King of Cups Tarot Card Meanings

King of Cups Tarot Card Meanings

What does the King of Cups card mean in a Tarot Reading?

The last court card of the Water Suit is the King of Cups. This is a harmonious, favorable Arcana. Just like the Queen, it is associated with the subtle world of emotions and feelings.
This card portends receiving consolation, providing support, gaining protection. Minor Arcana Tarot card The King of Cups is a friend who is ready to listen, share his thoughts, give wise and necessary advice.

Goal: Gaining Spiritual Experience.
Element: Water
Planet: Neptune, Venus, Sun
Astrological sign: Cancer, Leo


The King’s throne is strong and stable, even though he stands on a raging sea. Dressed in a long robe, the King holds a large cup in his right hand and a short scepter in his left hand. On his neck he has a gold chain with a picture of a fish. On the right, in the distance, a ship is visible, and on the left, a dolphin jumps out of the water.
(For a detailed depiction, analysis of the Symbols and all Elements of the King of Cups Tarot Card, click here)

The Main Meanings of the Card In an Upright Position

Key Words and Phrases

Help. Senses. Imagination. Respect. Confidence. Helpfulness. Understanding. Elegance. Responsibility. Reliability. Secrecy. Generosity. Wisdom. Culture. Kindness. Refinement. Necessary awareness. Professionalism. Dignity. Restraint. Protection. Interest. Upbringing. Care. Healing. Empathy. Good advice. Ability to negotiate. Good listener. Trusted friend.

King of Cups Tarot Card

The main meanings of the card in an upright position

disinterested help;
good advice;
calm appearance and emotional character;
act wisely;
the desire to find an occupation that will reveal our full potential and allow our abilities to develop;
appeal to your inner world, work with the subconscious;
flowering of feelings between partners, complete mutual understanding;
romantic period of a relationship;
listening skills;
favorable circumstances;
blond, honest man;
a person interested in art and science;
domineering mature person;
businessman, lawyer, physician, church minister, people of art and science;
powerful intuition, friend of the questioner;
happy and reliable marriage, strong feelings.

King of Cups. Witchcraft Tarot by Ellen Dugan
Witchcraft Tarot by Ellen Dugan

Situation and Advice

A cultured and educated person will listen to you and give you good advice. You may need to be able to listen to one of your friends or loved ones. You are now in a situation where you are expected to show concern or sympathy. You will find understanding in a mature, emotionally stable man. Perhaps your father or the man who replaces him will play a significant role in the upcoming events of your life.

Persons designated by Upright King of Cups Tarot Сard

Your father. Educated, cultured, well-read man. A mature, emotionally stable person with whom it is easy to communicate. Professional. A person whose advice you can trust. Bachelor. Someone who likes to take on additional responsibility. A man who is associated with law or religion. A man with dignity. Calm, kind, respected, trustworthy, empathic person who can give good advice. Tailor. Teacher. Anyone who is interested in art and science. A person whose profession involves helping or caring for others. Ideological person. Good doctor. Judge or lawyer. Businessman. Adviser. Good friend. Negotiator. Painter. Someone who understands subconscious motives. A person whose life is full of emotions.

The Main Meanings of the Card In a Reversed Position

Key Words and Phrases

Bad advice. Intrigue. Danger. Immaturity. Nervous behavior. Deceptive appearance. Baseless assumptions. Double game. A scam. Losses. Force (power) is involved. Deception. Dishonesty. Insincerity. Self-deception. Fraud. Tangled connections. Manipulation. Indulgence. Betrayal. Violence. Insecurity. Laziness. Weakness. Selfishness. Unquenchable lust for power. Actions with intent to hurt. Evasive behavior. Sexual exploitation. Alcohol or drug abuse. Addiction. Dependent behavior. Unbridled narcissism. Too good to be true.

The main meanings of the card in a reversed position

an attack of melancholy, despair;
scandal, deception;
loss of something important;
drugs, alcohol;
power, ambition;
people in positions;
dishonest person;
robber, thief, swindler;
vice, depravity;
a domineering, ambitious person in a high position, always pursues his own goals, cautious and ruthless;
threat, unrighteousness, hefty loss;
injustice, monetary losses.

