King of Cups Tarot Card Meanings

King of Cups tarot card image
Meaning Indicator


King of Cups’ Upright & Reversed Meanings

King of Cups (Reversed, Lacking)

Ideas: Anger issues, emotional outburst, vent

Traits: Abrupt, distractible, emotional, impatient, moody, spontaneous, unpredictable

Emotions: Anger, anxiety, disappointment, frustration, nervousness, tenseness, uneasiness

  • Actions:
    • Channeling your emotions into creativity
    • Dealing with anger issues
    • Expressing your frustration
    • Improving your emotional intelligence
    • Learning relaxation techniques
    • Uncovering your feelings
King of Cups (Upright, Balanced)

Ideas: Composure, diplomacy, restraint, wisdom

Traits: Courageous, flexible, intense, perceptive, placid, protective, sensitive

Emotions: Caring, compassion, contentment, eagerness, optimism, satisfaction

  • Actions:
    • Being brave and clear in the face of adverse circumstances
    • Honoring the spirit, not just the letter, of the law
    • Keeping a stiff upper lip
    • Making fair and empathetic decisions
    • Owning and mastering various kinds of emotions
    • Sharing experience as a way of comforting others
    • Staying calm and composed amid turbulence
King of Cups (Upright, Excessive)

Ideas: Hidden agenda, poker face, spiritual tyranny

Traits: Cold, offhand, phlegmatic, rigid, secretive, scheming, steely, unfathomable

Emotions: Envy, jealousy, neglect, pride

  • Actions:
    • Abusing spiritual authority
    • Allowing yourself to become rigid and unemotional
    • Failing to check in with your emotions
    • Making decisions without regard for their emotional impact on others
    • Making unfair decisions based on a hidden agenda
    • Using emotional or spiritual leverage to exercise unhealthy control over others

King of Cups’ Advice

Personal Growth

The time has come to assume a leadership role, using your experiences to guide others. Find a way to give back some of what you’ve been given. You have more wisdom than you know; draw on newfound maturity to come to the aid of a cause greater than yourself.


Without adopting a “poker face,” some situations call for a little restraint. Calm down. Consider the other side’s arguments. Walk in the shoes of your partner or friend. Give strong emotions time to subside before taking action you may regret later.


When everyone is running in circles and screaming, someone has to step forward, exercise restraint, and draw attention back to the work that remains. Refuse to be drawn into rumor-mongering and petty disagreements. Remain neutral, fair, and focused.


A deeper sense of spirit should move us to greater service. Let wisdom guide you to a ministry that makes sense in terms of your life and your world. Consider taking on the role of a counselor or mentor. Use your experiences to help others mature.

King of Cups’ Symbols & Insights

The Watery Throne

Many decks depict the King’s throne floating in water. Rather than sink into emotionalism, this King rises above it. What might happen if you elevated yourself above your conflicting emotions and saw things more clearly?

Control Under Pressure

Despite the turbulent water surrounding him, the King maintains control over his feelings. How might shutting out the source of emotional noise and doubt help you make contact with what you really feel?

Emotional or Spiritual Focus

What sort of mindset allows a person to remain calm in the face of an uproar? How can you keep the goal in mind, even in the midst of battle?

The Marseilles Image

The Marseilles King of Cups strikes a relaxed pose; he looks almost sleepy! How might relaxing your need to control this situation help you (paradoxically) to gain better control of it?

More About King of Cups Tarot Card

This card represents an older man with a gentle, sensitive presence, likely born between February 9 and March 10, who is known for his fairness and tolerance.
Between February 9 and March 10
“I strive to be stable and fair-minded.”
Astrology Element
Fire of Water
The King of Cups can represent anyone who tends to control (King) emotional and spiritual responses (Cups). The King may also represent the tendency to be more sober than emotional, or the need to maintain order in the face of an overwhelming situation.
The main character must suppress or control an emotional response in order to complete a difficult task.
Questions to Ask
What wise person could be consulted for good advice?
How can I make sure I’m being as objective and fair as possible?
To what extent am I capable of keeping a “stiff upper lip?”
Related Pages
Tarot Card Meanings Guide
Exploring Today’s Tarot
Consulting the Tarot
Traditional Tarot Card Meanings
Thirteen Fun Things to Do with Tarot Cards
Where to Go to Learn More
More Tarot Card Meaningss