Four of Cups, Four of Hearts, Four of Chalices   

Tarot Minor Arcana

Notes by Michael P. Garofalo, M.S.

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Four of Cups    





A Note about the Tarot Card Images on this Webpage






Meanings, Associations, Correspondences
Four of Cups 


Abundance, good luck, passive success, good news    

Reversals, Negatives, Shadow

Greed, excessive lust, addiction    


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Metaphors, Similes, Clichés, Phrases
Four of Cups

Four days before or after some event involving a change, end, transformation, appearance, etc.
Four weeks before or after ... 
Four months before or after ... 
Four years before or after ...
Four years old
Fourth decade of life 


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Crowley/Harris, Book of Thoth Tarot, 1938-1943
Four of Cups 




In the Thoth Tarot deck, the Two of Cups is titled "Luxury." 

Description:  Seven lotus flowers are shown on this card.  Four of the lotus flowers shower water down into cups.  The surface of the Three Cups are covered with small red berries - pomegranate fruits.  The three Cups are filled bountifully to overflowing and the water seems to drop into circular pools at the bottom of the card.  The three cups are arranged with the apex of the triangle facing upwards.  The upper background is a light grey and the lower background is a darker grey - characteristic of Binah. 

Astrological correspondences: Mercury in Cancer
Qabalah and the  Tree of Life:  The Septiroth of Binah (Understanding)  
Major Arcana: Atu 3 - The Empress; Atu 18, The Moon; Atu 6, The Lovers

Mythical correspondences:  This is the card of Demeter or Ceres, Greco-Roman Mother Goddess of harvest, grains, food, agriculture, seasons, sacred laws, motherly love, and the sanctity of marriage.   Her daughter Persephone, wife of Hades, who lives half the year in the Underworld.  Persephone ate seeds from the pomegranate fruit given to her by Hades and was trapped to live in the Underworld during the darker winter months.  Both Demeter and Persephone are central female deities in the Eleusinuan Mysteries.  These Goddesses represent the fertile and fecund forces of Mother Earth, and coming out from Chthonic realms.  In Neopaganism, the Triple Goddess is known as Maiden, Mother, and Crone; and is linked with phases of the moon.  Mother Durga in Hinduism has depicted with Three Eyes (Triyambake): moon, sun, fire.  In Greek mythology, there are Three Goddesses, collectively called Moirae, that govern the fate of individuals. 

Sexual correspondences:  Cups are associated with the Feminine Principle.  Cups are holders of fluids: water, juices, wine, offerings.  In Left-Hand Sex Magick the Cup might hold sexual fluids.  Cups are linked with the vulva, vagina, womb, Yoni, interior realms.  This card is often associated with fertility or motherhood, e.g., a mother with a son and daughter.   

Triads:  The triangle is a widely used symbol in occult practices.  "Triangle Powers" are often viewed as evil or Satanic by Christian writers, even though many Christians believe in the Trinity of the Godhead - an anathema concept for Islamic theology.  In the Celtic Druid traditions, Triads are wise sayings in three parts.  In Taoism, energy (qi), vitality (jing), and spirit (shen) are three areas for self-cultiviation in Qigong and Tai Chi Chuan; and the Three Realms are earth, human beings, and heaven. 


"These cards are referred to Binah; in each of them is expressed the symbolism of Understanding. The idea has become fertilized; the triangle has been formulated. In each case, the idea is of a certain stability which can never be upset, but from which a child can issue.  The Three of Cups is called the Lord of Abundance. The idea of love has come to fruition; but this is now sufficiently far down the Tree to introduce a very definite differentiation between the suits, which was not previously possible."
-  Aleister Crowley, Book of Thoth, 1944 


"The three, attributed to the stability sephirah, is abundance, the structuring of love, and the infinite variety of opportunities for love. If we define “will” as “the tendency to act in accordance with the preferences of the individual, as defined by his nature,” then in any given situation there is a tendency to act in a particular way. Since that tendency must be a function of love (“love,” as we have defined it above, representing the direction of the will, or its target) then it follows that at each moment there is some object of love to which he can move. This being the case, the individual always has the opportunity to unite, and hence need not be concerned about separation from the objects of his love."
-  Erwin Hessle, Three of Cups 