Situation and Advice

King of Cups. Black Grimoire Tarot
Black Grimoire Tarot

Professional advice can be unreliable. Someone can use you by playing on your emotions in order to achieve their own goals. There is a danger that you will become a victim of a scammer. Beware of a charming man who tries to drag you into a dubious undertaking, as you may get hurt as a result. Remember, if an offer sounds too good to be true, then it shouldn’t be accepted.

Persons designated by the Reversed King of Cups Tarot Сard

Narcissistic personality. Manipulator. Rogue. People who care exclusively about themselves. A person without a twinge of conscience. A lazy person, too self-indulgent. People who overly indulge those they love. Those who play with the emotions of others to achieve their own goals. Asocial personality. A person who can betray or mislead you. Scammer. A dishonest person. Misogynist. Those who enjoy inflicting emotional pain on others. Alcoholic or drug addict. Gigolo. A person who lies to himself about his own feelings and, perhaps, reinforces this self-deception with the help of alcohol, drugs, sexual excesses and mindless antics.

In the Spreads

The King of Cups is an easy-to-understand Tarot card. It symbolizes calmness and harmony, emotions and feelings, trust and understanding, a conscious, thoughtful view of things.
In some spreads, Arcana may indicate a certain man.
The interpretation directly depends on its position in the spread. The nuances of the meaning of the Arcana are below.

In an Upright Position

The appearance of the King of Cups in the Tarot spread indicates that he wants to help you or will want to do it if you ask him for help. If this card does not personify a specific person, then the situation itself implies justice, honor and understanding, reason and reasonable action. In other words, it is justly exercised power.
The Arcana will indicate thoughtful behavior, responsibility, depth of feelings, strong emotions, empathy.
In an upright position, the King of Cups card speaks of conscious and consistent progress towards your goal, surrounded by supportive people. Indicates understanding, leadership, friendship, and help. Arcana can mean that in order to successfully resolve the current situation, you need to take on the role of a voluntary leader who understands the problems of others. Maybe now is the time to provide help and support to your loved ones to resolve their various spiritual and emotional problems.
If you have just met your love, or are about to get married or have a child, the King of Cups promises you good luck, predicting a strong relationship and a happy family life.
This card speaks of valor and honor, of situations in which there is nobility, generosity, altruism, and the absence of danger. The cards nearest to it will show the circumstances that favor a positive and effective solution to the problem, even if the whole picture is not yet visible.
The meaning of King of Cups in fortune telling is that when solving a difficult case, the questioner will always be sent some kind of help. If there is such a person nearby who is not indifferent to the fate of the questioner, then you can be sure that this help will not be long in coming.
The drawn card carries with it unshakable confidence that the chosen path is correct and makes it clear that different life circumstances need to be treated calmly enough and without panic. You should also rely on your feelings, intuition, give free rein to your imagination. The cards next to them indicate creativity and emotional outbursts of the questioner.
Depending on the spread, it can indicate a specific guy / man related to the question asked. More often than not, this man has the classic characteristics of the King of Cups.
In the upright position, the King of Cups denotes a mature man with whom the querent has a strong emotional connection: a loved one, husband, father, patron, close relative or friend.
This is a person who has authority in your eyes. He is honest, fair, intelligent and experienced. The presence of the King of Cups in your Tarot spread means that you can completely trust this person, follow his advice and, if necessary, take advantage of the help that he will offer you.
The King of Cups Tarot card represents an intelligent, respected person in adulthood, a specialist or an entrepreneur in a high position. His calm, attractive appearance often hides strong passions that he keeps in check. Therefore, he seems indifferent and dry. However, this person could give good advice on a professional basis on a very important matter.
The King of Cups is a fair and honest man who is well disposed towards the querent. Responsible and mature, he shows paternal feelings towards the querent. He is intelligent, probably also well-mannered and well educated. He is a master and has the connections you need at the moment.

