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Court Cards: The Knight of Cups

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I'm a professional tarot reader with 23 years of experience. For me, tarot is a fascinating system that reflects all human life.

Knight of Cups Rider Waite deck. Public Domain image, Pamela A. version c. 1909.

Knight of Cups Rider Waite deck. Public Domain image, Pamela A. version c. 1909.

The Tarot Knights—Actions and Messengers

Knights slot into the tarot between their younger siblings, the Pages and their mothers, the Queens. They are the only members of the courts who are often seen riding horses. Knights generally relate mostly to young men (sometimes women) in their twenties and thirties, although it is possible that their characteristics can apply to younger or older people.

The Knights of the tarot are the active elements of their suit. They can represent real people, characteristics and action. They also bring messages relating to their suit qualities, for example, the Knight of Cups carries messages connected to love and emotion. Which of these meanings apply will depend on the question, the surrounding cards and the reader's interpretation.

This article is going to take an in-depth look at our lover-boy, the Knight of Cups.

Description of the Knight of Cups

The Knight of Cups is content to trundle happily along on his white horse. He is not in any particular hurry. He carries an open chalice in his right hand and controls his obedient steed with his left. The pair appear to be making their way along a sandy beach towards a slow-moving, quite small river. The knight wears blue armor decorated with red fish. His helmet and feet are winged, emphasizing his role of messenger. The sky is cloudless and the day is calm and sunny.

Symbolism of the Knight of Cups





Open chalice

Open heart


Winged helmet



Blue armor

Healing protection


Red fish

Emotions, creativity, passion

Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio

Walking horse

Controlled power


White horse



Slow river



The Knight of Cups in a Reading

If the Knight of Cups appears in a reading, especially when in connection with a question about love, then you know that romance is on the way. This card can mean that an actual person with the characteristics of this Knight is going to feature strongly in your life, or it could be that the card simply represents the beginning of a new relationship.

Should the card appear reversed (upside down), then things might get difficult romance-wise, or your knight's shining armor is somewhat tarnished. Read on to get the full picture.

The Knight of Cups from the dark and disturbing Deviant Moon tarot.

The Knight of Cups from the dark and disturbing Deviant Moon tarot.

The Personal Characteristics of the Knight of Cups

A more complex character than he first appears, the Knight of Cups is a real romantic. He loves to be in love. He loves to be loved. The problem with him is that he loves these two things more than he will love you. If this card appears early on or before a relationship starts then you have fair warning. He'll bowl you over with romantic gestures but he can't change a diaper.

His actions are determined by his emotions, though he is generally an easy-going sort of chap, not given to tantrums. He is somewhat narcissistic and acts as though he is being observed at all times. He tends to view himself through the eyes of others and cares too much about what people think of him. In consequence, he suffers from insecurity and lack of confidence, which he hides quite well.

He is creative and imaginative but his projects rarely manifest into reality because he lives in the realm of his dreams. He is a poet, a songwriter and an artist.

The Knight of Cups, like all tarot cards, is very much influenced by other cards in a reading. Thus, for example, his good characteristics can be enhanced by the Sun card, or his less attractive ones by the Moon.

The Reversed Knight of Cups

The reversed Knight of Cups is a weak character who is unable to contain or direct his feelings. He can be insanely jealous and unable to maintain a relationship at all. The reversed card could also indicate that a relationship is on the rocks or going through a very difficult stage.

The Knight of Cups in Real Life

The Knight of Cups loves to bring gifts. He enjoys surprising the object of his attentions with a grand gesture. He is the one who makes the most romantic proposal, in the most romantic setting. He does a lot of talking but mostly about himself. He likes to show off his knowledge, whether it be food, wine, music or travel. He will listen attentively but only when he is in 'good listener' mode. The Knight of Cups is a consummate actor and his whole life is a stage production.

If you encounter a Knight of Cups, then don't lose heart. It is unlikely that he will only have these characteristics – hopefully, they will be bolstered by a slice of Pentacles, Wands or Swords, to give a more rounded personality. Knights always improve with age!

The Knight of Cups from the Robin Wood tarot deck

The Knight of Cups from the Robin Wood tarot deck

The Knight of Cups and Relationships

As I've already mentioned, the Knight of Cups is the most romantic card in the tarot. As a lover, he is exciting but unreliable. As a husband, he is pretty hopeless in the beginning but can improve immensely given time. If he begins to learn and understand some fundamental life lessons, then he can turn into a good life partner. In effect, he matures into the gentle King of Cups or may even take on characteristics of the other tarot Kings.

As a son, he is everything a mother dreams of. He is a 'good son'. He rarely goes off the rails, rarely rebels and usually settles into a good job. He can be a mother's boy and this is another reason why he is not so good at long-term, mature love relationships.

The Knight of Cups makes a good father. He loves his children very much and enjoys playing with them. He's not so good at the practicalities of fatherhood but perhaps this can be forgiven.

The Knight of Cups and Money

Financial affairs do not particularly interest this Knight. He enjoys having money as it brings him freedom, but he's not business-minded. He'll work at his career and is a steady employee, but it is not his life. He can often get into financial difficulties because he will spend money with his heart rather than his head. When married, his wife will usually need to take control of the finances.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2012 Bev G

Ever been courted by a Knight of Cups?

Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on April 17, 2020:

Hi PS. This series is about tarot cards. However, I have information about playing cards here:

P S on April 17, 2020:

Hi mam where is detail about jack of heart,spades,diamond,club?