"For Crowley and the Order of the Golden Dawn (OGD), the Three of Cups represents the energy of Mercury (planet of the mind and communication) in Cancer (a Water sign ruled by the Moon and known for being imaginative, emotional, sensitive, loyal, and moody). Like Book T, Crowley titles the card "Abundance." Hajo Banzhaf and Brigitte Theler (in Keywords for the Crowley Tarot) describe the energy of the card as: "emotional (Cancer) exchange (Mercury), emotional (Cancer) intelligence (Mercury)." On the card, the three cups are adorned with pomegranates, a reference to the myth of Persephone and Demeter and an interesting link to The Empress card (Trump 3) in some decks (not the Thoth). Osiris Snuffin points out color symbolism in the Thoth Three of Cups associated with the Sun (yellow lotuses) and Aries (red cups)."
-   Zanna Starr, Three of Cups 


"The Lord of Abundance is a warm and joyous card, which indicates a rare and precious type of love - a love which, once experienced, reminds us of the richness of shared emotion and commitment.  It is also a card which refers to the wellspring of fertility, whether spiritual or material. Here we see the first seeds sown of a bright and bountiful harvest. Accordingly, the card will sometimes come up to indicate high days of celebration - like weddings or other intimate celebrations of love.  The emotional quality represented by this card is deep and unusual - indicating the love felt not only by lovers, but also the love between close friends, or family. These relationships are gifts, which need to be cared for with great respect and gratitude.  The Lord of Abundance offers one word of warning - this type of love cannot be created, nor engineered. When it occurs in our lives we are lucky and blessed. Some people spend a lifetime looking for such depth of emotion. And sometimes, people try to pretend it exists where it does not. So when you raise this card in a reading be aware that you are fortunate indeed!"
-  Jan Shepard, Angel Path, Three of Cups


"The card is referred to the influence of Mercury in Cancer; this carries further the above thesis. Mercury is the Will or Word of the All-Father; here its influence descends upon the most receptive of the Signs.  At the same time, the combination of these forms of energy brings in the possibility of somewhat mysterious ideas. Binah, the Great Sea, is the Moon in one aspect, but Saturn in another; and Mercury, besides being the Word or Will of the All-One, is the guide of the souls of the Dead. This card requires great subtlety of interpretation.  This card refers to Binah in the suit of Water. This is the card of Demeter or Persephone. The Cups are pomegranates: they are filled bountifully to overflowing from a single lotus, arising from the dark calm sea characteristic of Binah. There is here the fulifilment of the Will of Love in abounding joy. It is the spiritual basis of fertility.  The pomegranate was the fruit which Persephone ate in the realms of Pluto, thereby enabling him to hold her in the lower world, even after the most powerful influence had been brought to bear. The lesson seems to be that the good things of life, although enjoyed, should be distrusted."
-  Aleister Crowley, Book of Thoth, 1944  


"The many yellow lotus flowers are pouring out streams of light golden, emotional energy into the overflowing red pomegranate cups.  Pomegranates are rare fruits that were traditionally associated with riches and royalty in certain countries.  The whole feeling is one of bountiful abundance.  There is also a quality of lightness and playfulness in the red and yellow colours, which shows the fun and celebration that naturally results from abounding heart energy.  The card represents the quality of emotional energy that is light and ebullient, so full and abundant that it can't help but share and communicate with others in a non-serious way.  The yound of any species are most often in this space.  It's the feeling when we can't take anything seriously; everything feels like a party, a game or a celebration.  In a negative sense it can represent the superficial frivolity or social behavior that happens when the personality is use to hide the real."
-    Mangala Billson, Intuitive Tarot, p. 214. 


