A hand emerges from the clouds in the Ace of Cups. Balanced on the palm is a cup with water overflowing down to the ocean or lake beneath. A dove with a disc in its beak is diving into the cup. A cross is engraved on the disc. Engraved on the cup is the letter ‘W’ or an ‘M’.
The cup cards in the Tarot primarily represent the emotions. They are about our inner feelings, how we connect with and interact with the world on an emotional level.
Aces, being the first card in each suit, are about beginnings. The Ace of Cups therefore, relates to the beginnings of emotion. It is is fitting that a dove is diving headlong into the cup. It signifies a higher power, that we are connected to a higher power. The Ace of Cups is very much a card that points us towards a higher being or level. It may denote our emotions about god, spirits, the next life or emotional fulfillment. The full cup that overflows offers us the opportunity to be spiritually fulfilled. It promises us that by following the path of the cups through the tarot, we will attain a sense of peace and connection with the world around us.
The dove represents the connection to the higher planes. As the cup overflows, we see the connection to the lower planes. The overflow spills into a great sea of water representing perhaps the emotions of this world, all swirling around in one great lake. We are connected to above and below.
There is some confusion about the meaning of ”W” on the Ace of Cups. Some argue that it stands for ”Waite” the author of the deck. Others feel that the card has subtle links to the Holy Grail. The ”W” is therefore an ”M” and stands for Mary, mother of Jesus. This explanation ties in with the wafer (body of Christ) being flown into the cup by the dove (immaculate conception). It may also stand for ”Mem” the Hebrew letter of water. Incidentally, the dove has a form distinctly in the shape of the ”M” (or ”W” ) also.
In readings, the Ace of Cups signals emotional fulfillment. We should be aware of emotional connections with people, particularly new connections. They could signal new love interests, the type that have us thinking constantly about that person. That the hand stretches out of the cloud signals that we may meet someone suddenly or ”out of the blue”.
In relationships, we should give and take on an emotional level. Compromise is signaled via the waters overflowing into the sea but fulfillment is promised via the overflowing cup. It is a time to go out of our way to ensure the happiness of those around us and by doing so, we will promote our own emotional well-being.
In material matters, the Ace of Cups is a good omen to receive for new ventures and projects. It again signals success and a time of plenty, when the cup will overflow.
The dove or spirit diving into the cup of water is also a symbol of new life in the womb. The Ace of Cups could therefore be a card of fertility and new life.
Reversed: The Ace of Cups reversed warns us that we may be holding emotions in or creating an emotional blockage within us. Unlike the free flow of water and spirit depicted in the card, we may be putting barriers in place that are emotionally unhealthy. We should look to resolve arguments.
Infertility may be a problem or delays in conceiving are indicated.
Life may also be emotionally turbulent at the moment and we are feeling drawn in several directions. We may be feeling highs followed by lows and we need to be aware that this phase will pass – like all phases in life..