The Potential: Intimacy, Fluidity, Intuition
The Ace of Cups. It corresponds to the element of Water, and the Sefirot Kether. Its association with Kether – the point, the seed, the emanation, and the spiritual perfection – makes the Ace of Cups the pure idea and spirit of the suit of Cups. It is the original appearance of the energy of Cups, untarnished by association with with reality. As such, the Ace represents the pure idea of Cups.
The suit of Cups makes up one half of one half of the two dualities of the Tarot (Wands/Cups and Swords/Disks). While Wands represent action and driving passion, Cups represent passivity and powerful emotional intimacy. Wands create, and Cups receive. Wands are ‘masculine,’ and Cups are ‘feminine.’ The Ace of Cups is the beginning of the path that the energy of Cups will take down the Sefirot, and it is this energy that will be changed by the following Sefirot.
The Rider-Waite card shows a hand holding forth a cup, offering its energies to the reader, giving you the energies directly from EinSof. The Thoth art shows a single cup, brimming with water, at the center of an explosion of power. This is similar to the Ace of Wands, but differs in several ways; the Ace of Cups uses blue and green colors primarily, and the very emanations themselves are less sharply defined, made of more gradual curves. The energy of Cups, while still powerful, is not as forceful as that of Wands, and more open to compromise.
In more practical terms, the Ace of Cups symbolizes emotional force, powerful emotions, fluidity (unlike the typical rigidity of Wands), intimacy, and intuition (empathy). The three most important of these would be Intimacy, Fluidity, and Intuition. This card represents the powerful emotions that bring people together, adaptability and willingness to compromise, and the ability to understand and sympathize and empathize with others. It represents the emotional bonds of the universe. These qualities are on in the most positive form, as the Aces correspond to spiritual perfection.
In a reading, the Ace of Wands advises the reader or querent to exemplify the qualities of the Suit of Cups; be emotional, try to see how others feel, don’t be afraid to be emotionally intimate, be adaptable, and be more passive than active. This is not the time for action; it is the time to sit back and go with the flow. Reversed, this card’s energies are blocked or twisted somehow; perhaps you should scale back on these qualities in yourself, or if you think you see the qualities of this suit somewhere you may be mistaken.
While the Ace of Wands is the ultimate origin, the origin needs to have someplace to go; this place is the ultimate womb, the ultimate fertile ground; the Ace of Cups. Wands represent creativity and action, and Cups represent adapting that creativity and not taking any direct action. Cups represent not only emotions and passivity, but also potential; great things might come out of one who exemplifies the qualities of Cups.