Thoughts on the Ace of Cups

January 8, 2008 § 3 Comments

At my favourite tarot forum, we have just started a new study, sharing our thoughts on each card as we move through the deck. We’ve started with the Ace of Cups, and I thought I’d post my thoughts here as well. I’m studying the Haindl (no surprise there).

Haindl Ace of Cups

In the Haindl Tarot, the suit of Cups is associated with the North, Europe and the element of Water. The Ace of Cups represents the Holy Grail. This theme is repeated later in the suit, when Parsival adopts the role of the Son of Cups (similar to the Knight).

The cup seems to be forming before our eyes, with golden light and water spiralling upwards into the shape of a cup. Rachel Pollack says this symbolizes evolution, “the spirit rising through its experiences to a higher level”. As the Holy Grail, the Ace of Cups seems to me to represent both the end point as well as the beginning. It is both the thing that we seek and the call to seek it. It calls us to begin our own personal Grail quest.

Rachel Pollack goes on to say: “As the Grail turns, it gives off water mixed with light. This too symbolizes the idea of development. The emotions – water – become “enlightened”. A personal Grail quest shows us the truth in our lives.” In the Grail Legend, Parsival has to go through many trials before he can achieve the grail – when he first encounters it, he’s not ready because he hasn’t experienced enough for his spirit to have risen to a higher level.

I haven’t yet had much contact with this card – it hasn’t come up in any readings I’ve done. I think it is a thing of beauty, and it strikes me as very spiritual – very pure and holy (which of course, as the Holy Grail, it is). The cup seems like a vision, somehow not real. I imagine that if I could reach into the card and try to hold it, my hand would go straight through it. I can’t just take love (in the broadest sense of the word) for granted. I can’t expect to take it when I please. A true awareness of love comes only through sadness, loneliness, loss, friendship, joy – all the things found in the other cards of the suit which must be experienced first.


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