Ace of Cups Meaning: Upright and Reversed

Being the first card of the suit of cups, the Ace of Cups’ meaning is connected to love, awakening, intuition, and new realms of feelings, emotions, and even awakening to one’s intuitive self. 

Ace Of Cups Messages

Upright Ace of Cups tells us that it is time to open our hearts to new friendships, new people may enter our lives that are good for us, as well as love and spiritual teachers or insights. 

Most importantly, the Ace of Cups is a signal to put down the pain of the past, creating the space for new possibilities for fulfillment. 

The choice is yours, do you drink from the cup, or keep trudging through the heaviness of the past?

Ace of Cups Meaning: Keywords

Upright Keywords:

  • New emotions and feelings 
  • Awakenings
  • Intuition
  • Innate wisdom 
  • Waking up to your intuitive gifts
  • Using your intuitive sight
  • Love
  • New beginnings regarding love, emotions, spirituality
  • Initiation regarding spirituality
  • Intuitive gifts

Reversed Keywords:

  • Loss (emotional)
  • Stunted creative energy
  • Loss of love
  • Feeling down
  • Cold and hard-hearted
  • Emptiness
  • Need to let go

Ace of Cups Element

The water element rules this suit, this is not surprising considering the element of water is symbolic of our unconscious, and emotions. As with all cards and suits, there is a reverse meaning as well. And as you can imagine, if an upright cup card symbolizes intuition, then a reversed one will harken a disconnection to intuition or creativity. But although the suit will carry an association throughout all cards of the suit, each card will have an individual influential meaning as well. 

Suit of Cups Overall Meaning

The suit of cups itself is connected to the realm of the heart and all that is associated with it. From feelings and emotions to creativity and intuition, the suit of cups is your suit of romance and imagination. 

Cups Archetype

Every suite has an archetype. In fact, even the major arcana cards each have their own archetype that they symbolize. When reading tarot cards, it’s important to remember that it’s our association with these archetypes that fill in the gaps. In the minor arcana, we see how each suit resonates with an archetype. The Suit of Cups is the archetype of emotions and encompasses the realm of feelings. 

The main focus with the Suit of Cups is this: “How it feels”. 

When you have a Cups card in your Tarot spread, it inclines you to draw your attention to the emotional nature of things. Sure, this can include the softer and more whimsical side of romance and love, and all the excitement that brings. But, it can also bring a message of worries, temptations, and disappointments. 

The suit of cups draws the connection between the world of our feelings and emotions- a world some of us prefer to push back into a corner. This is when an Ace of Cups might show up in a reading. 

The Cups are here to reminds us that our intuition is a gift to be used, and if we suppress our emotions then the dam wall will eventually give way. 

Let’s take a closer look at the herald for the suit of cups, The Ace of Cups. 

Meaning of the Ace of Cups

Across all suits, the Ace is the harbinger. It is the exclamation point that gives a steadfast tone to the suit. With the suit of cups, the ace is bringing your attention to your feelings. The pain you’ve been holding onto can be released now. Allow yourself to let go of the past, and focus your attention on your innate creative nature. 

It can also be an encouragement to reconnect with your inner child. Allow yourself to feel that innocent joy. Bear witness to the love and support that is a constant force throughout life, and you will begin to see emotional fulfillment and healings.

It can also herald a sudden change of heart. Whether it’s your heart or someone else’s, pay attention. The Ace of Cups can also signal the arrival of new birth, whether that be maternal pregnancy or the birth of something new. Reversed, it can be a rebellious card signaling revolution, a change of heart, or a time of isolation where you need to refill your cup.

Now that we have the imagery on the card explained, let’s dive deeper into the meaning that could come withdrawing an upright Ace of Cups.

How to Read the Ace of Cups

While every card will have specific keywords associated with it, the imagery is where you should get your guidance from. The imagery is one of the key aspects of the Tarot. When you draw the Ace of Cups, look at the image and notice what stands out to you. 

I like to put all meanings and keywords out of my mind, and look at the card as if I am a child looking at something new. What do I see? What do I notice first? And then most importantly, how does this make me feel? What emotions, thoughts, feelings, and sensations do I observe? 

This doesn’t have to be an hour of study over a cup of tea, but just a few seconds of focused observation. From there, I reintroduce the keywords into my mind, and from there it all begins to form connections, as the puzzle pieces fit together. 

In this Image Description, we’re going to use the Rider Waite Cards for our base. 

Ace of Cups Imagery

The Ace of Cups has a chalice with five streams of water flowing forth from it. The chalice (or cup) could even be an offering as if offering the streams of water. This water could be symbolic of your intuition flowing freely, your emotions, feelings, or creativity. 