In a Reversed Position:

Like other court Tarot cards of this suit, the reversed King of Cups signifies deception and insincerity. Intelligence and influence are combined in his personality with dishonesty. The card means that the querent is in serious danger from such a person. Surrounding cards, perhaps, tell you from which side to expect trouble in order to be on the alert. Such a person should generally be avoided.
Drawing it in fortune telling in a reversed position, the King of Cups can mean a loss that will cause a flurry of negative emotions, or being involved in a scandal, deception or cheating due to a tendency to overly listen to the opinions of others and act on someone else’s orders. The card is sometimes interpreted as insincere or simply bad advice, as well as an inability to make mature decisions.
In any case, the reversed King of Cups is a sign that you should be on your guard. Do not let yourself be manipulated, even if it is done by a loved one and “with the best of intentions”.
The reversed card can symbolize the inability to express the surging feelings correctly, although for this, other cards must fall out in the spread, confirming this statement.

King of Cups. Medieval Tarot
Medieval Tarot

For example, the Eight of Swords. Or maybe the reversed King of Cups indicates resentment and inner anger, which there is nowhere to throw out in order to relieve your soul.
The King of Cups, in a reversed form, tells the questioner that there is a complete emptiness in his life, nothing new and nothing interesting around is suitable. One year is replaced by a new one, summer is autumn, day is night, and being is still reminiscent of groundhog day. This happens because a person does not draw conclusions from the situation, does not absorb life lessons, does not listen to intuition. As a result he got melancholy, depression, attacks of aggression, malaise.
It happens that this is just an exhausted lover or an actor in a creative crisis, looking for self-realization. The reversed King of Cups is a born artist, eccentric, striving for shocking. Most likely, he is a brawler and rowdy, a show-off and narcissistic type. He loves to spend money, which is not very much, right and left, thanks to which he is constantly in debt. Perhaps this is a man without honor and conscience, he is not clean on hand, which leads to a disadvantageous position for him in society.
Unprincipled, not smart, deceitful, unkind, unreliable, inadequate, completely devoid of any moral principles and moral foundations. He is able to ruin life not only for himself, but also for his family and friends. You can’t trust him, you can’t rely on him, you can’t do anything with him. Once in his team, you can part with your career and personal life.
In a reversed position, the King of Tarot Cups denotes a man from the inner circle of a querent who has a great influence on him: a loved one, father, husband, close relative.
The card warns of such possible character traits of this person as toughness, authoritarianism, ambition, or injustice and deceit. Perhaps, taking advantage of your trust, this person is able to deceive you or carry out a fraud with your participation. Or maybe it will just put you in an awkward situation or will put pressure on you, forcing you to do what you do not like.
The reversed King of Cups, in contrast to the upright one, indicates hypocrisy, pretense, manipulation, uncontrollable emotions, conflicting feelings, problems of perception of the world, leading to deviations from normal behavior.
The same applies to a certain person. This is a man / boy who has the characteristics listed above.
The reversed King of Cups is a deceitful person who cannot be trusted. A dishonest fraudster who will outsmart you or cause you to lose your personal life or career. Injustice, vice, scandal looms on the horizon.

In the Spreads for Different situation

In an Upright Position:
When asked about a specific situation, the King of Cups may indicate the need for support. Either they expect it from you, or they want to help you. Take a closer look at the reputable and reliable men near you. Perhaps this is one of them.
In a Reversed Position:
The advice received may not be effective. Perhaps someone is trying to manipulate you or drag you into something bad. Take a closer look at those around you.

In the Spreads for Relationship

In an Upright Position:
The King of Cups is one of the most favorable cards in relationships and love. It symbolizes sincere feelings, true love, bright positive emotions, mutual trust of partners, romance. If you are guessing at a man / guy – the card indicates his love and deep affection, the desire to show himself as a real man.
In a Reversed Position:
The reversed Tarot card King of Cups for love most often indicates some deviation from an ideal relationship. Perhaps one of the partners is manipulating the other, cheating in something, or showing feelings that are not really there.

In the Spreads for Money

In an Upright Position:
Everything is fine with finances. You will be rewarded for all your efforts.
In a Reversed Position:
Not everything is going smoothly with finances. Reversed Arcana can mean monetary loss, thoughtless waste, even theft.

