Someone from the AT forum once said that the 10 of Cups reminded them of the morning after a doozy of a party! The traditional meaning speaks of recognition and contentment. Let’s take a brief look at the card itself from the Vieville tarot. Afterwords we’ll use a five card spread to see what the tarot has to teach us about the 10 of Cups. Ready? Let’s go.
…As a result of this process I, the ten of cups, have much to give.
Ten of Cups – First Impressions
At the top of the card we see a large cup above nine smaller cups. The large cup is tilted on its side. Its left side resembles an illuminated jewel. Its right shows the opening to the cup filled with liquid that does not spill. What’s contained and being offered is precious, valuable and desired. Like the Maccabean oil that replenished itself, what’s given to the nine cups below does not diminish the total amount.
The nine smaller cups are aligned in three even rows like students in a classroom. Six flowers are evenly spaced between the rows suggesting the beauty of learning and knowledge. The flowers look like arithmetic (+) symbols, suggesting the addition of the three progressively higher types of learning. These are:
- Learning for oneself,
- Teaching another, and
- Teaching a group.
The ten of cups suggests the pinnacle of learning and sharing the fruits of that learning with others.
Tarot on the Ten of Cups
The first thing that sticks out in this reading is the fact that all five cards are reversed. The ten of cups has an element of stagnation. There is a danger of resting too much on what has been gathered from the past.
The tens in tarot can be said to have one foot in the completion of a cycle, and the other looking towards what is to come. If you’ve ever played the game Twister, you may have had the experience of having your feet in two separate realms. It’s not always easy to hold the proper balance in this type of situation. The ten of cups asks that this balance be maintained.
Who can easily let go of that which has been earned through hard work? Starting over has less appeal as we grow older through age or experience. Yet, if we remain fixed, we cease to live.
Looking at the middle row of three cards we see the numerical equation (2) + (2) = (4). This is one of the foundational facts of elementary school. The ten of cups delights in instructing the next generation.
Looking at the top to bottom center column in the middle of the spread, we see three swords. The ten of cups is a cup with a message of the mind. Again we see a well-known equation (1) (top sword) + (1) (bottom sword) = (2) (center card). At the heart, this card is calling for a back to basics.
The queen at the top points to the beauty of a mind in balance. That calm and focused mind as symbolized by the 2 of swords achieves victory as seen in the crown of the ace of swords at bottom.
Pulling this all together, the ten of cups calls attention to shift from out to in. This will enliven that which is given and will make the teaching fresh and new.
The story of the ten of cups
Here is what the card says about itself, as read from right to left.
Insecurity or fear about what is possessed or known ate away at my insides like a grain of sand in an oyster. Through effort and intention, the irritation was transformed into the pearl of beauty of a clear mind. Now as a result of this process I have much to give.
Only one secret question remains unanswered What is coming next?
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