-time feeds and nappy changes.  Having babies and children clamouring around his feet brings him great joy so this King may indeed desire a large family.

Emotionally mature and a peace lover he would rarely be seen to raise his voice in relationship disagreements.  He tends to avoid conflict or difficult situations preferring to gently find a solution to any problems that may occur. Chivalrous and courteous, this King is the older man who one sees out in a restaurant with his partner; opening doors for her, pulling out chairs and fetching the car to the door so that she doesn’t have to walk in the rain. He will never forget her birthday or their wedding anniversary and flowers will be sent regularly. This may seem a bit over the top to many but this King really treasures and values what he views as worthwhile. ‘Till death us do part’ is particularly relevant to this King.  If his lovely partner should have the misfortune to die before him, this heartbroken King has the potential to die of a broken heart shortly after.

Speaking of home, this King is a real homebody.  He likes to spend as much time with his family as he can.  He also likes to share his home with those he considers friends.  The King of Cups is the perfect Host and entertainer.  He enjoys having crowds in for dinner parties and social events.  He makes everyone feel welcome and important.  As mentioned before the King of Cups enjoys a few drinks and likes nothing better than sharing some wine and friendly conversation with his guests.  He has a tendency to overindulge sometimes but will continue to remain convivial and charming even if his words are slightly slurred.  He also likes to attend social gatherings outside the home and especially family re-unions or get-togethers.  He enjoys dining out and taking breaks away in romantic locations.  A fan of culture and the arts the King of Cups likes to dress up and attend art exhibitions or go to the theatre.

As a father he is a soft and gentle man who holds strong family values.  His family comes first in all matters and he can often be found to sacrifice his own needs and desires when catering for them.  The happiness of each member of his family is important to him and he will love each and every one of his children unconditionally, regardless of their behaviour or actions.  He provides a warm, loving and emotional stable environment for his children to grow up in. This is not a father who only develops a relationship or interest in his children once they are up walking and talking. On the contrary, he dotes on his children from the moment they are born and will feel very protective of them.

He instinctively knows when any of his family is hurting and will be there for them immediately, offering his understanding, advice and shoulder to cry on. He does not believe in heavy discipline preferring tolerance and understanding to the cane or grounding.  He rarely follows through on any threat of punishment. He hasn’t the ability to harm a hair on their head.  The King of Cups provides a home where his children are free to bring their friends and at times it can get very noisy but the hustle and bustle does not disturb him.  He is happier having his children around then having to worry about them elsewhere.  However, he does not let his worries about his children get out of hand as much as the Queen of Cups does.  He uses his emotional discipline to curb this tendency.  However, he does like to know where his children are and that they are safe and happy.  He can find it hard when his children grow and begin to leave the nest.  He wants the very best for each of them and as long as they are happy he will never stand in the way of them doing what they want to do.

He loves to have the family around and his children will continue to be a great source of comfort to him as they grow up.   His children grown up and in their own relationships may leave his momentarily sad and nostalgic.  His next big moment comes in their life when they begin to start their own families.  If you thought the King of Cups was a great loving father then you have seen nothing yet.  As a Grandfather, he rules supreme.  He is doting and caring with his grandchildren and will do absolutely anything to make them happy as he sees them as mini versions of his own children.  He will always be happy to see them and will never raise his voice or chastise them for naughty behaviour.   He is known for his hugs and smiles and a bit of a pushover to his grandchildren as they grow.  Family gatherings take on a whole new meaning when the King of Cups children, partners and grandchildren visit.

The King of Cups as a Dad is benevolent and kind and his children will cherish him dearly. In fact he will be the envy of all his children’s friends who will bemoan the fact that they do not have a father like him. They regularly joke about their desire to be adopted into the family.

The King of Cups loves anything to do with the sea so holiday times are bound to be spent on or near it.  Some of his fondest family memories will be of warm sunny days spent at the beach with his wife and kids watching them splash about in the water and teaching them all how to swim.


