King of Cups Meaning: Upright and Reversed

The King of Cups is a person in control of emotions and the subconscious. This person is not numb but feels all their emotions and masters them so that their emotions never get the better of them.

This is not a person to lose their temper; this is someone who is constantly in control of what they’re feeling and how they’re expressing it. Before we get into the King of Cups Meaning let’s look at the reversed and upright keywords connected to it.

Keywords for the King of Cups

Keywords for the King of Cups Upright:

  • Control
  • Intuitive
  • Mastery of emotions
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Practical intelligence
  • Balance
  • Good decision-making skills

Keywords for the King of Cups Reversed:

  • Lacking control
  • Reactive
  • Overly emotional
  • Poor execution
  • Poor decision-making skills
  • Withdrawn
  • Selfish

The Suit of Cups 

The Suit of Cups 

The Cups suit is aligned with the element of water. Cups are therefore also connected to the three water signs in the zodiac or astrological calendar: Pisces, Cancer, and Scorpio.

The King of Cups is specifically associated with the zodiac sign of Pisces. When you pull this Tarot card, you should stop to reflect if a Pisces is in any way involved in your question or answer in this Tarot spread. Pisces are old souls, deep and dreamy, and they dive into the depths of the subconscious fearlessly.

The suit of Cups also has to do with human relationships and love. This does not always mean romantic relationships specifically; in fact, it often does not. We have many different types of relationships in our lives, so it’s important to not get caught up in seeing the King of Cups as a sexual or romantic person in your future, past, or present. This could be a mentor; it could be you; it could be a relative or a work friend even! Whoever they are, you’re lucky to have them (if they’re upright).

Cups appear to advise us on our human relationships and partnerships but also connect us to our subconscious, as they are associated with the element of water. The clues as to what relationship or what sort of relationship the Cups Tarot card you pulled is referring to lie in which Tarot spread you’ve chosen, and the cards before and after the Cup pulled.

The Kings

As the Queens in the Minor Arcana of the Tarot deck aspire to one day be The Empress in the Major Arcana, the Kings all aspire to one day be The Emperor. Think of each King as a facet of the phase of life of The Emperor. Think of him as growing, learning new crafts, and mastering different elements as he ascends to his status as emperor.

Kings are all strong, mature, and stable. They are the most evolved version of their respective suit as they evolve to The Emperor. In our world, they function as managers, heads of households, or CEOs, they are very knowledgeable in their craft, and they run their respective environments.

Kings are all fathers with masculine energy, but just as Queens are not necessarily female, Kings are not necessarily male. It’s not about their sex but rather their masculine energy. These people are leaders in their family, community, workplace, and friend group.

Kings easily care for others as they are financially and emotionally stable. They enjoy this work. They seek to make a positive impact on the world they will eventually leave behind. Legacy is a major focus for them now.

The King of Cups, therefore, is the master of water, while the King of Pentacles masters the element of earth, and so on.

Symbolism and Imagery in the King of Cups


The King of Cups sits on a gray, minimalist throne. While other thrones in the Tarot deck tend to be ornate and have intricate engravings, this throne stands out as strikingly simple. This is because what the King of Cups desires is within him, as symbolized by his blue cloak.

Blue symbolizes the subconscious realm, and this King is swimming in blue. This makes sense because he’s a Cup, and Cups are connected to the element of water. Blue is also all around him in the waves his throne is surrounded with.

The waves and his cloak are also peppered with the color yellow, connecting this King to the higher conscious. His shoes are also yellow, and they are both firmly planted on the ground, showing him as grounded but not on the earth. This King is more ethereal; he has no green on or around him. He is not connected to the earth because he is too busy being connected to water and air. Indeed, this King is also associated with Aquarius, an air sign.

In the background is a red ship, signifying an ambitious journey. Ambition comes from the color red and journey because boats are vessels of exploration and travel. The presence of this ship is telling you that this King’s work is not done; he has more growing to do before he becomes The Emperor.

Finally, a fish jumps on the left of the King, symbolizing Pisces, his most closely related zodiac sign. Pisces are the old souls of the zodiac; they are capable of great intuitive psychic abilities and are extremely emotionally intelligent. This King possesses those qualities as well.

Upright King of Cups Meaning

Pulling the King of Cups upright in a Tarot spread is a positive sign. This is a really strong person in your life, and depending on where it falls in your psychic reading, it could be you! If so: good for you!

The King of Cups has high emotional intelligence; he is also a master of his own emotions. He is not one to lose his temper or react impulsively. Furthermore, the King of Cups can offer his wisdom in emotional control to people around him. He is very helpful and willing to help you grow emotionally.

The King of Cups brings his emotional intelligence and mastery to work. He is an excellent people manager, and he’s also astute at business. He can accomplish great things because of his emotional mastery. Furthermore, he’s well-respected and liked at work because he is not condescending, rude, or snappy to his employees and coworkers. If you work with a King of Cups, lucky you!

Upright King of Cups in a Love Reading

king of cups

The King of Cups upright in a love reading is a good sign. This could be you, your partner, or a partner in the future. Whoever they are, they’re great! This isn’t a person that’s going to start fights; this is a person who will take the time to reflect on emotions before they react. They will be great for making constructive conversation in order to improve your relationship.

The King of Cups as a partner is not someone you’re going to be afraid to bring up difficult subjects with. They have an open mind and are not reactionary.

The King of Cups Upright in a Career and Money Reading

If the King of Cups is upright in your career and money reading, this is very good! Career-wise, you’re doing well because of your emotional intelligence and, therefore, people skills. People like working for you and with you and therefore they do better work.

