Study of the Marseilles pips 2 of cups summary


Study of the Marseilles pips 2 of cups summery

Posted by Diana on 25-03-2003 15:07:

Okay. To get back now to the 2 of Cups, which is a very unusual card.

If we take the Cups to be the water element, we can see that the number two loves water. The twos here have such a solid base from which to work on. See the large red band on the bottom? That's where the energy is stored from the Ace. Red is the colour of activity, of vigour. Of blood - where all our energy is stored. (All the cups contain red liquid). Passion even. Passion can be dangerous too, if not well tamed. (Red is a masculine colour, but twos are more of a feminine nature - hint at the duality of the number 2). And here the energy is stored at the bottom of the card which provides great stability to the Two Cups.

The Two Cups are placed horizontally. They are not concerned with any duality between Spiritual and Material matters (contrary to the Two of Deniers where they are placed differently). They are reflections of each other. Mirrors. But which is the mirror and which is the reflection? On the one hand, it can be useful to have a mirror in front of us to see who we are. But if we end up by gazing too long in the mirror, we can end up being completely narcissic. (Narcissus spent too much time gazing in the water at his reflection - here we have the Water element again).

The Cups are separated by the stem (blue at the bottom and white at the top - we should perhaps discuss colours more fully at a later stage). We can choose to unite, or to dis-unite. The choice is ours. But that little red flower in the middle of the stem is a reminder that we need not be alone if we choose not to.

As to our two little fishies who are drinking perhaps from what will become the third cup in the 3 of Cups, I will be perfectly honest here - they stump me!

Posted by Rusty Neon on 25-03-2003 20:22:
The fishes
In his book _Le Tarot de Marseille_, Paul Marteau suggests that the two fishies are chimeras (the mythical beasts of Greek mythology and, post-Classically, any mythical beast with parts taken from various animals). He appears to view the chimeras as representing passivity of the spirit coming eventually into manifestion….

… Incidentally, "chimera" has entered ordinary English language to also mean "a fantastic or grostesque product of the imagination" (Oxford Canadian Dictionary).

Chevalier/Gheerbrant's dictionary of symbolism suggests that, synthesizing from Greek mythology, chimeras symbolize "mental pictures drawn from the depths of the unconscious and perhaps representing tendencies so repressed that they become a source of suffering".

On the other hand, Tarot author Alain Bocher, commenting on the Conver 2 of Cups, suggests that the fishes are dolphins.

Personally, in view of the 2 of Cups speaking of duality and Water, I can see the fishes as being the two fishes of the watery sign of Pisces. Astrological keywords for Pisces include Merging, Uniting. As astrologer Gail Fairfield notes, the glyph for Pisces "represents two fish who are connected to each other but swimming in opposite directions." "It symbolizes our connectedness to one another in the vast sea of the Universe."
Posted by Mimers on 25-03-2003 21:15:

2 of CUPS

I really love this card. No pun intended. Look at the little fishys. Wow all that red at the bottom. The passion that every thing this card represents comes from. Even the cups are red inside. Everything is filled with passion! (calm down Mimi) ok, I'm calm. Let's see what springs from this abundance of passion?

Emotions. The blue waters of emotions. The two combined create well, I will call it the love flower. The fish of emotions feed on the neckter of the love flower. Mmmm, sweet. (Mimi, calm down!) Sorry. Are they licking the flower? (Mimi, stop now!)

On a more serious note, I noticed that the base of the cups have yellow with black on either side. The base of both cups are both, well organized is not the word I am looking for. Umm, solid. Black reminds me of something solid. Just an observation.

Posted by Khatruman on 25-03-2003 23:18:
Hmmm, those fishies!!!
….First, I find it interesting that this Two, unlike the other three, is reversable. Actually, this is not entirely true since the traditional company attribution is inscribed in the S pattern of the Two of Coins, but regardless of that, in the very pattern, the 2 of Cups is reversable. I did not attribute any significance to the red bar across the bottom of the card, which is curious because, looking at it now, it is quite significant in the pattern: that large red block across the bottom. I like Diana's observation on the significance of red as the color of blood, activity, passion, etc. Would the medieval/Renaissance belief in the four humours of the body (blood, phlegm, black bile, yellow bile) be relevant here? I know that to be an English understanding, but I am not sure if it would apply to the French, or Italians.

Posted by skytwig on 25-03-2003 23:47:
The first thing i saw, upon viewing the 2 of cups, was a mathematical formula. Cup equals Cup? Or that which equals is somewhere else, behind the formula, relating to the manifestation between the cups. The centerpiece appears to be the polarization between the cups. Like two bodies in gravitational attraction, creating this new life, dynamically different and more intricate.

Are they really fishies or be they beasties? And why do the cup mouths look like the 'fishy' mouths? I like the writings about chimera - sends up all kinds of ideas about creativity and creation. As if love interacting with love yields other worlds altogether. For creativity arises from that wondrous dance of the heart and spirit!!!!!! the base of the flowery thing (between the cups) is blue, indicating communication.......

Posted by Khatruman on 26-03-2003 22:54:
Ok, these fishies, which have been associated with chimaera also, hmmm, I keep coming back to fish, but I also see plant attributes, the red tongues being perhaps like a flowers stamen (ok, botanists, am I naming it right? ) I also get images of fancy fountains, ones I have seen in older cities. Concrete fish from which fountains of water stream out. Perhaps the whole centerpiece is a great fountain, in which case the chalices would receive the water overflow from the fountain, and if the fishheads (uh oh, I hear Umbrae singing in the background *L*) issue forth the water, its supply is drawn from the red pool at the base of the card. That is the source which is sucked up in through the base, pours from the tongued mouths of the fish into the fountain head, then overflows into the cups, or back down to the base. Hmmm, significance? Well, I will work on that.



