If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving be me.
— W. H. Auden
Another visit from the Two of Cups, which just came calling back in December. This is a gentle card that shows the tender attraction between two people. If we consider the Ace as being the beginning of the suit’s potential, the Two is the first manifestation of emotional connection.
Tarot artist and scholar Robert Place notes that in the Marseilles tradition decks (predecessors of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck), there is always “a flowering stem in the center between the two cups. Near the top, two tendrils branch to either side and terminate in dolphin heads, which turn inward and lick the flower. This is a Tree of Life design.
“The Waite-Smith card,” he continues, “reinterprets this symbol as the snake-entwined caduceus of Hermes, terminating in a winged lion head. The winged lion is like an anthropomorphized Egyptian solar disk. Together with the caduceus it has ties to the lion-headed God of the Mithraic mysteries, a winged human figure with the head of a lion and a snake spiraling around its body. It represents divine power.”
It is interesting to note that this is another of Pamela Colman Smith’s “stage” cards, in which the horizon is a straight line, making it look more like a scene on a stage than a natural outdoor setting.
Here, then, is the beginning of one of the oldest stories of mankind: Boy meets girl.
We see the duality of man/woman, active/passive, yin/yang. The woman stands quietly as the young man steps forward, reaching out to touch her. What will that caress ignite?
In the background, there is a house with a red roof – almost identical to the house that appears in the Ten of Cups, the culmination of the suit. The happy ending is already foreshadowed here.
This card certainly echoes The Lovers card, where instead of the solar lion, the couple is blessed by the angel between them. Two hearts meet through the grace of The Beloved.
What alliances are being formed this week? In the huge geopolitical upheavals we are witnessing in the Middle East, there are big questions regarding our own country’s future alliances and friendships.
In Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Bahrain and more – one by one, people are reaching out and meeting with one another; friendships and passionate loyalties are formed; critical mass is achieved, and decades of repression are toppling down. Suddenly, the most entrenched regimes are nervously looking around at their neighbors, wondering if they have any friends.
For us as individuals, this week, flesh and spirit are invited to find harmonious expression together. Like the first glimmers of Spring now making themselves known, you may be feeling the stirrings of new love.
Or this could be the beginning of an important alliance, based on mutual respect and understanding. What partnerships do you have that are heart-centered and on equal footing? Is there someone, perhaps in your business or other dealings, that you might like to know better? This may be a great opportunity for your acquaintanceship to blossom into true friendship.
If you are married or partnered, how can you strengthen your commitment, friendship and intimacy? What loving cup do you both long to exchange this week? What pledge might you make to one another?
In all cases, this card offers a blessing to your relationships – new, old, and yet to be.
Just remember that if we seek relationships only because of our need or loneliness, we offer only an empty cup. The Two of Cups shows us that when our own cup is full, then are we ready to share with another.