King of Cups Tarot Meaning: Love, Career, Health, & More

king of cups

Court cards are some of the most difficult cards to read in the Tarot deck. While the Major Arcana cards are relatively easy to apply to any situation, it’s pretty hard to separate court cards from their personality. This issue with the King of Cups is no different.

The Tarot is a deck of 78 cards, each representing distinct imagery, symbolism, and story. The deck is split into two major groups, the Major and Minor Arcana. The 22 Major Arcana cards numbered from I to XXI represent life’s karmic and spiritual lessons. 

Within the 56 Minor Arcana, there exist 16 Tarot Court Cards representing 16 different personality traits we may express at any time. The remaining 40 numbered cards are organized into four suits with 10 cards each. The distinct suits are wands, cups, swords, and pentacles. These represent various situations we encounter in our daily life.

Kings in the Minor Arcana have traveled through life successfully and are now at their peak of experience and understanding. Thus, considered to be the most mature of the Court cards, Kings represent the fully developed personalities of each of the suits.

In the Tarot deck, Kings represent outward leadership. They are competent and mature. The King of Cups has a clear set of values that he developed through experiences as the Page of Cups and the Knight of Cups and through his relationship with the Queen of Cups.

Although Kings often point to a person in a reading, this will depend on your spread. Consider if the King of Cups meaning can indicate a person as your first course of action. If this is impossible, focus on the values of the King and how his morals apply to your situation.

The King Of Cups Meaning

The King of Cups in the tarot signifies generosity, control, and emotional balance. The card itself pictures a king seated on a throne, wearing an amulet shaped like a fish to symbolize his creativity. Behind him are a turbulent sea, a fish jumping out of the ocean on the right side, and a ship on the left side while he remains calm, revealing that he has learned to stay open to his emotions and unconscious impulses.

The King’s authoritative stature shows that you do not need to suppress your impulses but learn to keep power and control while balancing your feelings.

Visual Elements

The visual elements listed here all describe the Rider-Waite King of Cups meaning, so you may need to adapt these descriptions based on the deck you’re using. The visuals and symbolism will be different with every deck, which makes your reading totally unique.

king of cups

A traditional Rider–Waite-Smith deck depicts the King of Cups as a bearded man on a throne in the middle of the sea. In his right hand, he holds a long narrow-mouthed cup while he looks off to his left. His colors are a cool-toned blue and green with a hint of red, while his crown and short scepter are golden.

When we pick apart this image for symbolism, we see that the King’s beard indicates that he is older and therefore considered wiser. His gaze away from the long cup assures us that he does not need to look to know what lies within. He understands his emotional intelligence and knows how to rule his emotions with ease.

The sea around him symbolizes the emotions that he has mastered. Although traditionally a feminine element, the presence of water in this court shows that all members of this court are perfectly balanced in masculine and feminine energies. The King of Cups himself has reached this ultimate balance.

Each element on this card gives you a broad idea of what the King of Cups means for you. However, to properly understand what you can expect from your daily life, you need to apply the King of Cups meanings to specific situations. Below I’ll explain how this card can manifest in various aspects of your life. 

Upright King Of Cups General Meaning

In a general context, the King of Cups represents mastery over the realms of emotion, creativity, and unconsciousness.

When this card turns up in a Tarot reading, it is a sign that you will find the balance between your mind and heart. Even when your current surroundings are unpleasant, you can draw on your emotional maturity and stability to help you navigate these challenges. 

The King of Cups embodies the balance between the mind and the heart. Not only do you strive to assess and approach a situation logically, but you can also draw upon your intuition and understanding of human interactions. 

As a leader, the King of Cups is affectionate and empathetic, creating strong bonds and relationships based on patience and understanding.

While interacting with others, you may need to understand their strong feelings and emotional triggers so you can create a sense of tranquility in your interactions. If you sense that logic and emotion are missing in your life, draw on the energy of this King to realign yourself. 

Reversed King Of Cups General Meaning

The reversed King of Cups indicates that you are reflecting on your feelings. You are on the road to discovering the emotions stored in your subconscious mind and how these emotions affect you.

Through this, you hope to gain a sense of control over your emotional well-being so that your feelings don’t steer you away from living a balanced life. However, you’re not quite “there” and haven’t completely mastered your feelings. There is still emotional work to do when you see the King of Cups reversed.

When this Minor Arcana card shows up in your spread, you may be more prone to emotional upset and drama. You may feel overly emotional or too sensitive, especially when others trigger you or push all your buttons.

The King of Cups reversed may also indicate a lack of self-compassion that results in beating yourself about things that may have gone wrong. If this resonates, pay attention to your emotional balance and find your way towards calm and collected. Other people may trigger a negative emotional response from you, but it is up to you to stay in control.

