The King of Cups is the card of wisdom, diplomacy, balance, devotion, and counseling. The king sits on his throne, holding a scepter in one hand and a large cup in the other. He is looking out into the world with confidence and maturity. He is balanced in his approach. He loves deeply, but is also able to know when something is no longer serving him. When it comes to those he loves, he is extremely devoted.
The King of Cups reminds us that in mature love, we always find a good balance between the head and the heart. The pinnacle of love is not in the early stages of infatuation, but is in the steadiness of a loyal devotion that only grows stronger with time. As you continue to emotionally mature, you will grow closer and closer to becoming the King of Cups and all he represents.
If the King of Cups appears in a Tarot spread as a person, that means that this person is an emotionally confident person. They know their worth, and they understand the power that they have over others. This is a person who doesn’t feel the need to manipulate others or interact with them in an underhanded way. They have a strict moral compass that they abide by: I behave ethically, and anyone who doesn’t do the same isn’t worth dealing with. Because the element of Water carries a feminine energy, this card carries a passive, receptive energy. We all have a little bit of both energies expressed in a balanced way, regardless of which gender we identify as.
For physical characteristics, the King of Cups as a person represents someone who isn’t flashy. They are more focused on what’s going on on the inside rather than what’s reflected outwardly. However, don’t worry, this is not the type of person who would disregard a dress code! Again, this is somebody who is just more focused on human relationships and emotions, so they will be very considerate of their surroundings. Their personal style is laid back. Even if they have money, they are humble and prefer low-key, quality items. They eat well and treat their bodies with compassion. If they are insecure about their looks, they tend to conceal it with self-deprecating humor.
For emotional characteristics, the King of Cups as a person represents someone who is emotionally aware. They’re the type of person who acknowledges their feelings. They typically exhibit the mature, masculine sides of the Water signs. Like a Cancer, they are protective of their loved ones. They are excellent parents. Like a Scorpio, they are typically intense, passionate, sexual, private, and giving. Like a Pisces, they’re soulful, compassionate, and considerate. They’re not afraid of emotions and depth.
For careers, the King of Cups can represent someone who’s talented in diplomacy, creates harmony, or brings peace to people. This person who wants to make a positive impact on humanity. They can work in any of the Water sign fields. Even if they work in the seemingly cold, Scorpionic world of finance, this is the type of person who will promote green investments that are good for the planet. If they work in a nonprofit, the King of Cups is very compassionate toward their beneficiaries, they’re not ego-driven and more heart-driven. They like having a personal but not unprofessional relationship with colleagues, employees, patients, and clients. They tend to be artistic, in control, and in touch with the human condition. For example, they may be an author, a film director, or an art therapist.
The King of Cups as a person represents someone who makes you feel loved and cared for. This is a very sensitive and mature individual. They’re the type of potential partner who exhibits all the right “green flags” in a relationship. You’ll notice that they handle conflict well, and will usually turn disagreements into a constructive experience that improves group dynamics. If you’re romantically involved with this person, consider yourself lucky. Because this is a king, they’re seasoned and experienced in love, but they never allow their past experiences to embitter them.
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If the King of Cups reversed appears in a Tarot spread as a person, that means that this person is selfish and manipulative. This person may exhibit unhealthy behavioral patterns in relationships, such as an inability to maintain reciprocal relationships or being emotionally unavailable. Because this is a Minor Arcana card, some of these traits will not be inherent aspects of their identity. If they are behaving unfavorably, they might just be going through a temporary phase. It may be a behavioral pattern that they can still unlearn, if they choose to. Good or bad, nobody is perfect, and people can use their free will to change for the better.
For physical characteristics, the King of Cups reversed as a person represents someone who is way too emotional or volatile, and it reflects in their outward appearance. This may manifest in looking unkempt, or being unable to follow dress codes when it really matters. In the reverse, they can be narcissistic, sanctimonious, or pretentious in their self-expression. For example, they may break a wedding dress code to make a fashion or political statement, with no regard for how the bride and groom may feel about it. In the reverse, they can have a similar energy to the holier-than-thou Hierophant in reverse. If they live by a certain strict diet, they will force their lifestyle upon people, and judge others who don’t live their preferred lifestyle.
For emotional characteristics, the King of Cups reversed as a person represents someone who is confusing to deal with emotionally. They typically exhibit the masculine shadow sides of the Water signs. Like a Cancer, they may be possessive and clingy. If this person is a parent, they may live vicariously through their children. Like a Scorpio, they may be secretive, controlling, and jealous. Like a Pisces, they may be unrealistic, emotionally manipulative, have a tendency to lie, and be prone to unhealthy addictive behaviors.
For careers, the King of Cups reversed can represent someone who may appear to wish to make a positive impact on humanity. However, they are ego driven and may do it for greed, praise, or clout. This person may lack boundaries. For example, they may have inappropriate relationships with colleagues. They can be clingy, paranoid about poaching, and generally manipulative. If they have some sort of authority at the workplace, they can micromanage and be overly controlling. In extreme cases, they may even be emotionally abusive. If they work in the arts, they may lack creativity, and have a tendency to make false promises and plagiarize others’ work.
The King of Cups reversed as a person represents someone who makes you feel like you just got off an emotional rollercoaster. This person is emotionally unpredictable and inconsistent. You always feel on edge because you never know what might upset them. Much like the Knight of Cups, this person is just as manipulative, if not more. Because they are more mature and experienced than the Knight of Cups, their brand of manipulation will be more sophisticated and subtle. You won’t realize you’re being manipulated until it’s too late. People like the reversed King of Cups are the reason why you need to educate yourself on what emotional and mental abuse look like. If you’re romantically involved with this person, know your worth, and know when to walk away.
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For love readings, the King of Cups represents emotional maturity and devotion. The King of Cups is the pinnacle of the suit of cups, which rules over emotions. His steadfast nature paired with his compassion makes him the ultimate symbol of how to treat others to cultivate deep love and loyalty. This card is a reminder that we can get to a place where we have a deep understanding of our emotions without being beholden to their every whim.
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