Three of Cups by Raven   Uses the Crowley deck 

Thoth Deck by Aleister Crowley and Frieda Harris: Bibliography, Resources, Information, Notes 

Encyclopedia Thelemica: Cups from the Crowley/Harris Tarot  

Root of the Powers of Water (Cups) from Book of Thoth by Aleister Crowley

Three of Cups.   By Erwin Hessle.   Uses the Crowley deck 

Works of Aleister Crowley 

Liber 777 by Aleister Crowley  Online version.  PDF version

The Libri of Aleister Crowley.  Full text online. 

The Meanings of Triangles by Avia Venefica

Book of Thoth (Crowley) - Wikipedia 

Book of Thoth  A Short Essay on the Tarot of the Egyptians, Equinox Volume III, No. V, 1944.  Online text. 

Three of Cups by Zanna Starr 

Thelema Texts - Sacred Texts Archive

Symbolism and Significance of the Number Three

Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot.  By Lon Milo DuQuette.  San Francisco, California, Red Wheel, Weiser Books, 2003.  330 pages.  Glossary, notes, bibliography.  ISBN: 1578632765.  This is an outstanding guide to the Thoth Tarot by an expert in the O.T.O. and Golden Dawn systems and a Master Tarot scholar.  VSCL.  Review

Portable Darkness: An Aleister Crowley Reader.  Edited with commentary by Scott Michaelsen.  Foreword by Robert Anton Wilson and Genesis P-Orridge.  New York, Solar Books, 2007, 1989.  Bibliography and recommended reading, 293 pages.  ISBN: 9780971457874.  VSCL. 

The Tarot Handbook: Practical Applications of Ancient Visual Symbols. By Angeles Arrien, 1987, 1997.   Discussion of the Crowley/Harris Thoth Tarot. 

Tarot: Mirror of the Soul: Handbook for the Aleister Crowley Tarot.  By Gerd Ziegler.  San Francisco, California, Red Wheel, Weiser Books, 1988.  Brief glossary of symbols.  192 pages.  ISBN: 0877286833.  VSCL.

Intuitive Tarot: A Tool for Consciousness.  A comprehensive and unique guide for the use of the Aleister Crowley Tarot.  By Mangala Billson.  Cambridge, MA, Perfect Publishers, 2007.  Appendix, 266 pages.  ISBN: 9781905399307.  VSCL. 

The Crowley Tarot.  The Handbook to the Cards by Aleister Crowley and Lady Frieda Harris.  By Akron (C. F. Frey) and Hajo Banzhaf.  Translated from the German by Christine M. Grimm.  Stamford, CT, U.S. Games Systems, Inc., 1995.  222 pages.  ISBN: 0880797150.  I have found this book to be an extremely useful reference tool when doing an analysis of a card.  This is my favorite book on the Thoth Tarot.  Discussion and interpretation of the Crowley-Harris-Thoth Tarot, Two of Cups, Love, p. 143. 

Aleister Crowley Thoth Small Tarot Deck .  80 card deck includes three extra Magnus cards.  A 78 page booklet.  U. S. Games Systems Inc., 1988.  The cards in this deck are 2 3/4" wide and 4 5/16" high.  ISBN: 0880793082.  VSCL. 

The Book of Thoth: A Short Essay on the Tarot of the Egyptians, Being the Equinox Volume III No. V.  By Aleister Crowley, The Master Therion.  A Short Essay on the Tarot of the Egyptians.  Equinox, Volume III, No. V., 1944, 200 copies.  Published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc, 1977.  287 pages.  ISBN: 0913866121. 






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Notes and Quotes
Four of Cups 



"Water symbolizes the emotions due to the bonding quality of water. Take the water, or liquid, out of any substance and it falls to disintegration.  It is therefore these bonds which hold the universe together.  We recognize these bonds, as symbolized through water, as a kind of love which keeps people together.  It is only the bonds which people form that create attachment to people, places and things.  Throughout history water has been used as a symbolic form of binding in many religious ceremonies, especially during the Piscean age and Christianity.  If you look at a traditional Marseille tarot deck Ace of Cups you will notice how similar it is to a baptism font.  The ceremony of pouring water over the babies head, or submersion of the body into water, symbolizes the individual’s bond into the church and its doctrine."
Toni Allen 