When it comes to careers, the King of Cups has some very obvious options or choices available to him. His understanding nature, deep compassion and sensitivity to the feelings of others make him suitable for careers in counselling, psychology or mediation.  His need to help those whose emotions have been damaged, in danger of being damaged or abused incline him to areas of community health such as a social worker or carer.  This King displays the archetypal personality of the long-standing  Family Doctor who cares for all the families in the community.  He knows the ins and outs of all their problems yet is trusted with such private and delicate information.  He listens sympathetically to his patients while ministering to their medical needs.

This King is a natural and loving Dad so would enjoy careers where he could nurture children or be responsible for their education and development.  He also likes to get involved in youth groups where infinite patience and tolerance is required.  He can also decide to parent children other than his own through fostering or adoption.

The King of Cups strong psychic nature may find him choosing a career in this field, as a holistic therapist, healer or medium.  This man can become deeply involved in the occult arts and metaphysical teachings. His connection to all things spiritual can pull him in two directions.  He may take the path of a guru through meditation and spiritual teaching or he can veer to the religious side, preferring the more traditional role of priesthood.

In business the King of Cups is strangely successful.  He follows his gut instinct or goes on hunches when making business decisions.  He trusts his own natural instincts which never let him down.  His calm, unruffled demeanour allows him to deal logically and practically with any crisis that may develop during the working day.  He is a thoughtful employer who likes to sail a happy and harmonious ship.  During business negotiations or where major contracts are involved he keeps his head and a steady control on his emotions.  He keeps a tight hold of his emotions and knows when it is best to hide them altogether.  His impenetrable expression gives nothing away as he brings the most nerve-wracking deals to a close.  This King has the ability to detach from his strong emotional side when necessary and can sometimes be ruthless in business.

In business the King of Cups is excellent with money and is often associated with secret financial dealings or being responsible for the security of other people’s money.

The King of Cups, like his female counterpart the Queen of Cups has a wonderful creative imagination along with strong artistic abilities which he can put to all sorts of use. Careers where he can excel and showcase his talents may find him earning a living as a writer, poet, artist, musician or actor.

The imagery of this card shows us the King of Cups happily adrift at sea.  Along with his governing element of Water exerting a strong influence on him a life or career at sea would greatly appeal to him.  He could become the captain of a grand ship, a fisherman, or sailing instructor.  Really, any career that takes him in and around water would suit.

Other suitable careers for this King could be as a philosopher, diplomat or consultant.  He may also be involved in catering, hospitality or wine industry.

As the King of Cups ages he can become melancholic and nostalgic.  He can appear to drift away; his mind gone on trips down memory lane to times, people and places long gone or long changed.  He may get quite eccentric in old age.  He loses nothing of his desire for romance as he ages. If without a partner, he can still be found chatting up young and not so young ladies in bars and night clubs gaining him a loveable old rogue reputation

Sometimes the King of Cups, due to his upbringing and culture is reserved and finds it hard to show how much he cares about his partner or family.  He loves them dearly but either finds it difficult to express or is not socially acceptable to do so.  This is not to be confused with the extreme of these traits found in the reversed King of Cups


King of Cups Reversed

Immature Male Water, Turbulent, Overly emotional, Overwhelmed emotionally, Repressed Emotions, Unhappy, Dark Moods, Sulky, Depressed, Wounded, Bitter, Need to Forgive, Hypersensitive, Nervy, Faltering, Un-manly, Lack of emotional discipline, Stressed, Unsympathetic, Un-supportive, Uncaring, Un-Kind, Intolerant, Un-fair, Un-romantic, Un-loving, Withdrawn, Indifference, Cooling Off, Low Libido, Lack of imagination, Creative/Writer’s Block, Sentimental, Nostalgic, Gullible, Pushover, Pleaser, Delusional, Overindulgence, Excess, Alcoholism, Addictions, Debauchery, Vice, Rape, Violence, Dark Arts, Dishonourable man, Embezzler, Con-man, Swindler, Cook, Double-Crosser, Bribery, Cheat, Un-trustworthy, “Don’t Trust Me”,

Like all the reversed Court Cards, this King of Cup’s personality changes considerably when he reverses.  The King of Cups either falls from his throne or it capsizes.  One way or another, this King has lost his emotional discipline.

