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.

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.



King of Cups Tarot Card Key Meanings:
Mature compassionate male, calm, caring, friendly, sympathetic, wise, tolerant, diplomatic, balanced, affectionate, romantic, charming, devoted, family orientated, generous, easy going, married man, good husband/partner/father, loyal, faithful, spiritual guide, counsellor

General meaning and interpretation
In a general context, the King of Cups Tarot card represents kindness, compassion and wisdom. This Minor Arcana card can indicate that you will be finding the balance between your mind and your heart. You will learn to control your emotions and find the wisdom to accept that which you cannot change. You should be gaining a deeper level of emotional maturity when this card appears. You will become calmer, more sympathetic to others and tolerant. Like all the cups court cards, the King of Cups signifies emotion, creativity, artistic ability and intuition but in a more balanced form. As a person, the King of Cups is caring, affectionate and empathetic. He is a good listener, diplomatic and easy going. He is the type of older male who will give you sound advice and act as a calming influence in your life. He usually has light hair and has few if any enemies as he is well liked and gets along with the majority of people. He may lack the drive to pursue material wealth as he is more focused on the emotional side of life. He is very family orientated. He may be a water sign such as Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces.

In a health context, if you have been ill the King of Cups can indicate healing and as such, is a positive card to get. It reminds you to treat yourself with empathy and kindness. You should be feeling emotionally positive about your health.

Love & Relationships
In a love Tarot spread, if you are in a relationship, the King of Cups can be a very good omen as it is the good husband, partner or father card. It is a very loving card so you should be finding a lot of emotional fulfilment when it appears and petty arguments should be at a minimum. Romance and affection should be abundant in the relationship. If you have been having a tough time emotionally, this card shows that there will be support there for you within the relationship. If you are single, this card is usually signals the qualities of a potential partner coming your way and as such is a great omen! If representing a partner, potential partner or you as a partner, the King of Cups is one of the best cards you can get. He is romantic, charming, devoted and loyal. He is easy going, a great husband, a caring partner and a doting father! He is generally older or at least very emotionally mature and is generous with his time, money and/or advice.

Money & Career
In terms of career, the King of Cups can indicate that an older male may offer you support or guidance in a career context. It can also be an indication that you will find your diplomacy skills and wisdom to resolve any career issues and create a pleasant working environment for yourself. You will be well liked and respected by your colleagues. Remember to keep the balance in all areas of your life, give your career the focus it needs but do not give it your undivided attention. If you are looking for a career path or new direction, it can be an indicator that working in a caring or healing field would suit you such as counselling, nursing, reiki healing etc. It can also indicate that you would do well in a creative or artistic field. In a financial context, the King of Cups is usually financially stable and secure due to his wisdom but he can lack drive when it comes to material wealth. However, when he appears he can also be an indication that you lack balance in your financial dealings: either neglecting your finances or being too focused on finances to the detriment of the other areas of your life. Try to find the balance.


In a spiritual context, the King of Cups signifies a highly developed psychic or intuitive ability and is a great card to get in a spiritual Tarot spread. This Minor Arcana tells you that you will be receiving and understanding the messages spirit is sending you and using them to help others. You have learned to trust your abilities and intuition.
King of Cups Reversed Tarot Card Key Meanings:
Emotionally immature male, overly emotional, overwhelmed, anxious, uncaring, unkind, gullible, depressed, cold, repressed, withdrawn, moody, unbalanced, controlling, rape, violence, deviance, manipulation, affair with married man, cheater, conman, blocked creativity, ruthlessness

General meaning and interpretation
In a general context, the King of Cups reversed can represent being overly emotional or too sensitive. It can signify a lack of emotional maturity. It can be a sign that you are lacking back bone or are allowing yourself to be too gullible or putting yourself in a position where others can take advantage of you. You have to be accountable for your own behaviour. It tells you that you need to take responsibility for your emotions and wellbeing. This Minor Arcana card can indicate that a lack of emotional balance may be causing you to become overwhelmed, anxious or depressed. This can also present itself as bitterness or unkind, uncaring or manipulative behaviour. As a person, the King of Cups reversed is manipulative, controlling and, in the extreme negative, abusive. He is someone who uses his ability to sense the emotional weaknesses of others as a weapon against them and will seek to take advantage of vulnerability in others to get his own way or simply for his own amusement. He can be vindictive and spiteful and is not be trusted. Alternatively, the King of Cups reversed can represent an older male who is so overly emotional and sensitive that he has lost the ability to function properly in the world. He may be moody, sulky, unbalanced and at risk of becoming dependent on the people around him. He may be a water sign such as Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces.

In a health reading, the King of Cups reversed can indicate alcohol or drug abuse issues as the emotionally overwhelmed King turns to vices as a coping mechanism. It is generally an indication that something in your lifestyle or environment is negatively affecting your health and well-being. You need to take responsibility for your choices and make healthier choices to improve your health.

Love & Relationships
In a love Tarot reading, if you are in relationship, the King of Cups reversed is not a great card to get as it can indicate you or your partner becoming emotionally unstable and cause problems in the relationship. One of you may be going through a tough time emotionally and may not be treating the other with the love and kindness they deserve. If that is the case, you may need to take some time to yourself to get control of your emotions and resolve whatever issues are causing this upheaval. It can also represent cheating, perverted sexual behaviour or disloyalty and in the extreme negative can be a sign of abuse, rape or violence. If that is your situation, seek professional support to get away and create a safe and secure situation for yourself. If you are single, the King of Cups reversed is not a great card to get as it can indicate an affair with a married man. Alternatively, it can represent a potential partner who will be cold, calculating, controlling or will deceive you. It can also be a warning to be mindful of your personal safety when dating as it can be an indicator of violence or abuse and in extreme cases, rape or sexual assault. The man it represents is a great con artist and can appear to be quite charming and kind but he is a dangerous manipulator with a hidden dark side, beware! Alternately, it can indicate that a potential partner will be emotionally immature and become clingy and needy.

Money & Career
In a career context, the King of Cups reversed can indicate that you may have to deal with a ruthless, cold or emotionally unstable male in your workplace. This person will stop at nothing to get what they want and can be prone to emotional tirades if they don’t get it. This can also be an indicator of how you are behaving in your work environment if the card is representing you. It can also be an indication that you have chosen a career solely for the money it will make you and that you are getting no joy or fulfilment from it. If that is the case, think about changing your career path to something that you will find fulfilling. If you work in an artistic or creative field, this Minor Arcana card can be an indication that you are feeling creatively blocked as you have lost touch with the joy you get from being creative and have become too concerned with material wealth and success. Try to reconnect with your love of creative expression and you will soon find the creativity flowing again. In terms of finances, the King of Cups is a warning not to be gullible with money. It indicates that you may be a risk of falling victim to a con artist or extortionist. Be very careful who you trust. Only take financial advice from accredited professionals, don’t get involved in deals with people you don’t trust and play your cards close to your chest.

In a spiritual context, the King of Cups reversed can indicate that simply indicate that your psychic abilities or intuition has become blocked. However, it can also signify that you are using your powers in the wrong way. You may be engaged in dark practices or using your abilities to manipulate or control others or simply focusing too much on personal gain and not entering into things with the right intentions. Remember, whatever you give out spiritually will eventually come back to you so make sure you are sending out love and light. Alternately, it can indicate that you are waiting for your spiritual gifts to just drop into your lap, even if you have natural gifts you still need to work at developing them! Try to put a bit more focus and energy into your spiritual development.