"The 3 of Cups is often considered to be a card of "reunions." But this is not always a romantic reunion, alas… it's reunion in the broadest sense, running back into (or meeting with, purposefully) someone or something that you have been away from for some time. It's generally considered to be a happy reunion, an upbeat card.  In general, things should be going well. You can look forward to at least one pleasant reunion with someone or something that you have been apart from for some time. It also can mean celebration – your own or someone that you care about - such as the celebration around a new baby, wedding, or other happy occasion.  This is a great time to consider what you are doing - and perhaps should be doing - to increase your health and vitality. Do you need more exercise? More rest? Think it through, and come up with a game plan. You can do better - if even only slightly - than what you are doing right now.  It may be important now, particularly if you usually attend to your spiritual side in solitude, to reach out to others. This can lead to a spiritual awakening. Think about whether or not you have need of a "spiritual teacher" (in the flesh) and if you do, seek one out! This can be any sort of trusted counselor, not even necessarily someone who identifies as a "spiritual leader.""
-   Psychic Revelation, Three of Cups 


"A fortunate end to a valued project or venture. A birth possibly physical, but may mean the birth of a new project instead. Great happiness as the result of a marriage or a birth. Something coming to fruition that was conceived out of love. A card of abundant fertility, trust harmony, maternity and the healing of ills. Possibly a celebration. Psychic revelation.  Key Words: Growth, celebrations, family gatherings, something conceived out of love that is coming to fruition, romantic activity."
Tarot Lovers  


"Maidens in a garden-ground with cups uplifted, as if pledging one another. Divinatory Meanings: The conclusion of any matter in plenty, perfection and merriment; happy issue, victory, fulfilment, solace, healing, Reversed: Expedition, dispatch, achievement, end. It signifies also the side of excess in physical enjoyment, and the pleasures of the senses."
-  A.E. Waite, Pictorial Key to the Tarot, Three of Cups


"Cups correspond to the element of Water and describe the fluid, feeling level of our existence.   The Cup symbolizes the primordial womb which holds and nurtures the essence of hope, desire, and inspiration.  This suit relates to our ability to flow with and adapt to the undercurrents of life and be attuned to unconscious processes.  Cups may also refer to the emotional milieu of a relationship or strongly held ideas."
-  Kate Warwick-Smith, The Tarot Court Cards, p. 38 


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Bibliography, Links, References 
Four of Cups


Alternative Names of Suit:  Cups, Chalices, Hearts, Vessels, Bowls, Cauldron 

All early Tarot decks call this suit "Chalices", and nearly all modern Tarot decks call this suit "Cups."

The Thoth Tarot titles the Four of Cups as "Luxury." 

The Voyager Tarot titles the Four of Cups as "Anger."      

In a deck of regular playing cards this suit is called "Hearts"


Fours, Minor Arcana, Tarot - Google 

Four of Cups - Tarot - Google 

Four of Cups Images from Bing

Three of Cups Images from Google 

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot.  By Arthur Edward Waite. 1911.  Online Text. 

Three of Cups - Wikipedia 

Symbolism and Significance of the Number Three 

Three of Cups by Leisa ReFalo

The Voyager Tarot: Way of the Great Oracle Book.  By James Wanless, 1989.  Book and Deck.  Discussion and interpretation of the Two of Cups, Equilibrium, pp. 177-179. 

The Celtic Cauldron   A fascinating analysis. 

Three of Cups from the Biddy Tarot

A Description of of the Cards of the (Golden Dawn) Tarot, by Aleister Crowley 

Three of Cups by James Rioux 

3, Three, Number - Wikipedia

Three of Cups by Psychic Revelation 

Two of Cups from Tarotkaartenleggen  

Liber LXXVII, A Description of of the Cards of the Tarot, by Aleister Crowley.

Holy Grail - Wikipedia

Water (Classic Element) - Wikipedia 

Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Book of Tarot.  By Rachel Pollack.  Revised with a New Preface.  San Francisco, California, Weiser Books, 1980, 2007.  Index, bibliogrpahy, 354 pages.  ISBN: 1578634083.  This book uses the Waite-Smith-Rider 1909 Deck for analysis and interpretation.  Discussion and interpretation of the Waite-Smith-Rider Tarot, Two of Cups, pp. 205-206. 

