Friday, January 7, 2011

The Cups by Cruel Thing

The Cruel Thing tarot illustrated by Luciano Vecchio is a Spanish deck published by Fournier. It is based on the characters of Vecchio's graphic comic of the same name. It is one of the few tarot decks with limited illustration of the pip cards (minor arcana) where I find the subtle symbolism still informative enough to understand the overall meaning of the cards without the greater use of detail.

Cups represent emotion, the element of water, and overall - love.


The Ace of Cups, in its most literal form, is about love. Commonly, love is associated with attachment, but with the Ace, the love is genuine and without attachment. It is new, fresh and clear. It flows freely as would a spring fed stream. It is without judgment.

The Ace indicates the kind of love felt towards or coming from a child or a puppy dog. It is rare in adults as we often confuse love with sexuality, infatuation, or the fulfillment of our desires.
If you draw the Ace it means the heart opens in enjoyment.


The Two of Cups is the Ace x 2. Literally, it is two people, or a person and another thing, opening their hearts in enjoyment. Complicating the simple spring fed flow though, is the fact that we are complicated. This kind of love flowing between two people or things doesn't last long because we are complex and because love, like water, doesn't stand still for long, at least not effectively, which we shall see in the four.

Generally, the Two of Cups indicates a 'meeting' in love as opposed to a 'lasting' in love. What happens next could be quite different (I was going to remove this last cynicism but after some thought decided it would be best to leave you forewarned, to help break the fall so to say).

If you draw the Two of Cups it indicates the meeting of two hearts. There is a focus on the realization of a similar feeling. It is love reciprocated.


The Three Of Cups represents a container of joy that flows cheerfully among and between a group. It always has the celebratory feel of sharing enjoyment with friends.
If you draw the Three Of Cups it means enjoyment, friendship, sharing, celebration, achievement, flowing and even overflowing with joy.


The Four Of Cups is best explained by thinking about the behaviour of water in a closed container. It stagnates. The four is a solid structure and its stability prevents water from flowing freely which is an essential aspect of emotion. This card always seems a little melancholy because there it represents those emotions that are repressive, such as grudges, resentment, and misery. Because it is still an inexperienced cup having only known joy in the past the danger is usually short lived and the stagnation easily disrupted.
If you draw the Four of Cups it can mean you are holding onto some emotion that is bringing you down. It can also represent disinterest, melancholy, self pity and/or minor depression.


The Five of Cups represents disruption of emotion which often manifests as sadness, grief, loss, longing, self pity, and/or regret.
The five is an imbalance and an abundance that forces a person to grow even though they may not want to as was the case in the four.
If you draw the Five of Cups it represents a feeling of being overwhelmed, sad, or remorseful. It can also mean longing for the past, or being closed to the joys of the present.


The Six of Cups is nostalgic and pleasant. Sixes always represent exchanges and harmony. The two threes together represent a past and present influence and is the beginning of a maturity in the suit. In the English language the word for six is spelled similar to the word sex. Very interesting because there is a strong sexual aspect to the Six of Cups. It often represents the joys of sex and at the same time represents the joyful memories of childhood.
If you draw the Six of Cups it can mean a relationship rekindled, a sexual encounter, harmonious interaction, nostalgic feelings of joy or a willingness to see another point of view.


Sevens represent personal challenges and the Seven of Cups is about choosing what feels right in a situation with multiple choices. It requires digging down into the emotional realm and discerning what is right for you.
If you draw the Seven of Cups it means a choice is at hand, indecision, mixed feelings, being swept away with emotion, or struggling to choose.
*Note - the Seven of Cups is not the choice itself, but represents the struggle to choose.


The Eight of Cups is about making a difficult choice and often that means leaving something behind. After the Seven's difficult struggle to choose, a choice has been made and a sacrifice usually accompanies it.
If you draw the Eight Of Cups it means moving on to something new, trial and tribulation, sacrifice, a decision, determination and/or resignation.


With the Nine of Cups, most of the struggle with emotion is now over and a sense of satisfaction sets in. The Nine Of cups represents achievement of ones goals and the general sense of enjoyment that comes with a job well done.
If you draw the Nine of Cups it means feeling proud of one's self, satisfaction, success, happiness for one's self, or in a negative sense, gloating or smugness.


The Ten of Cups is about emotional fulfillment. The ten represents accomplishment and the Ten of Cups denotes a happiness that is derived from being part of a supportive community. There is balance in giving and receiving.
If you draw the Ten of Cups it can mean being satisfied with one's family and friends, emotional maturity, long term fulfillment of one's dreams, lasting love, friendship and/or family issues.


In the Cruel Thing tarot deck the illustrator has chosen to use the name Jack, but the traditional name of this card is Page. The Page of Cups is the youngest of the court cards and is often represented by a young man or woman with an emotional nature who possesses the qualities of the cups in a naive and vulnerable way.
If you draw the Page of Cups it can mean you are experiencing a situation with a degree of naivete or vulnerability, or it can represent someone or something in your environment. It can also indicate sensitivity, creativity, and emotional immaturity.


Knights represent a dynamic and transformational force in the suits and the Knight of Cups has a turbulent emotional nature as he represents the struggle to communicate emotions without a high level of experience or maturity. Therefore, the Knight of Cups is often depicted as brooding and moody, but he can also represent romantic interest.
If you draw the Knight of cups it can mean you or someone in your environment is experiencing a change in emotion, romantic interest, sultry behaviour, moodiness and/or a general dissatisfaction with the current situation.


The Queen of Cups represents an emotional maturity and a state of being. She is generally passive and loving. She can represent your attitude or position, or another person, man or woman with these qualities.
If you draw the Queen of Cups it can mean love, nurturing, falling in love, being emotional in a negative or positive way, giving or receiving love, or feeling loved.


The King of Cups is often depicted as a man with a small stature. This is because the realm of emotion, or more specifically love, does not naturally gel with the expressive nature of men in general. The King of Cups often sacrifices his own feelings and has a quieter nature than most kings. The King of Cups is often the strong silent type who is almost always offering emotional support by listening more than speaking.
If you draw the King of Cups it can mean your attitude or position or someone in your environment offering moral support, kindness and/or gentleness, wisdom, sacrifice, leadership or protection.

If you would like to check out the Cruel Thing tarot or comic please visit


Anthony Cowin said...

I always understood the cards were read with symbolism but never realised how much variation there is in each card. Fantastic descriptions that have opened my eyes.

Really beautiful illustrations on the cards too.

Ms Corpse Cafe said...

Well thanks Anthony. Glad you enjoyed the explanations.

I really enjoy the illustrations on this deck too. If you ask me he's right on with his symbolism. I think the artist really knew what he was doing, even though he claims to be a novice.