Prince of Cups

Prince of Cups  definitions

The Prince of Cups represents the airy part of Water. The symbolism is Scorpio, as he rules the last decanate of Libra going into the first two decanates of Scorpio. An intense secret nature – on the surface he is calm, but underneath is intense passion, and as a result, people do not trust him.

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Image of Knight of Cups in Rider-Waite tarot deck
Knight of Cups

Graceful, but not warlike; riding quietly, wearing a winged helmet, referring to those higher graces of the imagination which sometimes characterize this card. He too is a dreamer, but the images of the side of sense haunt him in his vision.

Arrival, approach — sometimes that of a messenger; advances, proposition, demeanor, invitation, incitement.

Additional meanings: A visit from a friend, who will bring unexpected money to the Querent.


Trickery, artifice, subtlety, swindling, duplicity, fraud.

Additional meanings: Irregularity.

Book of Thoth

Image of The Prince of Cups in the Book of Thoth
The Prince of Cups

The moral characteristics of the person pictured in this card are subtlety, secret violence, and craft. He is intensely secret, an artist in all his ways. On the surface he appears calm and imperturbable, but this is a mask of the most intense passion. He is on the surface susceptible to external influences, but he accepts them only to transmute them to the advantage of his secret designs. He is thus completely without conscience in the ordinary sense of the word, and is therefore usually distrusted by his neighbours. They feel they do not, and can never, understand him. Thus he inspires unreasonable fear. He is in fact perfectly ruthless. He cares intensely for power, wisdom, and his own aims. He feels no responsibility to others, and although his abilities are so immense, he cannot be relied upon to work in harness.

Passion lies underneath the exterior of the Knight of Cups.

Golden Dawn – Prince of the Chariot of the Waters

He is subtle, violent, crafty and artistic. A fierce nature with calm exterior. Powerful for good or evil, but more attracted by the evil, if allied with apparent Power or Wisdom.


He is intensely evil and merciless.


Arrival, Approach, Advance. Duplicity.

Image of Etteilla Knight of Cups
Etteilla Knight of Cups


Arrival, Coming, Approach, Access, Reception, Entrance, Bringing Closer. Similarity. Advent, Approximation. Accession To. Flow. Comparison.


Mischief, Villainy, Duplicity, Cunning, Artifice. Keenness, Shrewdness, Suppleness, Fraud. Subtlety, Irregularity. Evil Deed.


“The higher graces of the imagination” (W.). Arrival, approach, advances, proposition, demeanour, invitation, incitement, reception, comparison. Reversed: Trickery, fraud, duplicity, subtlety, swindle, artifice.
The Water of the soul on the Twelfth and on the Eighth house. The double influence of water makes the emotions and feelings prominent, relates to the imagination, to deeper experiences and strong reactions of the soul, processes of psychic life, which may end in wonderful success or in less desirable phenomena. It is sure to indicate much relating to the subways of human life and the human soul. This is not always favourable or pleasant, of course, but is in almost every instance intensive, though the cups never go to anything like hatred or crime or real malice. Their weakness is in being unreliable or incalculable with regard to things of the exact world or matter. So in the worst cases this card may indicate everything connected with swindling from sheer mental instability. But it may also be, that the term ‘swindler’ (charlatan) is wrongly given to people who are standing apart from the common herd and are more or less occultists. The “higher graces of the imagination.”
There may be certainly a considerable degree of falsehood expressed by this card: false interpretation, misjudgment, tendencious or fantastic narratives, exaggerated complaints, imaginary wrongs, pathos and what the world calls miscarriage. On account of the eighth house all this may be connected with sex-questions or intimate and private affairs. The card may express indiscretion committed and slanderous reports, secretly promulgated. It has to do with secrets and the divulgation of secrets. But there may be also a higher sway in the emotional realm: devotion, sacrifice, charity.
(On account of the twelfth house): A stranger, sailor or naval officer, man coming from far away. It makes one forget troubles, perhaps intoxicates. Wine or strong liquors. Merchants of same. Narcotics. Imagination, vision, dreams, poetic turn of mind. Occultism. Devotion, sacrifice, charity. (On account of the eighth house): Strong sexual tendencies, but the power to master them, and extract from them the element of happiness and health: transmutation of inner forces. The latter may also be translated as: changing his aspect of life wholly: going from one state of life into a quite different sort of existence. In some cases: falsehood, venomous reports, slander, blackmail, trickery, fraud, subtlety, swindling, artifice. The evil influences may cause the reasons for the said change of life, which in itself may well prove benefic after all. There is much occultism in this card; this Knight may be unknown or anonymous but a very important messenger (to the soul?) At its best he is Saint George, killing the dragon, the Rosicrucian brother.

Paul Foster-Case: Warrior of Cups

The swastika in the vesica is a symbol of good fortune.

Time period

From the beginning of the last decanate of Aquarius to the end of the second decanate of Pisces, February 9th to March 10th, under the rulerships of Venus, Jupiter-Neptune, and Moon.


He is a graceful, somewhat indolent personality, generous and enthusiastic, if he can be really interested. Somewhat impressionable and psychic. Fond of home, and probably puts all women more or less on a pedestal. Friendly to Querent. If Ill-dignified, lazy, untruthfull, very likely effeminate and more or less “catty.”


Brown hair. Gray or brown eyes.

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Article Name
Prince of Cups court card tarot meanings - secrecy
The Knight of Cups represents the airy part of Water. The symbolism is Scorpio, as he rules the last decanate of Libra going into the first two decanates of Scorpio. An intense secret nature - on the surface he is calm, but underneath is intense passion, and as a result, people do not trust him.

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