(i) Prince of Cups Video
Prince of Cups : My YouTube video can be accessed by clicking on the photo below :
(ii) Thoth Prince of Cups
The Prince of Cups appears naked apart from his helmet which has the crest of an eagle. He is seated on a shell-like chariot drawn by the Eagle of Scorpio. He rides over a lake of water and holds a cup in his left hand from which a serpent emerges and an inverted lotus in the right hand. The lake is calm but heavy rain falls on it according to Crowley (p158 Book of Thoth)
The importance of Scorpio as a spiritual sign can be shown in the following photograph of a church window in France:
Mary surrounded by the four signs Aquarius, Scorpio, Leo,Taurus.
The Eagle soars and has a great perspective on Life. The importance of the Eagle can be shown in the Church window below as this astrological sign is linked to St John of the Bible.
(iii) Prince of Cups : Sub Elements
The Prince of Cups rules the Airy part of Water.Following elemental dignity rules Water and Air strengthen each other but are neutral, so there are no elemental contradictions in his make up. However in the Prince of Cups they combine with the energies of Scorpio to make him quite an intense character. As an agitated stream flows, so does the Prince of Cups, trying to get the most out of life possible.
(iv) Tetragrammaton and the Prince of Cups
The Princes represent the Vau part of the tetragrammaton and are the product of the union of Yodh and He Primal or the Knight and Queen respectively. They are therefore shown to be a hybrid of the two, having both the stability of the Queen through the fixed chariot, and the activity and movement of the knight through the forces moving the chariot. His actions are therefore more enduring than the Knight but less so than the Queen.
(v) Prince of Cups & The Tree of Life
The Princes are found in the sixth sephiroth, Tiphareth in the middle of the Tree of Life which represents harmony and balance after we have had the experiences of the opposite forces of the Pillar of Severity and the Pillar of Mercy. Tiphareth is Kether but on a lower vibration and Yesod but on a higher vibration. It is the child emanating from Kether above, but from the lower planes it is like the ruler of the skies. This sephiroth is also associated with ‘beauty’.
The Prince of Cups, representing the element of Water would be found in the first world of Briah shown on the diagram above, right.
The Prince of Cups connections between spirit (Kether) and earth (Malkuth) which can be represented by tantric sex, and communication with another physically exploring all that is, both light and dark. He does not hide away from life.
(vi) Astrology of the Prince of Cups
He rules from the 21st degree of Libra to the 20th degree of Scorpio as shown in the diagram below:
From the diagram it can be seen that the Prince of Cups rules the 4 of Swords in the last decan of Libra, along with the 5 and 6 of Cups in Scorpio. The Prince of Cups is 2/3rds Scorpio, 1/3rd Libra
An explanation of the card in terms of the astrology can be found in an article below from which I have quoted here:
“The ability to detach as Libra is an air sign from the heavy, intense, obsessive, controlling emotions of SCORPIO.The card shows control and poise of the mind and of the emotions. Vigilance is necessary. The downside is going too much in the other direction and being afraid to really feel and open up and love. Many people do this acting cool and detached and untouchable but it’s all a false front for fear and insecurity. Usually the Feminine asks the Masculine to go deeper in his feelings to join her in the crucible, the Grail, where the 2 meet as one in relationship.” (Tara Greene)
So astrologically Libra and Scorpio are not the best of mixes, with the air sign Libra trying to control the water sign Scorpio. The masculine energies of Mars and the Sun in Scorpio give rise to his aggressive, ambitious personality.
(vi) Symbology of the Prince of Cups
There are two of the three symbols for Scorpio which are discussed at length in the Death Card, namely the serpent and the Eagle. The Scorpion is the one that is absent. Crowley describes the latter as the most mysterious as it is the closest to the death process.
Chariot over water = shaped like a seashell, it does not touch the water but drives over it in the air so not engaging in his emotions to the extent they hold him back in life. This implies also a secretive nature who will not allows us to see his depth and what lies under the water. He wants to always move forward with his life.
Left hand = hold the reins which control the eagle. They are black which implies the putrefaction (decay) associated with Scorpio. We will speak more about this when we get to the death card which is associated with decay and transformation.
Right Hand = inverted lotus blossom (symbolic of water) is inverted. This implies that he holds his emotions and intuition as less important than his intellect.
Cup with Coiling serpent = Serpent is also a symbol of Mercury and the intellect. He looks at this giving it his favour over the lotus blossom.
Number 8 = occurs in the feather groupings of the Eagle, and of the vaporous wings at the back of the card. Eight represents the eighth sephira , Hod which is associated with the intellect.