We now find the King of Cups unable to stay afloat amidst the turbulent sea (strong emotions).  His throne begins to let in water and eventually capsizes, flinging the King into the watery depths.  His Cup flows away from him and disappears into the swell. He loses his grip on his sceptre and watches helplessly as it is sucked away from him by the strong current (current events or issue). Swamped by his emotions he finds it impossible to keep calm during times of crisis.  Nervy and faltering he cannot focus and think straight.  He is easily overwhelmed by minor issues and upsets.  His imagination can run riot and is of no help to anyone. Others may need to help him.

With no throne and no sceptre he is powerless.  With no Cup, he has no feelings.  The water is ice-cold and it won’t be long before this King is too.  He shows no sympathy or compassion for those who suffer and is indifferent to the plight of others.  He loses the ‘family friend’ aspect and becomes the ‘cold fish’ character that is known for his uncaring manner and disloyal manner.

If the King of Cups has fallen from his throne instead of it capsizing there must be a reason. Could it be that he has had too much to drink?  If he has been overindulging, has it all got out of hand?  Has he, in a drunken stupor, tripped over his throne, passed out on it or even fallen off it?  We must also look at the fact that this King is alone and drunk.  He was fine in the upright enjoying a few glasses of wine with his friends and family, but this is different.  Here we find the reversed King of Cups drinking just for the sake of drinking.  He doesn’t need people around anymore.  His friend is alcohol and it keeps him company.  He keeps his cup filled to the brim with the stuff.  If he keeps his Cup full of alcohol instead of the crystal clear emotions that should normally reside there then he does not have to suffer the painful memories that surface and reflect back at him every time he takes a sip.

Alcohol may not be the only substance he uses to keep his overpowering emotions at bay as there are other substances that work equally well such as drugs  or even food.  The reversed King of Cups is emotionally dysfunctional when like this and it may highlight some deep issues from a painful past and especially from his own upbringing.  Something has hurt or disturbed this King so intensely that he cannot face his emotions.  Instead he shoves them down them every time they try to surface by drinking excessively, taking drugs, chain-smoking or overeating.  The King of Cups reversed is also prone to use sex without love as another form of drug.  Addictions of all sorts are associated with this reversed King.  Addictions usually have a root cause and are a sign of deep unhappiness caused by repressed emotions. Once the emotions have been damaged and are repressed, so too is the mind damaged.  This means that the reversed King of Cups in this state will be psychologically dysfunctional too.  The Water within this King has either dried up or has turned to ice.  This can also present as an inability to grief or cry at times of bereavement, unhappiness or loss.

When water is not allowed to flow freely or is restricted it becomes stagnant and poisonous. Like his female counterpart, the Queen of Cups, his emotions can become twisted and bitter as his behaviour and actions, thought forms and words are governed by events from his past or his upbringing.  In the upright he stands for loving parenting but when reversed this poor King may not understand the meaning of love and may never have received it as a child.  However, like all humans, he needs love and unconsciously will seek it out.  The Kings of Cups reversed will set about finding it in a negative manner and is bound to fail.  Failure brings a deeper pain that he is helpless to understand and so will self-medicate with bingeing of all types.  This reversed King of Cups suffering from depression in this manner needs professional help.  Through counselling, psychotherapy or rehab he may find a way to safely explore his painful past and so release all the repressed emotions that prevent him from living a happy life.  The best place for him to start would be to confide in his family doctor, someone just like the King of Cups upright.  A kind, understanding, compassionate and wise person who really wants to help this reversed King to help himself.  He needs to go back to the wounded child and comfort it.

On a lighter note, this reversed King, depending on the surrounding cards and feedback from the querant, may just be overdoing it on the social scene.  He may be burning the candle at both ends and is bound to feel unhealthy and dreadfully tired.  If we look back to the 4 of Cups where we spoke of drinking buddies enticing or facilitating overindulgence, this reversed King of Cups may suggest that the querant either needs to distance himself from them or exert more self-control.  This card often surfaces in readings as a flag to encourage the querant to find a new social scene as the current one is unhealthy and unhelpful.  Drinking buddies who just want to party all night are not real friends.  The querant needs to pull away, retreat, detox, rest and meditate on his or her emotional needs before seeking out new friends.  Generally the querant readily acknowledges this situation and is ready to move on.  This can highlight a new level of maturity for the querant.

