A young woman contemplates a goblet she is holding; a fish emerges from the cup, staring back at her. Behind them, the ocean rolls gently with the currents.
The Princess of Cups represents the “earthy” element of Cups—that is, the element of water that is most closely connected to the physical realm. In a reading, this could imply that the answer to our question is at hand, or that we should we willing to apply some energy to exploring our feelings at the moment. This could also translate into incorporating esoteric or occult studies into our daily lives to unlock some of the secrets of the psyche.
As we’ve noted in our review of the Trumps Major, the fish is a powerful mythological symbol with a prominent place in Christian hermeticism. Perhaps the fish in this image is asking the Princess to return her to the ocean, and the Princess, with that quizzical look on her face, is thinking about joining the fish! It would be germane to the card’s central meaning, which is the willingness we all should have to “dive” into the waters of our unconscious mind—the world of feelings and dreams—to see what we can discover about ourselves. (Princesses, and Princes to a lesser extent, are traditionally thought of as students or apprentices.)
The zodiacal symbol assigned to the Princess is the sign of Scorpio; as such she may represent the kind of rebirth implied when Scorpio first appears in the Trumps Major:
It should be noted that Scorpio traditionally rules over the reproductive organs, so the Princess can also be a card of sexual awakening, possibly even of pregnancy and childbirth (Princesses often stand for news and messages in a reading). Scorpio is also a fixed water sign, implying that the Princess, when inspired, is a diligent and determined student. So should we be as well in our spiritual studies.
Meanings in a reading can include: Esoteric or occult studies, active imagination, emotions examined and resolved, the “voice of conscience” speaking, sexual awakening and possibly pregnancy, spiritual rebirth, “the answer is at hand,” and more mundanely, a young woman born under a water sign; but also dogmatism, shallowness, egotism, emotions repressed, crude and licentious behavior, news delayed or deferred. Our unconscious mind—the mind of emotion, intuition and dreams—is a precious realm of the psyche; as the fish rises from the deep to nourish our bodies, so too can our dreams nourish our minds. We only need to spend more time in dialogue with them and heeding their advice.