In love readings, the King of Cups is a good card to get. Whether or not you date people who self-identify as male, this card normally represents someone who is ready for love. It sounds like a good thing, right?
On the night I met my husband, my teacher Janet pulled me aside and wanted to read my cards. We were at a party. I was half-listening to the reading and half checking out the gorgeous dude across the room who I very much wanted to get to know. The King of Cups sat squarely in the middle of my reading. “You’re about to be in a relationship!” Janet exclaimed. “He’s your Soul Mate! You’re going to LOVE him! You’ll be together for-EV-ah!” I asked if I already knew him and she said, “You might know him, but you don’t really know him, yet.”
I wondered if that guy was the gorgeous guy I was oggling. As it turned out, he was and I married him almost exactly six years later.
That’s a great King of Cups moment. But not every King of Cups is grand.
I’m pretty sure I got the King of Cups just prior to meeting one guy I dated briefly in college. I met him at the pizza shop where I worked. He was impressed that I recognized the Allman Brothers on the radio before he did (“A girl who knows her classic rock! All right!”) We went out to dinner and he insisted on paying for everything (even though I normally always split checks because none of us could afford to front anyone else). Within minutes, he opened up about his deeply troubled relationship with his dad, his deeply troubled relationship with God, and his deeply troubled relationships with every woman he’d ever dated. Except for me, of course. He said he could tell I was special. I started to feel strange, a sensation I now recognize as a red-flag warning. Later that week, he showed me his overwritten novel about a deeply troubled guy with a deeply troubled past. He visited me at work nearly every day, often with a dozen roses, and would lean over the ordering counter to talk to me while I worked which deeply troubled my boss. He walked me to my classes, my arm linked tightly in his, and he glared coldly when my guy-friends tried to say hi. After a few weeks, I was deeply troubled about the prospect of continuing to date this guy and I called it off. I’m sure I was crappy about it. No one is good at breaking up with people, but I was especially terrible at it back then. He was icy to me when our paths crossed after that. On the last time I saw him, he opened up again about how broke he was, how his social life was crap, and how he was moving back to Vermont because basically everything in Portland was awful and needed to be where he wasn’t so deeply troubled all the time. “K bye,” I said as I wasn’t good at goodbyes then (and suck at them now, too, actually.).
That was not a great King of Cups experience.
When the King of Cups is at his best, he’s loving, supportive, dedicated, honest. When he’s at his worst, he’s possessive, overwhelming, depressing (e.g., “Deeply troubled.”).
But when he shows up in your readings, how do you know what kind of King he’s going to be?
I like to draw an informational card to help clarify. When paired with the King of Cups, here’s what you might find:
King of Cups and Two of Pentacles
This is going to be a moody King of Cups. Perhaps this King’s emotions are a little erratic. They also might have a hard time balancing their relationships with other aspects of their life. Is your new flame so into you that they’re neglecting work, school, friendships, or otherwise? That’s not a good King of Cups. This card may also be marking the beginning of a relationship with extreme ups and downs. If you are beginning to see someone and you get this pairing in a reading, proceed with extra caution.
King of Cups and 9 of Cups
I like the 9 of Cups because the character is smiling and the cups behind them are full and organized. This person is not concerned or focused on anything besides you–the reader. However, I don’t get the sense that they’ve given up their entire world to focus on you, either. They seem already filled with their own life, but would like to share that with you. When paired with the King of Cups, this seems like a mature romantic option. Go for it. They seem nice.
King of Cups with Queen of Pentacles
This pairing feels like a rom-com. One person is super practical and focused on the daily logistics of life. The other would like to sip wine and smell roses in the park all day. Even if it is a cliche pairing, if it’s both sides to one person, that can work out quite well.
The Emperor and the King of Cups
The Emperor on his own isn’t so bad. He can also mean a person who is ready for commitment in love, possibly ready to co-parent. But for some reason, when he’s paired with the King of Cups, he might throw a terrifying fit because you forgot to invite him to Disney on Ice.
I hope this helps as you flip those cards in advance of Valentine’s Day! Stay tuned as there WILL be a February reading special next month. If you’re in the Spokane, WA area, please come and join the Imbolc celebration next weekend! I’ll be speaking on both Tarot and the Goddess Brigid, and there will be a beautiful ritual in the midst of it all!