In relationships, the King of Cups reversed can highlight different issues depending on the supporting cards in the spread.  He can be emotionally immature and terribly needy.  He needs constant reassurance from his partner that he is loved and needed.   Like the reversed Queen of Cups, his dark moods and sulking behaviour may be difficult to live with.  He is a worrier and hypersensitive to indifference or criticism.

His partner may need to walk on egg shells around him as he is easily upset and cannot deal with any sort of unpleasantness.

He can become co-dependent relying on his partner to bolster up his emotions and soothe his worries and stresses.  If this is the situation, he loses his manly and Kingly qualities.  The question is, has this behaviour been encouraged by his partner through domination. Does his partner exert full control? Has she leached his self-power from him?  If not then this man has willingly given it away.  He is weak and not much of a support to his partner.

The King of Cups reversed can be a danger sign in relationships.  It can suggest emotional coldness.  If this is so, then his partner has a big problem to deal with.  The King of Cups reversed can be the seducer or the man who feigns love to ensnare his partner.  He can then exert his power over her.  His partner may find out his true nature all too late and be horrified to discover that he is not the man she married.  He may use love to control her and withdraw it if she misbehaves.  He can exert rigid control over her through clever manipulation of her emotions.  He will show love one day and then treat her despicably the next.  The King of Cups reversed is capable of violence and rape.  The trouble is that no one would expect it of him.  He can easily portray the image of the upright King when outdoors, but behind closed doors this man can be vicious.  This makes him incredibly dangerous and capable of a multitude of horrors for he knows he can get away with it. He will show no compassion, no sympathy and no understanding.  This man is emotionally unstable and like the Queen of Cups, his memory for slights or hurts seems to be incredibly strong. If his coldness stems from a past hurt in love or from abuse as a child, he may seek revenge by taking out his pain on others.  He needs to forgive and forget in order to move on.

The King of Cups can suggest that there is a lack of romance in your life or that your partner is unromantic and unimaginative. Earth is too prominent and gets in the way of spontaneous gestures or behaviour.  The King of Cups reversed can also suggest a cooling off in a relationship.  This may indicate the end of a relationship or a temporary situation depending on surrounding cards.  All relationships go through their ups and downs.  Pregnancy, babies, work stresses, redundancy, financial worries and ill-health all take their toll on a couple.  During this time one or both individuals in the relationship can retreat or withdraw as they struggle to deal with their problems.  Communication can break down or resentment set in.  When this happens one of the first areas to be hit is the sex life.  This reversed King can highlight intimacy issues.  One partner may have withdrawn emotionally and physically due to stress.  However, they may handle this poorly by clamming up and keeping their problems to themself.  This may just be to protect their partner. Dreadful misunderstandings can occur as a result.  The partner can feel abandoned, ugly and unloved.  This partner then withdraws too.  With the withdrawal comes low self-esteem and self-worth.  A breakdown in the relationship is inevitable unless the couple can begin to communicate and share their worries and doubts.  However, the surrounding cards should give supporting evidence that this is only a temporary issue, otherwise it may unfortunately mean that the wonderful man you thought you had found is beginning to lose interest in you.  The reversed King of Cups will try to avoid difficult situations as much as possible so it may be up to you to eventually call it a day.  He will heave a sigh of relief and reassure you that “it’s not you, it’s me” before happily heading out the door and out of your life.

The reversed King of Cups can sometimes indicate that he is at odds with his sexual orientation.  This is bound to cause him serious emotional distress.  If he is married and feels like this he may be conducting a secret life behind the conventional appearance.

If the reversed King of Cups has lost his libido for one reason or another he may feel unmanly and useless to his partner.  He then withdraws out of shame.  The more he worries about not being able to perform the less he can.  He may need to go and see his understanding family doctor who will put his mind at ease.

This reversed King can bring sexual debauchery or perverted sex to a relationship. He may be the apparent loving and caring husband who frequents brothels and prostitutes to act out his twisted fantasies and fetish desires.

