Three of Cups Meaning: Upright and Reversed

Three of Cups is one of the (traditionally) most popular cards to come up in a Tarot reading. This card from the suit of Cups in Minor Arcana announces celebrations, births, birthdays, happiness and fulfilment. The esoteric ruler of this card is the Lord of Plenty; he conveys the important message to the reader through the Three of Cups.

His message is that you have been overburdened with work and obligations and that the time for festivities, relaxation and celebration has come. The spirits of the Three of Cups card are Undines, and they teach the apprentice about the mysteries and folklore of any Sabbath/festival known to humankind.

Upright and Reversed Keywords

Upright Keywords

  • Celebration
  • Sabbaths (Imbolc, Samhain, Thanksgiving…)
  • Shared happiness
  • Female company
  • Coven gathering
  • Pleasure and satisfaction
  • Enrichment of friendships, teambuilding
  • Excitement and play
  • Fulfilment of sexual fantasies (especially in a female company)
  • Luck and momentum
  • Artistic collaboration
  • Shared success
  • Team effort
  • Spring, fertility
  • Good health
  • Gratitude

Reversed Keywords

  • Exploitation of the environment
  • Exploitation of kindness
  • Wasting resources
  • Problems with addictive substances
  • Overindulgence in alcohol
  • Material pleasures with a less emotional component

Three of Cups

The Lord of Plenty that governs the spirits of the Three of Cups has many irresistible, fun and benevolent Undines at his disposal. Undines are generally very propitious towards humans, and many of them are of an amorous nature.

This card can also indicate a love relationship with someone who has etheric and esoteric properties or lineage. Three of Cups card is perfect for spiritual/occult rituals and workings when you want to invite beneficial and festive energies into your life on a daily basis.

Since the spirits of this card are very benevolent towards humans, you can get your wish easily fulfilled by stating your desire to the card directly, or by writing up your petition on paper and placing it below the red, yellow or white candle in front of the Three of Cups card on your altar.

This card is under the heavy influence of Venus and the element of Water, and as such, it’s very important to remember that Franz Bardon cautioned about many mages’ dooms brought upon the Lady of Love – Venus. In esoteric and occult workings, this card implies that it’s more than possible to realize a love relationship with Fey, but this kind of magical work is not something that is advised to novice mages.

According to the legends and folklore, in a passionate and powerful love relationship between humans and otherworldly beings, something is bound to go awry. Despite the fact that it’s usually the human side that causes problems in such relationships, the outcomes usually end badly. You should keep all of these potential dangers in mind when working with the Three of Cups card because there are those among the Fey kind that are not so benevolent towards humans and they do not care about human fates very much.

However, the Undines of the Three of Cups are very benevolent and kind toward humans; they are neither jealous nor possessive, which is why they represent the female friends, relatives or lovers in a reading who are especially beneficial and honestly happy for the reader when there’s success in the cards.

The Three Graces (Aglaia, Thalia and Euphrosyne) depicted on the Raider Waite’s card, represent splendour, joviality, and good cheer, and are entirely free-spirited. They represent the Water quality that is emotional freedom and liberty to love and be loved by all. This card can also be a representation of polyamory and polyamorous relations.

The Lord of Plenty and Graces ahead of a merry cortege of Undines and Fey maidens – who wouldn’t like to see them in a reading? That’s the Three of Cups for you – Water in its most seductive, merry and free expression! Reversed and overemphasized placement in a reading suggest all possible forms of exaggeration and crapulence.

Symbolism and Imagery of Three of Cups

On the Three of Cups card, we can see three merry ladies dancing with their cups raised in celebration. The colours of the card are cheerful and incite positive emotions when the reader looks at it. The (three) cups are golden representing plenty and bountiful emotions. On the ground, we can see pumpkin, grapes and other fruits representing the season of festivals and merriment.

The three Graces are seen wearing red, yellow and white gowns respectively, representing passion, joy and purity of love and emotion within the card. They have laurels on their heads that are symbols of victory, protection and peace; they also symbolize the favour of the gods and higher spirits that are laying their gifts upon the mortal on this earthly plane.

We also see flowers in this card, which represent joy, success, good things that come to us, good fortune and happy times. One of the ladies on the card is holding grapes. This represents that the liquid in the cups is most likely some form of alcohol (wine), and amplifies the energy of merriment that this card represents.

Upright Three of Cups Meaning

When the Three of Cups shows up in an upright position in a reading, the general vibe is that you need a serious time-out and a time to celebrate your successes, party, and host a celebration in the name of your victory be it a small or a very big one. This card is telling you that you have overburdened yourself with various chores and obligations and that both your mind and your body need to recharge and recuperate, especially if the King of Wands makes an appearance in a reading paired with the Three of Cups.

The time has come for you to surround yourself with the loving energies of those women who you hold dear and who hold you close to their hearts, too. This card also foretells about a festive event in your near future, a birthday party, a baby shower, a wedding or a family gathering for an upcoming Sabbath.

This card could also mean that the time has come for you to make your own Coven, or have a Coven gathering where you’ll enjoy merry times and cast celebratory spells with a lot of seasonal food and wine. This card indicates more than just some merry gathering, it proposes that you should spend some time surrounded by the energy of love and frequency of like-minded individuals who wish you well and prosperity.

Upright Three of Cups Love Meaning

When the Three of Cups makes an upright appearance in a love reading it indicates that you will enter a relationship of a polyamorous genre. It implies that your love bond will be free, “liberal”, and exciting. The pair of you will have some great times ahead, and you will spend most of your time in a good mood and in good sentiment. It often foretells of a happy triad in love relationships.

This card can also indicate that you will attend a cheery gathering where you will meet someone, or stumble upon someone you already know, but haven’t seen in a romantic light before, and you will hit it off. This card indicates an emotional connection with someone who will expand your horizons, test your “waters” and push you to evolve on a soul level.

