Reflection on The Knight of Cups, and The Emergence of The Mature Masculine

As regular visitors to this blog are aware, your humble blogger has had his hands full in recent days, putting his personal life on hold to move in with his ill and aging mother who now requires regular and periodic—if not quite constant—home assistance. He’s been meditating on the situation frequently, and praying for his mother’s health, which has improved since she came home from the hospital last week; and today, asking for a bit of guidance from the Tarot on the matter, he turned up this card:


Well now. This was the card I used as my Significator card in my younger days since the qualities traditionally ascribed to it—a self-styled artist and an introvert at heart, a bit of an idealist and somewhat given over to daydreams and fantasies—closely mirrored my youthful inclinations. I suppose that, given the present circumstances, the Knight could suggest the “return of the prodigal son”—a homecoming and a reckoning at the same time: The completion of a cycle of life and the beginning of another, where the “son becomes the father (or in this case, the mother) and the father/mother becomes the son/daughter.”   

Curious to develop this idea in greater detail, I laid out three additional cards to form a four-card “Thinking-Feeling-Acting-Becoming” spread, which we covered the yesterday. This is what turned up, read right to left:

Screen shot 2015-06-08 at 2.27.37 PMThinking. This is the “good son” looking inward, toward the past—literally, into the house in which he was raised—to find a sense of purpose and place. This station of his life is transient, and cannot continue for long lest he get lost in the daydream world that defined his emotional state when he was young.

Feeling. This is the nothing less than a call to an unconditional surrender to love. Do not see the care of the mother in her twilight as a hardship requiring sacrifice, but as an act of atonement by which one achieves a higher state of self-awareness and, as the Hanged Man’s radiant countenance implies, a deeper inner calm.

Acting. Amazing—the King of Swords is the card I that use as my Significator now, and in this position it suggests that I should rely on my instincts in my daily endeavors because I am now in “the right place” in my life—the King of Swords is a card of active volition, if nothing else—no matter how initially disorienting this change in my lifestyle has been, or how increasingly desperate my material condition appears to be. Viewed through the lens of Jungian typology,  the Thinking-Feeling-Acting triptych shows us the youth (Knight) surrendering his inward-gazing, narcissistic worldview for something more transcendent than his own self-edification (Hanged Man), and this is the key to actuating the principle of the mature masculine (King) that dwells within his psyche.    

Becoming. With the masculine archetype thus set in motion, this card suggests that a new creative endeavor may be on the horizon, one that may take me in a diametrically opposite direction that the one I am facing now. Note the King of Wands and Knight of Cups facing away from each other, suggesting a “psychic split” of sorts, though one that is absolutely necessary if we are to be fully individuated adults: When I was a child, I believed in childish things . . . What is required now is patience and resolve, the willingness to stay with the work at hand, which must be done before the next chapter of life can begin. How long this will take, no one can say, and all this uncertainty has probably been the cause of so much “lost sleep” on my part over the past week or so. But in any event, this spread suggests to us that if we walk in a spirit of humility, acting decisively not for our own gain but for the benefit of others, our surrender to love will one day be rewarded; having endured a personal “trial by fire,” we are spiritually renewed and our psyches made whole.

Dante DiMatteo

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