The King of Cups reversed can suggest that there is a scandal surrounding the querant or scandalous behaviour.  Dishonest and underhand behaviour may be evident.  He can be guilty of deceitful behaviour or cheating in his relationships.  He may be able to manage several relationships at the one time with no one suspecting.

When it comes to careers, the upright King of Cups is linked to been excellent at securing and looking after the finances of others.  However when he reverses we see a shocking change.  As mentioned earlier, a very negative aspect about this King reversed is his ability to display the personality of the upright King at will.  The reversed King of Cups is traditionally known to enjoy a career as ‘con man’, ‘swindler’ or ‘embezzler’.  He is a smooth operator who is faking it all to manipulate a person or situation while he takes advantage.  In this state he is deceitful and manipulative.

He can represent the dishonest or dishonourable business man.  If he is in a position of authority he may into bribery.  He may be the Boss Man of a criminal gang who use extortion and violence to intimidate their clients.

He is the trusting looking kind man who manipulates his way into your heart or life but behind all the softness and caring manner is a nasty hidden agenda.  He is the man who turns up on the doorstep of countless little old ladies who fall for his polite manners and invite him in to hear more about what he is selling.  He drinks the tea he is offered, listens to stories about their grandchildren or cats and then cold heartedly cleans them out of their life savings.  With his saintly looks and behaviour, no one would expect it of him and he is long gone by the time anyone has discovered his wicked deed.  This card can act as a warning that someone is trying to take advantage of you or that someone is not who they pretend to be.  You should not take advice from this person because it does not come from a good heart.  He is a double-crosser and is only out for himself.  Because the upright King of Cups is one you would normally turn to in a crisis he warns you in the reverse that “you should not turn to anyone in your life right now who appears to be like me for they cannot be trusted.”

As a business man, he may find it hard to keep his cool during a crisis and is prone to emotional outbursts. He can be a cold-hearted unsympathetic boss who is driven too much by the Earth element which makes it all to do with moneymaking and no joy.  Due to his lack of emotional discipline he may find it hard to keep his nerve during business deals and negotiations or he can be extremely ruthless in getting what he wants.  The truth is that if too much earth is present, it soaks up any available water leaving this King barren and dry.  No matter what worthy career he has entered – counselling, psychology, social work or fostering he may be in it for the money and nothing else.  If this is your family doctor, then he is bound to have a terrible bedside manner.

This King may just be suffering from creative or ‘writer’s block’ if he has allowed Earth to gain the upper hand.  He may be painting or writing purely for financial gain and has lost his creative and divine inspiration.  He may need the money but his heart will not be in his work.  He rarely uses his creativity positively. He may be working in a career that does not suit him and that gives him no joy.  He is bound to feel frustrated and unhappy.  This King needs to be using his artistic and creative side in order to feel fulfilled.

In the upright, the King of Cups is deeply spiritual and psychic and can enjoy a successful career in this field.  However, when he reverses, we see this King begin to use his powers for his own gain and not to help others.  Instead, he may prefer to indulge in the black arts which will leave him open and vulnerable to negative spirit attachments.  His debauch nature combined with his love of the occult make this reversed King a truly undesirable person.

Instead of his worthy careers in the upright this reversed King may be involved in the world of vice.  He may be a pimp or brothel owner.

The King of Cups can be overly sentimental, melancholic and terribly gullible.  He is easily taken in by others who will manipulate him.  A pushover and a people pleaser, this reversed King is often taken advantage of.  He finds it hard to say ‘no’ as he doesn’t want to disappoint or offend anyone.  If this reversed King has turned religious, he will have taken it to the extremes.  He will act sanctimonious and overly pious.  Like the Queen of Cups reversed, he can become unrealistic and delusional; preferring to live in a world of fantasy.  He may appear quite senile or strangely eccentric.  Some may feel he has lost his marbles but if this is his only fault then this reversed King of Cups is harmless and may represent the elderly parent or partner that is being taken care of in the 6 of Cups .

