Court Card Thumbnails: The Knight/Prince of Cups

The Minor Arcana: The Knight/Prince of Cups


Air of Water; the Prince of the Chariot of the Waters

Astrological Correspondence:

21° Libra to 20° Scorpio


Golden Dawn “Liber T” (S.L. Mathers):

“He is subtle, crafty and artistic; a fierce nature with calm exterior. Powerful for good or evil, but more attracted by the evil if allied with apparent Power and Wisdom”  (that is, if evil serves his pursuit of power, wisdom and his own aims). If ill dignified, “he is intensely evil and merciless.”

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot (A.E. Waite):

“A graceful dreamer” sometimes exhibiting the “higher graces of the imagination.” “Arrival, approach – sometimes that of a messenger; advances, proposition, demeanour, invitation, incitement.” When reversed, “Trickery, artifice, subtlety, swindling, duplicity, fraud.”

The Book of Thoth (Aleister Crowley):

“The moral characteristics of . . . this card are subtlety, secret violence and craft. He is intensely secret, an artist in all his ways. On the surface, he appears calm and imperturbable, but this is a mask of the most intense passion. He is on the surface susceptible to external influences, but he accepts them only to transmute them to the advantage of his secret designs. He is thus completely without conscience in the ordinary sense of the word, and is therefore usually distrusted by his neighbors. He feels no responsibility to others, and . . . cannot be relied upon to work in harness.”


As a person involved in the situation, the Knight of Cups is someone to keep a close eye on. Superficially, he may seem like a mild-mannered, thoroughly innocuous sort who never has a harsh word to say about anyone (at least to their face). But  he harbors powerful compulsions just beneath that agreeable facade, all the while maintaining a studied composure. He is someone to be trusted only as far as you can see him, and then only if his back isn’t turned toward you. As a Knight he is forward-looking and seldom retraces his steps, although he may second-guess himself in matters of the heart, making him a less than reliable partner. He may be prone to self-indulgence because of his egocentric nature, and more restless than steady in his manner. He always has something to offer, but it might not be what is wanted nor will it come without strings attached.

As an attitude or behavior of the seeker, the Knight of Cups encourages a canny self-restraint, cultivating a “poker face” and never tipping your hand too soon. The “fine art of the bluff” (or the believable half-truth) may be your best friend in the situation. Keep your true feelings close to the vest until the tide changes decisively in your favor.

As an impersonal influence upon one’s life, this card advises staying alert for hidden agendas and “back-room” maneuvers. Something about the situation may not be what it seems. Don’t take the first offer that comes along, hold out for a more equitable one.

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