Despite this being a water card we have a lot of air associated with it. This give the card its volatility since air and water can produce quite intense weather ! We have much air combined with the depth of Scorpio giving him a very intense nature.
The Eagle is the highest expression of Scorpio, hinting at spiritual liberation, but this has not been done, he has not moved through the 21 major trumps, but it does mean that he has much potential within him.
The apostles were represented by the 4 fixed signs of the astrological zodiac, prior to the church removing this association. In early pictures for instance John The Baptist, who baptised by Water was associated with the Eagle as shown in the picture below:
although Crowley refers to the eagle as being “the least important part of his nature” (p,158, BOT)
Looking at the snake, he favours life and goal getting over the love that the lotus blossom brings. He has to learn to integrate the two to fulfil his potential.
(viii) Minor Arcana Cards Ruled by Prince of Cups
4 of Swords (Truce)
This card represents a period of rest and healing that is necessary usually after a period of trauma in someone’s life. This period acts as time when we can gather our strength once again to move on to a more productive phase later on. If we don’t use this time wisely then we could end up in a repeat cycle as before. In the Prince of Cups it comes about when he is exhausted from oscillating between periods of passion and loss as presented by the two cards under the sign of Scorpio.
5 of Cups (Disappointment)
This card often appears when our expectations have been unfulfilled, either our own or somebody elses. It leaves a feeling of sadness and disappointment so we must look at whether we have set realistic goals. We must be careful not to shut ourselves away and stop trying to move our lives forward after this episode. In the Prince of Cups it represents one of those times when, in his full on pursuit of life on the edge, he experiences loss which is inevitable.
6 of Cups (Pleasure)
This card brings the potential of balance and harmony to Prince of Cups. There is an intensity to the six of cups which resonates with the intensity of Scorpio which rules this card. It adds an emotional depth to a sexual relationship, giving it intensity. This characterises the relationships of Prince of Cups. It is his goal and this is what makes him happiest. It does not just represent sexual fulfilment, but getting the most out of life by living it to the full using the energy of the Sun in the intense sign of Scorpio.
(ix) I Ching & The Prince of Cups
The Prince of Cups is associated with 61st hexagram CHUNG FU as is illustrated below :
This Hexagram is referred to as INSIGHT or (INNER TRUTH), which results from applying our inner strength to the situation at hand. We must allow the forces of the situation to fully act upon us and therefore we should be yielding in our nature. In this process we become one with our surroundings, beyond pure observation so that we may know things are they truly are without prejudice.Our friendships and relationships are based on higher truths rather than just idle conversation.
The upper trigram SUN is called ‘penetrating efforts’ and is enhanced by the lower trigram TUI or ‘openness’. Thus an open attitude achieves INSIGHT through our ability to see things as they really are well beyond the discrimination of the mind. Scorpios are INTENSE !
(x) Divinatory Meanings of the Prince of Cups
Prince of Cups Upright
On the surface may appear calm but this masks a passion and intensity about him which can make him volatile.
Has much to give, immense abilities but cannot be relied upon (remember he is not really an integrated whole).
His main responsibility is to himself and not to others.
“To such people good will, sincerity, and right mating are the essentials of success; their danger is overwhelming ambition” (BOT, p.158-159)
Can be secretive, hiding their deepest desires. Can be creative often in arts or music.
Can readily identify with the ups and downs in life and can use their intuition (when they want to) to shed insight into others people’s lives, as they have a full immersion in life themselves.
Prince of Cups Reversed
At his worst cruel, reckless and selfish
(xi) Celtic Cross Interpretation of the Prince of Cups
2 : Possible obstacle = need to come from your highest good and mix with
3 : Unconscious Influences = ambition taking preference over really knowing yourself
4 : Recent Past = periods of extreme highs and lows
5 : Hopes and goals = to feel more turned on by life and excited to be alive. Know yourself better and be more balanced
6 : Short Term Future = could be intense emotionally, mentally, may need time out from these extremes
7 : Our Self Image = secretive, hide a volatility under a calm exterior. Ambitious, go with the flow of life.
8 : Environment = someone close who is ambitious, can be cruel and selfish
9 : Guidance & Warning = need to be more in touch with your depth and not let ambition dominate you. Your friends and those you mix with are very important in guiding you to a more balanced life
10 : Overall Outcome = Has to be good as we are talking about an Eagle that soars ! You will have a much greater perspective on life-like the eagle but at what cost ? You may have had lots of extreme highs and lows to get there and yet your potential is ever-present to be highly evolved spiritually ( as represented by the association with John the Baptist discussed above).