As a father, the reversed King of Cups can suggest an absent one or a father who is emotionally cold and unavailable.  Unfortunately this reversed King regularly suggests an alcoholic parent.  We can judge him by how he behaves when he is drunk.  Sometimes this father will become an easy touch to his kids when he is drunk handing over excessive amounts of pocket-money and crying with emotion when he tells them over and over again how much he loves them.  He is not a strong role model for his children but he means them no harm.  He obviously has a problem but does not take it out on his children.  As his children grow they will become quite protective of him and help in putting him to bed and clearing up any mess.

If his drinking turns him sour and nasty then his children are bound to be exposed to this and will be damaged as a result.  He can be cold and sharp with them.  His angry drunken outbursts strike fear into their hearts and they feel sickened by the sight of him.  He is a mess and dreadfully damaged.  He is not capable of looking after children and should not be around them.  Because of his reputation for sexual debauchery there may be some sinister secrets behind an apparent happy family public image when this reversed King appears.  In his very negative aspect he can be a warning sign that children are at risk of sexual abuse or have already been abused by this King.  If this is true then this King himself was probably abused as a child and is repeating the cycle of what was done to him.  This of course would need to be heavily supported by surrounding cards and careful subtle enquiries of the querant.

However, the King of Cups reversed may be the archetypal overly protective and smothering father who allows very little freedom or spontaneity.   He sees the world as a big bad place and does not want to lose any of his children to it.  He can stymie their growth and natural development by turning his children into nervous and overly cautious adults just like himself.

The King of Cups reversed may represent the father who is unable to show his love due to conditioning from his own childhood.

Pages Intro   Knights Intro   Queens Intro   Kings Intro

King of Wands   King of Cups   King of Swords   King of Pentacles

Earth Signs   Taurus   Virgo   Capricorn

Back to Lesson 4

4 replies »

  1. I recently pulled a past, present and future reading together. Past: Knight of cups, Present: The World, and Future: King of Cups. I find it interesting, as the reading itself seems like/indicates a type of personal evolution. As my question pertained to my current career trajectory, I’m having a hard time reading these cards, as I typically understand cups to be an emotional suit.


    • Hi Daria,

      Yes, Cups are an emotional suit but they do have careers as well. To me this would either be linked to a career that is typically associated with the Cups or the importance of being emotionally connected to what you are doing. Is money more important than personal happiness for example? The Cups would not think so. They generally follow their hearts where their careers are concerned as they will not thrive in an environment they feel no emotional connection to. If you are wondering about which career direction to follow, both the Knight and King of Cups will ask you to trust your gut instinct and listen to what your heart has to say. The World is a card for great success and what is more successful than a career you love and are drawn to. Work is a labor of love and not a chore or duty. Also the King, followed by The Knight may be suggesting following in the footsteps of another family member. Do your family follow a certain career path? Another thing would be to seek out some wise counsel on career matters. Go to someone you admire and consider successful on many levels. Ask them for their secret of success. These are just a few options. Hope some of this helps.



      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Viv. I did a 3 card spread about a potential lover and i got King of Cups (representing myself) the second card was the Queen of Cups in the situation position, and the last card was the Page of Wands in the Challenge position. for the past couple months i have been getting both the king and queen a lot in spreads regarding this person, but not always in the same spread. about a month ago i did a 3 card spread regarding this person and i got both the king and queen of cups in that same spread; but the queen was the 1st card, The Lovers was the second card in the Situation position, and the king was the last card in the challenge position. the recent spread i just did was the first time i got the page of wands ever, and i’m not quite sure what it means as a challenge to the king and queen. the spread i did last month where i got queen of cups, lovers, and king of cups, both the queen and king were facing different directions. now that there facing the same direction, but the queen still looking at her cup, i think this means something significant now, but i just don’t know what. being that all three are court cards i know is something meaningful, but the page of wands has his back turned toward the queen, and the king could be watching him from the back. being that this is a potential lover, and me and her haven’t been together intimately, i know there’s a chance i could be the page; but being that I’ve been getting both king and queen in spreads as well as other good cards regarding her in positive positions, I’m leaning towards the king and queen may mean something big between me and her. could you please give me your insight on this? Thanks!


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