Queen of Cups


At the shore of the ocean, a woman wearing a golden crown sits on a throne engraved with images of angels. In her hand she holds what appears to be a six-sided censer topped by a cross and adorned with winged angels. She gazes at the censer with a pensive and meditative look, seeming not to care whether or not the tide is rolling in.

The Queen of Cups represents the “watery” element of water, that is, water in its purest and least corrupted form. If any of the court cards can be said to represent an archetypal correspondence to the Divine, it would be this one: the Shekinah, the Spirit of God in the world. The three angels engraved on the Queen’s throne symbolize the third Sephira, Binah, which governs the four Queens. She is the tempering (water) element for her mate, the King, who has a fiery and more volatile temperament. Given her natural inclination to enlighten and heal, she is sometimes associated with the educational and medical professions.

The Queen has been traditionally assigned to the zodiacal sign of Cancer, fixed water. Cancer governs the breast and chest, and whenever we fall in love with someone who “takes our breath away,” we can feel the presence of the Queen stirring within us. Cancer is also associated with the summer solstice, and all the ritual significance it has played throughout time. In the Christian tradition, the summer solstice is also associated with the birth of John the Baptist, who used the medium of water to save men’s souls.

The Queen’s censer is hexagonally shaped; the number six repeats with the number of recesses carved into the top of her throne. This could suggest her “sixth” sense—of intuition unfailing—or it could correspond to the number Six of the her own element:


Meanings of this card can include: Reflection, meditation, inner wisdom, the  “sixth sense,” emotional healing, feminine intuition, or more mundanely, an older woman born under a water sign; but also self-absorption, narcissism, jealousy, or antisocial behavior. The Queen reminds us that in our hectic everyday existence, we need to take some time out for some quiet meditation and introspection if we are to live a healthy and balanced emotional life.

Dante DiMatteo

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