The King of Cups reversed usually means that you need to deal with the deep-seated emotions that you’ve been ignoring. In order to master your life, you must first master your subconscious mind.

King Of Cups Keywords

Here are some of the most common keywords associated with the King of Cups meaning.


  • Emotionally balanced
  • Compassionate
  • Diplomatic
  • Wise
  • Devoted
  • Advisor
  • Counselor


  • Lack of self-compassion
  • Inner feelings
  • Moodiness
  • Emotionally manipulative
  • Overwhelmed
  • Anxious
  • Repressed
  • Withdrawn

King Of Cups Love Descriptions


If you are in a relationship, the King of Cups meaning can be a very good omen because it is considered to be the good father, husband, or partner card. It is a very loving card, allowing you to find a lot of emotional fulfillment and helps keep petty arguments at bay.

If you are single or just coming out of a breakup, this card usually signals the qualities of a potential partner coming your way. If you have been having a tough time emotionally, take this as a sign that there will be support for you within the relationship.

Regardless of your relationship status, the King of Cups in love is a good sign. It signals a great balance between intellect and emotions.


In a love Tarot reading, if you are in a relationship, the Kings of Cups reversed is not a great card to get as it can indicate emotional instability in your relationship. One of you may be going through a tough time emotionally and is unable to provide the love and kindness the other requires. If this is the case, take some time to control your emotions and resolve whatever issues may be causing this imbalance within you.

For a single person, the reversed King of Cups may represent a potential partner who is cold, calculating, or controlling. Consider this card as a warning to be careful of your safety. It can even be an indication of violence or abuse.

King Of Cups as Feelings Descriptions


When related to feelings, the King of Cups informs you that your emotional maturity will help you in every part of your life. Therefore, it is crucial to find a balance between reason and emotion.

When you do, pour your heart into the right relationship and friendships to fill your life with positivity and joy.

Generally, the King of Cups as feelings is a great sign. It indicates all warm, fuzzy feelings that are still grounded in reality.


The King of Cups reversed often indicates feelings of overwhelm and a lack of emotional maturity. It represents your lack of control and inability to gain confidence.

In this instance, the King of Cups urges you to take an honest look at your behavior and find a way to become responsible instead of victimizing yourself. This card indicates that you need to retreat and do some emotional work before you’re ready to lead others.

King Of Cups in Career Descriptions


The King of Cups in career readings may signify an experienced, caring, or compassionate mentor at your workplace. Your wisdom and ability to balance your head and heart in challenging situations are what will win you the respect and admiration of those around you.

Remember to stay focused and balanced at your workplace. And as a result, you can expect to develop an emotionally fulfilling career. This is definitely a positive omen!

If you’re looking to take on a new venture, the King of Cups in career indicates that you have the intellectual knowledge and the emotional stability to make it happen.


The reversed King of Cups may be a sign of dealing with a boss or manager who has the traits of a tyrant. Due to the presence of this unpleasant superior, insecurity and lack of emotional control may affect how you handle your work environment. During this turbulent phase, try and see whether you can reconnect with what you enjoyed about this job. 

Reversed, the King of Cups in career can also indicate that your emotions are out of whack. You may be overly emotional and have trouble grounding yourself to see the truth, or you make be acting as the tyrant towards others.

King Of Cups in Money Descriptions


The upright King of Cups signals some level of financial stability. The stability is a result of your good judgment in matters of finance.

If you find yourself leaning towards making large purchases or investments, this card can be a reminder that you should remain cautious and logical. However, do not suppress yourself from satisfying an emotional need. Trust that you have the emotional and intellectual balance needed to make good decisions.

The King of Cups in money readings can also indicate that you need to care for others. Remember to balance your money and spending so that you can effectively care for your “kingdom,” as you are acting the leader right now.


The King of Cups reversed in finances is a sign of poor judgment. You may struggle to control your spending or make logical and well-informed decisions. Your unchecked emotions and financial choices can prove to be quite problematic for you.

This is the time to reach out to a friend or loved one and ask them to help you manage your finances and keep a check and balance for you. Slow down on the spending and examine the emotions that are pushing you to spend money excessively. You are currently not grounded and should avoid making any big decisions.

King Of Cups in Health Descriptions


If you have been ill, an upright King of Cups can indicate healing; therefore, it is a positive card to get. When this card appears in your Tarot, you should be feeling emotionally positive about your health.

This Minor Arcana card is a reminder to treat yourself with empathy and kindness.


In a health reading, the King of Cups reversed may signal alcohol or drug abuse as a coping mechanism for the emotionally overwhelmed King.

