Three women clad in long flowing gowns dance in a circle, raising their goblets high in celebration. One of them holds a cluster of grapes, and the two figures facing us appear to wearing garlands on their heads. All around them, a bountiful crop is in flower.
The archetypal image of the Three Graces—mythical daughters of Zeus, who stand for the feminine powers of charm, beauty, and creativity—was surely the influence for this card’s design:
In classical mythology, the Graces dance to celebrate the coming of spring—the time of year when the earth emerges from the barrenness of winter to sprout forth new life, and this is the significance of the Three of Cups: Birth, renewal, regeneration, and the power of love made manifest on earth. It also reminds us, however, of the cyclical nature of earthly life and of the limitations we face; that autumn will again come and usher in winter’s stillness and cold. But for now, we dance in celebration of new life; even more importantly, we share our joy with others.
The card also speaks to our personal “spring-like” qualities—the qualities of the Graces: creativity, beauty and charm—that bring light and warmth to our relationships. We may have our “bad days” from time to time, but we should always try to share these noble qualities that reside inside ourselves with others, and celebrate them when we sense their presence amongst us.
Meanings of this card in a reading can include: Rebirth, renewal, springtime, childbirth, shared joys and happiness, the earthly manifestation of love; but also sterility, stagnation, barrenness and emptiness. Love in all of its emanations is meant to be shared, whether it be the love we have for our brother or the love the Creator bestows upon us. Sharing our love of life takes the most transcendent physical form in the act of childbirth; but whatever form it takes, it is our mission to share those loving qualities with which we are endowed with everyone.