The Twenty-Two Keys of Wisdom: A Study on the Major Arcana of Aleister Crowley's Tarot.  By Lynda I. H. Hughes.  Twickenham, U.K., Athena Press, 2009.  Glossary, appendix, bibliography, 184 pages.  ISBN: 9781847485830.  VSCL. 

Well of Uror, Urdarbrunnr, Well of Fate, Spring at the Roots of Yggdrasil Tree (Tree of Life) 

The Thoth Companion: The Key to the True Symbolic Meaning of the Thoth Tarot.  By Michael Osiris Snuffin.  Llewellyn Publications, 2007.  240 pages.  ISBN: 0738711926.  VSCL. 





Keywords for the Crowley Tarot.  by Hajo Banzhaf and Brigitte Theler, 2001.

The Tarot Handbook: Practical Applications of Ancient Visual Symbols. By Angeles Arrien, 1987, 1997.   Discussion of the Crowley/Harris Thoth Tarot. 

The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals.  By Mary K. Greer, 2002.

Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings.  By Rachel Pollack, 2008. 

Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot.  By Lon Milo Duquette, 2003. 

Learning Ritual Magic.  By John Michael Greer, Earl King, Jr., and Clare Vaughn, 2004. 

Dictionary of the Tarot.  By Bill Butler.  New York, Shocken Book, 1987, 1977.  Glossary, 254 pages.  I first purchased this book in 1978.  I consider it the best Tarot Dictionary and use it frequently.   

Tarot Dictionary and Compendium.  By Jana Riley.  York, Maine, Samuel Weiser, Red Wheel, 1995.  320 pages. 





Jung and Tarot: An Archetypal Journey.  By Sallie Nichols.  Introduction by Laurens van der Post.  York Beach, Maine, Samuel weiser, Inc., 1980.  References, 392 pages.  ISBN: 0877285152.  VSCL.

Portable Magic: Tarot is the Only Tool You Need.  By Donald Tyson.  Woodbury, Minnesota, Llewellyn Publications, 2006.  Index, bibliography, 230 pages.  ISBN: 0738709808.  VSCL. 

Tarot as a Way of Life: A Jungian Approach to the Tarot.  By Karen Hamaker-Zontaq.  Red Wheel, Weiser, 2007.  268 pages.  ISBN: 9780877288787.  VSCL.  

Learning the Tarot: A Tarot Book for Beginners   By Joan Bunning.  Weiser Books, 1998.  320 pages. 






Learning Tarot Reversals.  By Joan Bunning.  Weiser Books, 2003.  192 pages.  ISBN: 9781578632718. 

The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals.  By Mary K. Greer.  Woodbury, Minnesota, Llewellyn Publications, 2002.  288 pages.  ISBN: 1567182852. 

Understanding the Tarot Court.  By Mary K. Greer and Tom Little.  Special topics in Tarot Series.  Woodbury, Minnesota, Llewellyn Publications, 2004.  288 pages.  ISBN: 0738702862.  

The Tarot Court Cards: Archetypal Patterns of Relationship in the Minor Arcana.  By Kate Warwick-Smith.  Destiny Books, 2003.  224 pages.  ISBN: 0892810920.   

The Tarot: Methods, Mastery and More.   By Cynthia E. Giles.  New York, Fireside Book, Simon and Schuster, 1996.  Index, 240 pages.  ISBN: 0684818833. 

Self-Initiation Into the Golden Dawn Tradition: A Complete Curriculum of Study for Both the Solitary Magician and the Working Magical Group.  By Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero.   Llewellyns's Golden Dawn Series.  Woodbury, Minnesota, Llewellyn Publications, 2002. 1st Edition.  792 pages.  ISBN: 1567181368.  Golden Dawn Magical Tarot Deck

Learning Tarot Spreads.  By Joan Bunning.  Weiser Books, 2007.  180 pages.  ISBN: 1578632706.  






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