Don’t give it up,
Got an empty cup
Only love can fill,
Only love can fill.
Hunter/Garcia, Comes a Time
After an absence of more than five years, the Knight of Cups visits us this week, bringing his message of hope and love. Heaven knows we need this gentle and timely inspiration.
The court cards of the Tarot may sometimes represent the abstract energy pattern of a subtle, but important relationship interaction. But more often than not, they represent actual people. They may stand in for you, or someone else (of either sex, regardless of the gender in the card).
There are four Knights in the Tarot court, and they are the “action figures.” They are the champions, the energetic and often forceful movers and shakers of the court cards. Like knights of old, they are soldiers that quest, battle, and act as the agents of important changes.
And the Tarot suit of Cups centers on emotions, dreams, imagination, and love. Thus, this is a knight who is both a warrior and a romantic.
He wears a cloak covered with images of fish. Perhaps the fish is the salmon, sacred bearer of wisdom for many American First Nations, as well as in Celtic lore. Or it may be the esoteric emblem of the Christ. But it is certainly a symbol of spirit, compassion, and empathy.
This Knight travels with his eyes open, looking ahead, yet holds the cup as if in offering. Or perhaps, like the Queen, he sees it as a tool for divination. His heart and his dreams guide him.
His helmet and feet are winged, in a similar fashion to the messenger of the Gods, Hermes, indicating that he (or she) has an active and eloquent imagination. Yet he rides his horse with measured, graceful steps.
Horses are very important allies for humanity, and represent power, freedom, energy, and endurance.
And in traditions the world over, white horses are especially significant. Since prehistoric times, in folklore across the globe, they are nearly universally honored as bringers of good fortune and the steeds of Goddesses and Gods, radiating purity, spirituality, and light.
Here, the Knight of Cups prepares to cross a stream in an otherwise arid land, facing the steep mountains ahead. This is a card of transition, the beginning of the adventure, not the homecoming. Perhaps the cup he holds is yet to be filled. Or he may be on a mission to deliver its contents to others.
Magical Bringer of Love and Healing
Perhaps this is the storied cup bearer that brings true love and healing. For he resembles nothing so much as the White Knight of Faery tales; the faithful, idealistic protector; the pure-of-heart hero who carries the famed Holy Grail.
In contrast to the (admittedly wonderful) Monty Python hilarity surrounding this mystical object, the legends of the Grail are poetic, powerful, and very old. They figure in Arthurian tales dating back to at least 1180 C.E. and are tied to the even older mythic motif of the wounded Fisher King.
Thus the Knight of Cups expresses some of our species’ most ancient longings. He is the rider who tells the saga of the human heart.
He often denotes the important arrival of someone or something of great, heartfelt worth.
Youthful and kindly in outlook, yet fully prepared to battle for what is noble and good, who is this Knight in your world?
This person may tend towards moodiness, introspection, and flights of fancy. One moment, brimming with idealism and romance, he can be easily wounded despite all that armor, for he wears his heart on his sleeve.
Practicality, objectivity, and follow-through are not his strengths either, so he may be prone to despair when his poetic fantasies do not materialize.
Of a graceful, sensitive nature, he or she hungers for all that is fine and beautiful, and the arts play a supremely important role for this empath.
Listening to the Promptings of Our Hearts
His appearance this week urges us to find our courage for change. He may call for us to sweep away some kind of dishonesty, particularly in matters of the heart. It would be no surprise if the catalyst for this revelation is a vision or the mysterious promptings of a premonition.
What message has been coming to you in your dreams? For those of us in the northern Hemisphere, now musing by our hearthfires, deep in our Winter of retreat and gestation, who comes knocking on our door, calling us to engage in a mission of love and inspiration?
What emotional journey have you embarked upon? Expressing your artistic side is vital at this time, and positive news is in motion. Love’s gifts beckon.
This Knight’s promise is that our hearts may safely guide us, as long as we agree, like him, to remain alert, calm, and guarding wisely the chalice of love most precious to us.
Despite all the difficulty around us, it is time to reject rancor, cynicism, and despair. Let us instead seek beauty as the sacrament and strengthener of our divine purpose.
Let us share and drink deep of the cup of good will and kindness, for we each carry an empty cup that only Love can fill.