Two of Cups
Function: Emotions, love, spirituality, imagination
A man and woman, possibly at a wedding ceremony, exchange cups. They are to become one. She wears blue and white, the colors of spirituality and purity, and laurel leaves in her hair, symbolizing victory and high status. The man wears yellow, the color of the mind, with black flowers on it, symbolizing the dark, lusty side of life. His wreath is of red roses, symbolizing magic. It’s a fair day, perfect for an outdoor event. Yet, there are no well-wishers, no other people present. Ultimately, that is what a wedding is: a covenant between two people taken out of their own free will, and everything else is peripheral to that agreement.
Between them is the staff of Hermes, two intertwined snakes facing each other, symbolizing exchanges. Above it is a lion’s head with wings, an ancient symbol of St. Mark the Evangelist, a “voice crying out in the desert,” and incidentally, the patron saint of Venice, famous for its canals and Carnival: truly a marriage of the sacred and the profane, just like the one on this card.
There are rolling hills and a house in the distance, presumably where they will live together. This card is about togetherness. Notice that she is taking the cup given to her, and she takes it with both hands. He is offering her the cup of which to drink on this agreement, and she is accepting it. They look each other in the eye. They both know what they’re getting into and they do it willingly with clarity of mind and good faith, and this relationship is going to be the two of them together.
“Blood is thicker than water,” is often misquoted to emphasize familial relationships over the bonds we choose. However, the actual quote is “the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb,” meaning the exact opposite of what it was thought to mean: relationships we choose to enter are stronger than the ones we are born into.
The Two of Cups is about putting those differences aside and making a conscious, proactive decisions to live in peace despite those differences. Of course, differences cause fascination, which cause attraction and a desire to file in the gaps of our own psyche and personhood by finding someone who has those qualities we lack.
When the Two of Cups is Reversed:
When the Two of Cups is reversed, the querent is dealing with disharmony, perhaps of their own making. They’re choosing not to put differences aside, and they may be actively involved in a dispute. There may be problems in their closest relationships. They may be dealing with impending separation or divorce.
The Two of Cards reversed can also signify a querent who is shy and avoids intimacy. They may be dutiful, and they may go through the motions, but they don’t share their hearts. They may also be holding a grudge that keeps them from existing in harmony with other people. They don’t respect other people’s differences or think themselves superior.
In a three-card reading, this card means…
Past: In the past, the querent either entered into a harmonious close relationship, or they were amenable to joining others in union.
Present: Currently, the querent is or desires to be in harmony with someone else as their equal.
Future: In the future, the querent should be living in harmony and peace with others, and particularly a person closest to them.