The Ace of Cups
The Ace of Cups

The Ace of Cups

the ace of cups in the tarot

The cups suit takes us to the realm of emotions, intuition and dreams. The Aces are about new beginnings and what the coming cycle springs from.

If we match the four aces to the four cardinal signs in astrology, the ace of cups corresponds to Cancer, the sign of the summer solstice.

Among the cups, there are nine cards where the goblet is held in hand. Seven has it grabbed purposefully, to be drunk from or used in some practical way.


The chalice also appears on two major arcana: the Temperance and the Magician. On the Temperance, like on the seven cards of the cup suit, the goblets are grabbed firmly and are used for a certain purpose. The Magician has it on his table, as he does with all the suits (the coin, the sword and the rod).

Now look at how Mary is holding the infant in orthodox iconography and compare it with the position of the hand on the ace of cups.

Here the chalice is held in a different way than on the rest of the cards (except one). It is standing on the palm, with the thumb raised and crossed on the foot.

ace of cups - mundus volubilis

The water below is the water of life, where everything grows and flourishes: an obvious connection with the Holy Grail. According to Catholic tradition, the Virgin Mary ascended to heaven by the grace of (the male) God. Here we see the M of the Marian cross inverted, the cross equal-armed and the dove diving.

And there is only one other card where the chalice is held in a similar way, standing on the palm: the Queen of Cups. Hers is a very special vessel that does not appear anywhere else in the deck…

The Sacred Feminine is returning from the sky to her own domain, out of her own will.


When the Ace of cups appears in a reading, think of the womb, an embryo growing, or seeds waiting for spring in the dark soil. Something has started, it is alive within you, you have to let it grow and manifest when it is ready to.

Suggested reading

It’s interesting to have a look at how the symbols of the Ace develop in the Two of Cups. The single chalice multiplies into two goblets. The disembodied hand from the clouds changes into those of a man and a woman. The dove turns into a winged lion. The waffle with the cross becomes the caduceus. The lake with the lotuses is now a meadow with a family home in the distance. Read now

Scroll Up