controlled emotions

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Intro: King of Cups Tarot Card Meaning - controlled emotions

Tarot Alley uses the Rider Waite type of deck for our meanings, symbols, interpretations, etc.

When determining the King of Cups tarot card meaning, you should consider that it’s a Cups card and a King. The Suit of Cups represents emotions and relationships. Kings represent controlling, experienced providers.

In this way, we can determine that the King of Cups represents controlled emotional responses.

Take a look at the Rider-Waite King of Cups displayed to the left (or above).

What is your first impression?

Where is he? Why is he there? What’s happened? Is he floating on or surrounded by water?

There’s no right or wrong answer here, just your interpretation.

Common Symbols

  • Water: the King of Cups throne is floating on (or surrounded by) water to represent rising above emotions.
  • Serious Expression: despite the water, the King maintains a serious demeanour. This represents control over his feelings.

Keywords & Concepts

  • Composure
  • Diplomacy
  • Restraint
  • Wisdom

The King of Cups for Personal Growth

Affirmation: I strive to be stable and fair-minded.

You have wisdom. More than you realize. It’s time to draw on your wisdom and experiences and take up a leadership role.

Ask Yourself:

  • How can you be sure you’re being as objective and fair as possible?
  • How can you keep the goal in mind, even in the midst of “battle?”

Interpreting the King of Cups

Generally, the King of Cups represents controlled emotions. The King of Cups is the master of keeping a stiff upper lip. His emotions don’t rule him, he rules his emotions.

The King of Cups is brave and clear, always. He’s known for making fair and empathetic decisions. He’s a rule follower, most of the time, but knows that sometimes the spirit of the rules/laws is more important than what they actually say.

The Reversed King of Cups

How you read reversals is a personal choice. You can ignore reversals and read them as if the card is upright (this is what I often choose to do) or you can interpret reversals as variations of what they would mean upright. There are 3 common ways to read reversals: as a negative interpretation, as an opposite interpretation, or as a block on the upright interpretation. Check out How to Read Reversals for more information.

Typically, a reversed King of Cups represents a disregard of emotions. Some examples include:

  • A complete lack of emotions
  • Making unfair decisions
  • Making decisions without caring about they’ll affect the emotions of others
  • Using some form of emotional leverage to gain (or maintain) an unhealthy control over another

Examples of the King of Cups

Specific Interpretations

Specific situations are the general interpretation (from above) used for a specific situation (love, career, etc). There is no need to memorize these (or even look them up) if you understand the general interpretation. However, here are some basic interpretations for some specific situations:


You need to calm down. Give your strong emotions time to calm and subside before doing (or saying) something you may regret.


Remain neutral, fair, and focused in the workplace. Don’t be drawn into gossip, rumors, and disagreements. Draw attention back to the work that needs to be done.


Whatever your spiritual path is, there are people out there who need guidance. Now is a great time to spread the world. Consider becoming a counselor, guide, mentor, etc.

the King of Cups Tarot Card Meaning

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The King of Cups tarot card meaning is all about controlled emotions. Be the ruler of your emotions, don’t let them control you.

Once you feel comfortable with the King of Cups tarot card meaning, check out the first card in the next suit of the tarot deck: the Ace of Swords Tarot Card Meaning.


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