The card could suggest that if you allow your intuitive gifts to flow inhibited, you could benefit greatly. This is all subjective, of course, and there is a multitude of meanings you could draw from this imagery. I have experienced many sessions where I drew a card, and the meaning has a slightly different trajectory each time. This is because we naturally relate the imagery to what is going on in our minds, emotions, and life at the time. And, let’s be honest, that can change quite often.

The cup itself has a clear meaning and represents your subconscious mind, which is a vessel filled with potential. The five streams are representative of the five senses, and the water element is a pure symbol of both emotion and intuition. The water is flowing from the cup, suggesting that your innate nature is to have these senses, as well as intuition and emotion, flowing freely within your subconscious mind. 

There is a hand holding the cup, and as it extends from the clouds it seems to be offering the cup. The clouds and the hand coming out of the clouds are representative of your innate nature of awareness, and the influence of spiritual energy. 

Beneath the cup, we see a body of water covered with lotus blossoms. This lotus-covered sea is a symbol for the human spirit as it awakens to its true spiritual potential. And the five senses, combined with intuition and emotion, feed the human spirit towards this spiritual nature as we allow it to flow freely from the cup of our subconscious mind. 

Above the cup, we see a dove, an ancient harbinger of spiritual messages and peace, flying towards the cup. The dove is a long-standing symbol of the divine, and with the suit of cups, we can interpret this as the divine love that is ever-present and permeating through life, our conscious awareness, and our subconscious minds. 

Because we see a hand from the clouds offering the cup, accompanied by the divine messenger of the dove, we can understand this as if it is an offering from the divine. Saying, here, drink from the cup of awareness, allow the creativity to flow, and you will receive spiritual and emotional fulfillment. However, this also requires emotional discipline. Listening to your inner voice is not always as easy as it seems. But, the blossoming lotus hints at the reward at our fingertips. 

Ace of Cups Meaning: Time to Let Go

An upright Ace of Cup could suggest that it’s time to let go. Now, I know, letting go isn’t always easy. It never really is, is it? But how can you receive new blessings and welcome in new abundance if your cup is already too full? Upright ace of cups is showing you that your emotional baggage is holding you back, and it’s time to let go.

Only by releasing that which doesn’t serve a purpose for you allows the space to welcome in the things, people, and gifts that will deliver you towards personal fulfillment. The Ace is the first card, so no matter the suit, this is an important attribute to focus on. The Ace of Cups is hinting that there is a new beginning on the horizon, possibly related to creativity, love, romance, or even platonic relationships. But the card is asking you to first release the old before welcoming in the new. You may be pushed towards opening up to new possibilities to bring you the emotional fulfillment you seek. 

Let’s talk a bit about the other bit we might not be so keen on- releasing. Only you will know what needs to be released, but the Ace could signal that this is an emotional or even spiritual ideal or notion that you need to let go of. This is all depending on your unique situation. 

If you draw the Ace of Cups after a period of heartache, loneliness, isolation, or after a period where you have felt emotionally wounded, then this card is your dove, telling you that it’s time to put down the heavy cross and allow yourself to let it go. Only after you’ve decided to let go, can the new possibilities and new period be welcomed in. 

Ace of Cups Reversed Meaning

When you draw the Ace of Cups in the upright position, we see how it connects to love and the outer world- our relationships, friendships, opportunity, etc. But in the reversed position, this love is a reflection of the inner world and the love we reflect back to ourselves. Drawing a reversed Ace of Cups could signal that it’s time to give yourself some love before you can send love to the world. The more you feel the divine love for yourself, coming from Source or the Divine, the more you can allow that flow to guide you through life. 

There is a clear correlation between the Ace of Cups and the subconscious and intuition. When the reversed Ace of Cups is drawn, it shows your connection to your intuition is strong. This is an inward time for you, where you are exploring this intuitive attunement and seeing how it works in your life. 

However, we know by now that there are various directions a card can take. A reversed Ace of Cups is also a warning that you are not in tune with your intuition, perhaps holding back your feelings and emotions. You might be in a state of withdrawal, and isolating yourself. There is an element of privacy you want to keep- and are avoiding revealing your inner emotions and vulnerability to others. 

It could be because you are concerned that if you let one little feeling slip out of your tightly bound soul, you might unravel. But the Ace of Cups is here to tell you that the healing is in the unraveling. It’s okay to let yourself be vulnerable, you don’t have to rely on stoicism- you can feel, and you can share your inner turmoil with others. The tighter you hold onto the emotions, the more repressed your feelings. And sooner or later, the dam will break, causing far more damage than it’s worth. 