In the Spreads for Career

In an Upright Position:
In terms of career issues, Arcana most of all refers to self-realization, the ability to use your strengths. If you are talented in something, then feel free to apply it in your work.
In this area, the King of Cups in an upright position indicates significant progress, career advancement, and appointment to a leadership position. Sometimes it hints to making a significant financial profit. In some cases, Arcana should be taken as an indication of the opportunity to break out of the routine of working everyday life and look at your activities from the other side, or even change your profession to a more interesting one.

King of Cups. Mystery of Avalon Tarot
Mystery of Avalon Tarot

In a Reversed Position:
The meaning of the reversed King of Cups Tarot card for career questions speaks of work that is not to your liking. Perhaps you want something completely different, but you are forced to do an unloved business. Hence all the problems.
Appearing in fortune telling in a reversed position, the King of Cups warns of unpromising, and sometimes even fraudulent or illegal offers. Arcana can also indicate unhealthy relationships in the team, humiliation from the leadership, the hostile attitude of colleagues.

In the Spreads for Health

In an Upright Position:
Good health, complete recovery in case of illness.
In matters of health, the King of Cups, like the Queen, can signal abnormalities in the body associated with water-salt balance or metabolism.
In a Reversed Position:
The reversed King of Cups often indicates mental abnormalities associated with uncontrollable emotions. Hence, there may be bad habits (alcohol, drugs, etc.).
Exhaustion of the body, tendency to hysteria, nervous disorders. Dangerous liquid poisoning is possible.

Answer to Yes / No Tarot Spreads

In an Upright Position:
Rather “yes” than “no”, but only if you use your abilities and intuition correctly.
In a Reversed Position:
More “no” than “yes”, but the situation may change.

Self-Development Lesson

You must eliminate the outdated way of thinking and develop your self-knowledge. Once we have mastered our emotions, we are able to think sanely.

Type of person in an upright position:

The card indicates a man, whose age can be both middle (35-40 years old) and old. Hair is light brown or light brown, very light skin. The eyes are blue, green or light brown. There are many mimic wrinkles on the face. Height and build are average. With age, there may be slight obesity.
The man is married or in a long-term love union, in which, as a rule, he is happy. We can say about him that he is monogamous, although the interest in him from women never fades away. This is facilitated by the fact that the King of Cups looks youthful and fit for his age, is an interesting conversationalist, and leads an active social life.
By nature, regardless of gender, he is a thoughtful, kind, philanthropic person. At the same time, there is no excessive softness in it, like the Queen of Cups. Therefore, if a woman falls out in a personal spread, it says that she often uses male methods to solve problems, while remaining outwardly as feminine as ever.

Type of person in a reversed position:

Not a free man. He may not be officially married or divorced, but nobody will never bother to sort out the previous relationship. He has at least one unfinished relationship.
In a reversed form, the King of Cups fully acquires the vices inherent in the suit of water. And if the Page and the Knight of this suit (in more rare cases the Queen of Cups) are still able to change, the reversed King of Cups becomes stuck in vices so deeply that no external stimuli can affect his worldview.

Arcana’s warning

Try not to give your emotions full control. Control your illusions.

Final Advice of Arcana

The King of Cups gives advice to listen to your inner state and intuition. Don’t hide your emotions, open up to the world.

In an Upright Position:
Engage in the development of talent in full force. Heed wise advice, it can come from someone from a parent or an older person.

King of Cups. The Wheel of the Year Tarot
The Wheel of the Year Tarot

In a Reversed Position:
To find at least something good in your position, it is somewhere. Avoid false authorities and preachers who seek to sell opium to the people.


The King of Cups is an honest and just ruler, knowledgeable in business, law and theology. His calm appearance hides his emotional nature. He is responsible for his actions. Drawing this card means that you, too, have reached a level of emotional maturity and stability and are acting intelligently, not impulsively. You are willing to muffle your emotions to help others.
The appearance of the King of Water in the spread is a sign that you need to analyze your inner world, determine what your true feelings are and how you express your emotions. Find the answer to the question – “are you doing everything in order to reveal your talents?”. And often it is also a symbol that someone loves you very much.


Discover other Minor Arcana:

2 thoughts on “King of Cups Tarot Card Meanings”

  1. The King of Cups in health readings often shows itself as the presence of a good doctor. No wonder in the old days they believed that he was holding a glass of medicine

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