Cups are the card suite that represents the emotions in life. The Cups are associated with the element of water. Think of emotions as a sea - it can be calm, it can be turbulent, and often we must decide how to go about traveling though them.
Like my explanation of the Major Arcana, I'll be describing each Minor Arcana Suit as its own story with meanings following the narrative paragraphs:
Ace of Cups
The First Age was an Age of Water. The world was young and the life of the world lived in the seas. Each being was given a cup and in this cup was the water they borrowed from the sea to manifest themselves.
The Ace of Cups is the gift of the Cup to a reading. It can mean a new period of emotional growth, a period of healing, or a new positive perspective, as a tool of the Magician of the Major Arcana it is situated as the number One card in this suit.
Page of Cups
A young, sweet youth once sat in contemplation of his own cup and his position at the beginning of his life, admiring the shape and grateful for the wealth of water inside. To his surprise, a young seahorse jumped from his cup and into the water. The two began swimming happily as the two became quick friends.
The Page of Cups represents a young, purehearted person. The beginner in the world of the cups. The card can elude to surprise and some use it to predict childbirth.
Two of Cups
Over time, the Youth matured into a young man, and met many different people with many different cups. One day, he met a young woman whose cup seemed to mirror his own. They visited for hours, days, weeks, and then months, time seemed meaningless between the two. They agreed to become partners in being and toasted by clinking their cups together. A beautiful tone of harmony echoed out.
The Two of Cups marks the beginning of a relationship, either romantic, friendship, or business partnership. It is the unity in harmony of the Two. It can refer to a balance in emotional opposites.
Knight of Cups
The Youth of the Cup and his seahorse both grew, and their swimming grew to cover greater and greater distances. The Youth became a young night and while his adventures and travels would carry him far from his love, he had learned to steady his cup and not to lose a single drop of the water he held for her.
The Knight of Cups is the Romantic. The individual that will undergo much and take great pains for the apple of his or her eye. It is not enough to sit still in fascination, the knight must take action.
Three of Cups
On the wedding day of the couple, there was a great celebration. The special occasion was marked even more special because of the influence the couple had gained. Their calm handling of the water in their cups had impressed their people into crowning them King and Queen of the Seas. The two had come together to produce a third - A wonderful kingdom for their people to live in.
The Three of Cups is a celebration. It can be a literal party, or a celebration of the self. It represents the feelings surrounding an event that would inspire a toast.
Queen of Cups
The Young Woman had matured into a strong, intuitive, mother to her kingdom. Maintaining a calmness with her thoughts gave her the ability to foresee, advise, and nurture. Her own children, as well as her people grew in great health with such a Queen.
The Queen of Cups is a mature, and caring woman. She has great ability to nurture and is often intuitive. It can be a reference to our internal need to nurture ourselves emotionally.
Four of Cups
The oldest daughter of the couple had grown up in the role of royalty. She was often unimpressed by the world around her and took the three Royal cups in her possession for granted. One day, a mighty wave washed over her, knocking her in the head with a fourth cup. Taken completely by surprise for the first time, the daughter learned to embrace the unexpected for inspiration.
The Four of Cups is a spot between action and nonaction. Often it can be an individual who seems aloof, or like they are waiting for something greater than is already before them.
King of Cups
The Knight continued to grow and further himself into a great King, and a man of his family. All of his decisions were made under the rule of the love for his children. He viewed his entire kingdom as his family and the smiles of his children as the treasures of his world.
The King of Cups is the mature family man. Whatever happens, he puts his family before anything else. While everything is done with love in mind, he can sometimes be overbearing or unable to see his children as capable of doing wrong.
Five of Cups
Inevitably, a great tragedy was suffered. A powerful sea storm ravaged the Kingdom of the Seas. Cups were spilled, homes were ruined, and not a single seahorse remained. The loving and generous King and Queen were gone forever, but their memories and teachings were left behind for the people.
The Five of Cups is what it means to "cry over spilled milk." The figure is so focused on what has been lost, that they cannot see what is still there after tragedy has struck.
Six of Cups
The example the King and Queen set had become the blueprint for the reconstruction of the Kingdom of the Seas. Lovers created a sacred space for each other, as the King and Queen had. The space was a bastion of honesty, and innocence. Like children, all was shared between two, and with no secrets came no misunderstandings. The cups overflowed with health.
The Six of Cups is a return to innocence. This can be a reflection on happy memories of youth, or a more innocent attitude. It can serve as a source of renewal after a long period of pain and disappointment.
Seven of Cups
As the reconstruction continued, there was some confusion as to the direction to take. There was potential in every direction, but resources were scarce. The people decided to focus on one thing at a time, and let the success of one venture become the springboard of the next.
The Seven of Cups marks confusion and a lack of focus. It can mean the querent has many ambitions and seldom sees one to completion. It suggests focus on one area to succeed.
Eight of Cups
One youth of the kingdom saw all that had been gained since the disaster. Much was as it was before the storm, but the youth felt there was still something missing. He knew he would need to leave the comforts of the known kingdom to discover this truth. One night, bidding farewell, he set out for uncharted waters.
The Eight of Cups shows the strength of leaving what is comfortable for what is undiscovered. Possibly, the querent has invested a lot into something, but finds they are not happy with it.
Nine of Cups
Years later, the explorer returned to his home in the kingdom. He had amassed a great amount of cups and lived a good and healthy life. Each cup in his possession was full of radiant, harmonious water. In his solitude, he had rediscovered what was still missing. Baby seahorses emerged from each cup and rejoined the kingdom. The reconstruction was complete with the return of the loyal steeds to the Kingdom of the Seas.
The Nine of Cups is the good life. With a healthy attitude, we learn that we are the source of everything we need. We learn how to appreciate everything that we have and the blessings of a fulfilling life.
Ten of Cups
Each person in the kingdom had learned the lessons of Calmness, Clarity, and Harmony that had been left behind by their King and Queen. By learning to be strong and take care of themselves, they became the perfect mates for each other. The complete love, that started within, increased in the completeness of another, and then this love radiated through the entire kingdom.
The Ten of Cups is the most positive state of emotional being. It is a healthy self-love and inner peace that makes a person capable of true love for another. The meaning of the card is so positive that it is believed to override negativity that may show up in other cards in a reading.