This card generally points out that something in your lifestyle is negatively affecting your health and well-being. In order to take responsibility for your choices, you should seek help to control your addictions and make healthier choices to improve your life.

King Of Cups as Spirituality Descriptions


The King of Cups is a great card to get in a spiritual Tarot spread. This is because it signifies a highly developed psychic or intuitive ability. This Minor Arcana card is a sign that the universe trusts that you will use your abilities to help others restore balance in their lives.

This card indicates that you have reached a pinnacle of spiritual knowledge. If you’ve been looking for answers, trust that you have the connection you need to find them now.


In a spiritual context, a reversed King of Cups indicates that your psychic abilities or intuition are blocked. This card may also appear in your Tarot if you are engaged in dark practices, or you’re using your abilities for personal gain, thereby, not entering things with the right intention. 

Remember, whatever you give out spiritually will eventually find its way back to you, so make sure you are sending out love and light.

The King of Cups reversed can also indicate that you’re being tricked. You may believe that you’re talking to your guides when you’re actually conversing with an imposter. This card indicates that you need to develop discernment.

King Of Cups as a Person Descriptions


As a person, the King of Cups possesses the perfect balance between feminine and masculine energy. He is kind, loving, generous, and pure of heart. Having great emotional intelligence, this person is believed to project an aura that commands respect.

When the King of Cups as a person appears in your spread, you can be confident your immediate future is full of promise, especially if this card indicates you

If the King of Cups as a person appears as someone else, then this is a message that the individual is kind, competent, and in control of their emotions. They are a true leader.


Receiving a reversed King of Cups in your tarot spread may signify that you sense the emotional weakness of others and leverage it to manipulate or control those around you for your own personal gain. 

Alternatively, the King of Cups reversed may represent an older male who is extremely sensitive to the point that he has lost the ability to function properly in the world. If this resonates, take this card as an omen to draw wisdom and strength from the King of Cups so that you may reinstate positivity and independence in your life. 

King Of Cups Yes or No Meanings

Though the King of Cups as a yes or no will depend on the spread, there are general indications for the upright and reversed versions of this card.


An upright King of Cups is confident and secure. He is wise and makes decisions based on his mind instead of his feelings. Since the overall implication of this card is favorable, the answer to your yes/no question is a yes.

With the King of Cups as a yes or no in the upright position, you can expect a lot of love and respect to reach you soon. This is generally a positive indicator.


The King of Cups reversed can generally be considered a “no” to your question. It’s a sign that you aren’t being compassionate towards yourself or those around you.

While it isn’t the best time to make impactful decisions, you should be proud of yourself and take small steps towards your future goals.

Sometimes, the King of Cups reversed as a yes or no just indicates that you need to wait. This answer is “not right now.” It means that you need to figure out more about your own emotions and what your intuition is telling you before you act.

King Of Cups Advice Descriptions


The King of Cups advises you to go with the flow and trust your intuition to help navigate even the most treacherous waters with ease and calm. But remember, your situation calls for kind, heartfelt leadership. Lead with compassion, follow the universe’s calling, and be open to where it may lead.

The King of Cups as advice also says that you should trust your intuition. You are being sent information that you can rely on. Use a combination of intellect and intuition (which often comes through your emotions) to achieve your goals.


The King of Cups reversed advises that you closely examine your conscience and align your personal mission with what is best for everyone, not just for yourself. This is your chance to provide an important kind of leadership that uses strong reassurance to help everyone work together; make sure you use it well!

Sometimes, the King of Cups reversed as advice indicates that you need to take a step back. You’re dealing with a lot of confusion, whether you’re confused emotionally or spiritually, and this clouds your judgment. Focus on your own internal battles before making any large decisions.

Symbolism in the King Of Cups

The Cup and Robe

The cup in the King’s right hand and his blue robe symbolize his association with water. Similarly, the red and yellow cloak represents fire and air, proving that the King of Cups holds a steady balance between the Earth’s various elements that energize the immense emotion and intuitive power of water.

Though the King of Cups is technically of the water realm, he has a connection to all of the elements and has mastered this balance.

The Armored Foot

The King’s armored foot extends over the granite platform, making sure not to touch the water below. This reinforces the idea that he controls the waters without letting them affect him.

This also symbolizes his own emotions and intuition. He is a master at reading his intuition, even when he receives psychic information that has no proof. He knows how to use this psychic information in real life and has integrated every part of himself into this world.

The Scepter

The image depicts the King’s scepter to be in the shape of a lotus flower, which symbolizes that he has mastered the art of demonstrating the creative potential of his subconscious mind.