If you did some magic love work, and you are wondering about the outcome of the spell, this card foretells about an income that is better than you even hoped for. If you were wondering whether you’re on the right “love” track, this card is telling you that you are supported and blessed by higher powers and that you have nothing to doubt or fear, just enjoy the good opportunities and fortune that has befallen you.

Upright Three of Cups Career Meaning

When this card appears in a career reading it indicates that you should embark on a group project, or that you should acquire the help of your coworkers (or friends) with the current workload. The more the merrier is a moto of this reading, and it’s telling you that you will have a lot to celebrate once you (successfully) wrap up the project.

Three of Cups can indicate a teambuilding activity in the future that could involve a trip to a destination where there’s plenty of women and fruits (in solid form or liquid). This is a great omen either way, as it foretells about a successful event that will bring you not only an increase in money but also in status and joy.

Whatever the occasion and in whatever form it presents itself, the Three of Cups is reminding you to give your thanks, whether to your coworkers, teammates, friends or your deities and higher spirits, or all of them together, it doesn’t matter, it only matters that you feel the gratitude in your heart and that you spread your joy around.

Upright Three of Cups Money Meaning

When the Three of Cups show themselves in a money reading, they indicate some influx of money through your relatives, your friends or as a present from a female party. It’s an overall very positive finance card as it shows that money will find its way to you via unobstructed flow and with good blessings. This card also indicates that you did some good deeds that went “unpunished”, and now you are about to receive a bountiful payback from the universe.

Upright, this card also indicates that if you did a money spell – it worked, and a specific amount of money that you requested is finding its way to you, and may you spend it in blessings. The Graces are definitely on your side on this one, and you are going to receive the cosmic help that you petitioned for.

If paired with some good cards such as Ten of Pentacles and Ten of Cups in a reading, then this card indicates that you will gain a lot of money (could be an inheritance) and that you will organize a big celebration in order to share your good luck and fortune with your dearest and closest. If that’s the care – congratulations and may many more blessings find their way to your doorstep!

Reversed Three of Cups Meaning

Three of Cups reverses first and foremost represents the time to be grateful and to say your ‘thanks’ to your loved ones, your ancestors, deities and all those who have supported you throughout your struggles, and still do. The time has come for you to do some solitary work, be it a work project, a study, or an occult practice – whatever the form of work(ing) it takes – you should go at it by your lonesome.

This card when reversed also indicates overindulgence in alcohol or some other addictive substance that lets you escape reality but is harmful in the long run. It can also imply that you are running away from a matter that requires you to approach it with a clear head and objective perspective.

If paired up with Pentacle cards in a reading, Three of Cups reversed implies that you are spending beyond your current means and that you need to check yourself before you wreck yourself in the financial sphere. Reversed, Three of Cups also indicates a short-lived romance that might leave you hanging and wanting in the long run, ask yourself “is the short-lived pleasure worth long-lasting emotional pain”?

Reversed Three of Cups Career Meaning

When the Three of Cups comes up reversed it means that it’s better for you to work solo at the moment. You need some peace and quiet without any distractions in order to complete the task before you, and in order to be able to pour your heart into the work you do. Nothing wrong with going solo, what’s more, some people do their best work when they’re left at it alone.

This card reversed can also indicate a delay in celebratory plans or delay of a teambuilding activity. It could very well point out the Mercury Retrograde, and how it’s going to mess with planning things, so the outcome may come very late or be delayed until Mercury leaves its shadow phase.

Conversely, this card may indicate that there’s gossip at work and that your current work environment is very toxic. The best advice for this situation is not to get involved in all the toxicity, and although you feel as if you’re caught in the crossfire, try not to be reactive and instead continue to present a diplomatic front and approach.

Reversed Three of Cups Money Meaning

When the Three of Cups shows up reversed in a money reading it implies that you are overspending without a care and a future plan and that you might find yourself financially stuck in the near future if you are not more careful with your money. It also indicates that you are spending too much on your friends who are not feeding your healthy habits.

Beware of being financially used by people who pretend to be your friends when this card shows up reversed. For it indicates that you are being left on the sidelines while others enjoy spending your hard-earned money; it’s great to be generous and giving, but it’s not so great being misused and played as a fool.

Reversed, this card shows that you are spending your money on booze and substances that are not promoting your growth, nor are they helping you with your productivity. If you’re an artist or a freelancer who has “peculiar” creativity practices, beware of substance abuse that years no creative or productive results career-wise. It’s a clear sign to stop indulging yourself and start working on your productivity. Say “no” to procrastination.


The Three of Cups is an overall positive and joyous card, it doesn’t have explicitly negative sides or meanings, but if you still have some questions, do check out the FAQs provided for your leisure below.

Question: Is the Three of Cups a Yes or No Card?

Answer: it’s a definite “yes” card, both upside and reversed. The only downside is that if it’s reversed it’s implying that your happiness and joy will be short-lived with some emotional baggage to deal with in the long run.

Question: What Does the Three of Cups Indicate in a Future Position?

Answer: if upright, it indicates a joyous gathering and a merry opportunity where you will recharge your batteries, have a lot of fun, sexual pleasures and be in a loving atmosphere surrounded by a circle of friends (or family), who wish you well and want to share in your success with pure intentions and hearts.

If reversed, watch out for those who pretend to wish you well and gossip about you behind your back. Take better care of your money and beware of a third person trying to come between you and your love interest.

Question: What Does the Three of Cups Mean in a Past Position?

Answer: it means that good times are behind you and that the time for merriment has passed, the time for solemn approach and giving thanks has come.

Continue reading more tarot meaning guides from the suit of cups:

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