You don’t have to connect with other people to share your feelings. You can use any of the creative arts to express what’s written in your heart. Whether that is journaling, dancing in your kitchen in between dishes, or even driving out to the middle of nowhere and letting it all out, that is okay. Find what you’re comfortable with, there is no right or wrong. 

The reversed Ace of Cups could also be telling you that you are wasting your gifts, as the image clearly depicts water pouring out from the cup. Perhaps you are feeling like you’ve hit a stumbling block as if your resources or creativity is dried up. You could be feeling exhausted, spent, and empty. The reversed Ace of Cups brings you a message of hope, you get to decide who is in control of your cup. It’s time to see how it emptied, and what you need to do to fill it up again. 

Ace of Cups in a Reading

Let’s put this into context. I am consulting the cards to find out about one of the most universal questions, how to find love, and I draw the Ace of Cards in an upright position, how do I interpret that? I would see the Guidance saying, allow your creativity to flow, allow your emotions to be expressed. Feel your intuition guide you and your life. Allow your awareness to rest in the true spiritual self and divine love that fuels life. Feel fulfillment in that which fuels the creative flow and spark. From there, from this place of inner fulfillment, you will find what you are seeking. 

That would be my interpretation for myself, but each person will have a unique stance to view this meaning because each individual has their view and vantage point. And that’s not a bad thing, in fact, that is what makes the tarot an incredible tool. Use your thoughts and feelings when observing the card and its imagery. 

If you have trouble decoding the imagery, let the keywords guide you, and be patient with yourself. A tarot deck wasn’t designed in a day.

When you are doing a simple single card reading, this guide is all you’ll need. But if you are doing a multiple cards spread like a three-card spread or even a Celtic Cross spread, pay attention to the cards you draw alongside it. These accompanying cards will give more clues and steer the meaning towards a more personal and clear meaning for you. 

And lastly, always trust your inner voice. No, not the one that tells you that you are crazy, but that gut feeling that’s impossible to ignore. We all have it- sometimes it goes quiet after years of ignoring it. But, each time we remember it, each time we engage it, it strengthens. So, use these guides as your foundation and support, but never forget to consult your inner guide, too. 

FAQ: Ace of Cups

Question: What does the Ace of Cups mean in a daily reading?

Answer: If you draw the Ace of Cups in a daily reading, you are encouraged to be present with the love and new possibilities throughout the day. This does not necessarily mean romantic love, but could also be a sense of gratitude for the day and all it brings. Be conscious of new opportunities, relationships, and friendships that could present themselves during the day. Keep an open heart.

Question: Does Ace of Cups mean pregnancy?

Answer: Pregnancy announcements are often synonymous with the ace of cups. However, pregnancy is just one aspect and is not a given when you draw this card. Instead, it could be the birth of something new, whether maternal pregnancy or not.

Question: What does Ace of Cups mean in a love reading?

Answer: When an Ace of Cups appears in a love reading, it could mark the beginning of a new love interest or, alternatively, the strengthening and deepening of an existing bond.

Question: What does Ace of Cups mean in a career reading?

Answer: When an Ace of Cups shows up in a career reading, it suggests a waiting period of one week, particularly if your question involves the timeframe of a particular situation. If you are on the hunt for new career and business opportunities the Ace of Cups is a sign of positive things on the horizon.

Question: Is the Ace of Cups Reversed a Negative Omen?

Answer: Remember, in tarot, there is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’. That being said, if you draw the Ace of Cups reversed, it could be an indication of an ending. But endings are not always bad, as long as we let go with grace and make space for new, fulfilling opportunities to come our way.


Ace of Cups is a beautiful card to get in a reading (especially a love reading). It represents new opportunities, happiness, and the potential for a new relationship to blossom. But it can also remind us of the importance of self-care, and filling our own cups.

What I love most about the Ace of Cups, is the way it gently reminds me to pay attention to the ever-present stream of consciousness that guides every moment of every day. Sure, while we’re sitting in traffic it might not feel that way.

And that’s exactly why we get the Ace of Cups. It says, “hey stop a minute. Smell the jasmine blooming in the spring. Feel the sun caress your skin. Fill your own cup, and allow the new opportunity to flow your way.” 

And reversed? Well, take some time to rest. It could signal that it’s time to release, to let go. But remember, there is nothing that we lose- we only exchange one thing for another. When we are looking for a new opportunity, we almost always have to let go of something else. 

What does the Ace of Cups mean to you? Sit with the imagery, take stock of what you notice first, and what feelings it brings up. This is how you can find your personal meaning in a reading, I can only guide you with a map with collective symbolism, you have to take the journey yourself.

Continue reading related guides to cards from the suit of cups:

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