Concerning money, you’re reaping the rewards of your hard work. You have strong morals, and you are recognized for doing well and working well with others. People like to put you in charge because you do good work. This is all earned financial stability, good for you!

The King of Cups Upright in a Home and Family Reading 

The King of Cups upright in your home and family Tarot reading is a good sign. This is telling me that you or someone you cohabitate with is a strong, capable person. That person is financially stable, wise, and emotionally intelligent. This is a great person to go to for advice; you should make sure you utilize their strengths, it will pay off for you, and it will give them pleasure to help.

This person is also financially stable and could be the head of your household in more than one way. Whatever they are contributing, take note of how they get things done. You can learn a lot from this person.

tarot reading

The King of Cups Upright in a Health Reading

Pulling the King of Cups upright in a health reading is good! You’re doing great at controlling your temper, and that’s great for your heart and blood pressure.

Furthermore, since you process all your emotions in a healthy way, you don’t have residual anxieties or depressions due to trauma you haven’t addressed.

In short, you’re doing great health-wise because you’ve put in the work to become a well-adjusted, emotionally capable adult.

Reversed King of Cups Meaning 

Pulling the King of Cups reversed can mean a couple of things. Similar to The Queen of Pentacles, it can mean that rather than focusing that mastery of element and emotions outwards, the King of Cups in question is focusing it inward. This is a portion of personal growth, and there’s nothing wrong with focusing on yourself to grow emotionally. However, eventually, we do want the King of Cups to be upright for you. The ability to share your power with others is imperative to growth and the cycle of humanity.

The King of Cups reversed can also be negative. It can mean you’re stingy with your mastery of emotions; you refuse to share your experiences to help others grow.

Pulling the King of Cups reversed can also mean you’re selfish, withdrawn, and probably quick to temper. The King of Cups reversed is reactive and overly emotional, quick to snap at anyone who crosses you or makes a mistake. This is not where you want to be. No one wants to be around that person.

Reversed King of Cups in a Love Reading

If you pull the King of Cups in a love reading, it’s not a good thing for you and your partner. This means that one of you is withholding emotions and not vocalizing their true wants or needs. I advise you to open up a dialogue if this is the case. It might be uncomfortable, but you’re not going to get what you need if you don’t ask for it. Your partner isn’t a mind reader.

This card reversed in a love reading could also be that you or your partner is quick to emotional responses. They or you react quickly and rashly without stopping to reflect and decide on how you want to react. This is damaging to any relationship.

If this is you, I encourage you to do work on controlling your emotions and breathing deeply before you react. If this is your partner, it is worth trying to broach the subject with them. If they can’t handle this, then it might be time for you to walk away. You cannot be with someone you can’t discuss difficult things with.

Depending on the cards around the reversed King of Cups for you, this could signify the end of your relationship. Otherwise, it could just be a rough patch.

King of Cups Reversed in a Career and Money Reading


Pulling the King of Cups reversed in a Tarot reading concerning career and money is not great. This card is telling you that your emotional responses and inability to manage your emotions are holding you back at work. You might be overly sensitive; you might be quick to a hot temper; whatever it is, you’re not handling it well. If you can learn to better manage your emotions, you will get the rewards you feel you deserve. People who don’t work well with others rarely move forward.

The King of Cups reversed could also be telling you that because of your poor management of emotions, you’re not earning the money you could be. This makes sense because if you’re not handling your emotions well, you’re not getting promoted and therefore not earning the money you could be earning.

The fact that the King of Cups showed up for you is good, though; you have potential, and you just need to tap into it. Put in some work with those emotions, and you’ll see a positive outcome!

The King of Cups Reversed in a Home and Family Reading

The King of Cups reversed in your Tarot spread about home and family is showing some stress in your home life. You might be walking on eggshells because someone in your home life can’t handle their emotions. This could be tied to you, or it could be that they can’t compartmentalize stress and take out their stress on you. Whatever the reason, it’s not okay.

Take a look at the cards around the King of Cups in this Tarot spread. Are they telling you that it’s time to leave your current home situation?

The King of Cups Reversed in a Health Reading 


The King of Cups reversed in your health reading is a warning sign. You’re not doing a good job at monitoring your stress and emotions. Your blood pressure might be high, your heart could be stressed.

I recommend meditation, deep breathing exercises, and work with a therapist on how to maintain control over your feelings. Once you can master that, you will see an improvement in your health.

You might not be addressing something serious that’s hurting you inside, and that’s damaging too. Burying emotions isn’t healthy; you need to confront your demons before you can tame and release them.

King of Cups FAQs

Question: I pulled the King of Cups reversed, but I’m good with controlling my emotions; what does this mean?

Answer: This could be that the mastery of your own emotions is only something you share with yourself. It’s time to start branching out and using your skill to help others.

Question: The King of Cups is in my Tarot reading, but I don’t feel in control of emotions, and I don’t know anyone who is; what does this mean?

Answer: This person might be coming to you soon to share their wisdom and skill with you. Is the card in your future? If so, they’re definitely on their way. If they’re in your past, you may have missed them somewhere and not utilized their wisdom to grow. Can you get back in touch with someone who fits this description?

Question: Is the King of Cups a man?

Answer: Not necessarily; they just have strong masculine energy. Kings can be women, men, or non-binary people, just like Queens can.

Final Thoughts 

The King of Cups is a huge step in emotional maturity. He invites you to manage your feelings and emotions and to become a stronger, more respected person for it.

The future is bright if you utilize your true potential. The King of Cups appearing to you is telling you to do so.

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