Posted by ihcoyc on 26-03-2003 23:12:
I see the "fish" on the 2 of Cups, with their prominent foreheads and forethrust lips, as heraldic dolphins. 32-01 and 32-02 are heraldic dolphins, which admittedly don't look much like the genuine article. Here's another heraldic dolphin that looks rather like the one on the Grimaud card.

The dolphin was considered by heraldry writers as the most lordly fish, corresponding to the lion among beasts, and the eagle among birds. This did not make the dolphin as common as the lion or eagle in heraldry, FWIW. Of course, the dolphin is also the emblem of the heir apparent to the throne of France.
Posted by Mimers on 27-03-2003 06:37: (commenting on Diana’s observations)

The red band at the base was the first thing I noticed about this card. It clearly represented passion to me. I also find it interesting Diana's point of it being the stored energy of the Ace. I am looking forward to seeing the Aces now.

References to stability. I didn't see the red band as a base of stability. However I did get that feeling from the cups themselves and the colors of their base. Does anyone own a lava lamp? As the red 'stuff' on the bottom of the lamp heats up, it kind of explodes out of it's form and shoots to the top of the lamp. I saw the blue water coming from the red band as something similar to this.
Posted by Khatruman on 27-03-2003 11:58: (commenting on ihcoyc’s observations)

Ahhhh, now will you look at that!!! It certainly does seem to fit in the scheme of the heraldic dolphin, the curve, the shape.. great find, ihcoyc! I see the correspondence to the lion in his very regal face, in fact I am reminded of a lion when I look at it.

So then, how does this fit with our card? The lordliness, the heir apparent... I am trying to avoid my knowledge of it from later tarot, as being the Love card, but should I? The two merge to create the heir, love as the producing of the heir, the two joining as one, the conception of the next generation, and springing from the well of blood, life.. I haven't looked at the Aces yet, but maybe the inception of the Ace brought into the conception, multiplying...

Posted by skytwig on 27-03-2003 17:37:
2 of CUPS
The red base of the card IS very much symbolic of the red root chakra, from which all life comes. Many humans get stuck in this chakra and do not reach their Higher chakras. as a result, they are caught in addictions, anger, sex, etc.

The two may symbolize our movement away from the self (one) and reaching out to others. Blue means communication and we communicate with others to interact with them. As such, a new creation appears - relationship itself is a creation! Wuhooo!…..

….. The other factor that i love, is the demonstration of Polarity. The interaction of the two cups creating its own gravity or energy that has a life of its own. Wuhoo again!
Posted by skytwig on 27-03-2003 19:10:
I think it's interesting to note that the 2 of cups in the only 2 card that has a base........ and it is sooooo big..... why?

Personally, i believe that Love is the substance of everything. It is a living, creative, constantly creative force. I think it is the elusive stuff physicists keep seeking. It is eternal, so they will keep finding 'more' quarks and quiggles and teeny weeny, huge stuff...... (all depends on ones' perspective)

So, if Love is the source of life, does that somehow play in this depiction of 2 of love (cups)?

Posted by ihcoyc on 27-03-2003 20:28:
Originally posted by Khatruman
I am trying to avoid my knowledge of it from later tarot, as being the Love card, but should I?
It is fairly obvious also that this design produced the caduceus and lion's head in the RWS 2 of Cups, which seems to preserve at least that element of the card.

Posted by Diana on 28-03-2003 14:56:
Indeed, the 2 of Cups is the only card that has any heraldic animal, is ihcoyc pointed out.
Posted by Moongold on 29-03-2003 07:10:
Those two little fish....maybe they are about to make a 3, Diana? Or maybe they have made it and are tending the net er..... nest. I know fish don't have nests but I guess the 2 is about joining with another . Or, if you look at the stand with the fish, on it they are separate but integrated. The fish indicate life, and feeling. There aren't similar symbols in the other cards. Apart from the plants, no sign of life in the others.

Posted by HOLMES on 29-03-2003 17:29:
two of cups.
here is where the symetry ends for there is only one red ground,
it suggest that the emotional peace comes from groundness, and so the ground is red like the root center.
the cups are yellow like the will center mental center rather then compared to the green pinkish chakras one would espect to see here.
it is our will that bring emotional peace through understanding of our selves, not love the message seems to say.
yet the whole plant is blue and it is in the center so peace shall bend our wills emotioanly to harmony.
in the middle is a red skirt, and that exists to show that even in the middle the kindest action will help to bring more peace and harmony. the fish are kind of almost licking the bulb of the plant which is blue like it self which means we can almost achieve it, but only just.
why they are fishes some say it is due to the pisces area, and other say it is because jesus was a fisher of men.
given the era, the two of pentacles will soon change in other moderan card to represent an aquarius energy but here, it will forever remind the fisher of men through harmony and love.

Posted by Aerin on 30-03-2003 11:19:
The fishies on the cups look like they are trying to kiss, or like they are sharing the same delicious treat held in the flower/ cup between them. Are they a flower or a fish? They seem to have leaped out of the red river up to where they are, and the cups have been filled from the river. This definitely looks like a coming together, unlike the swords where things are pushed apart.
Posted by Aerin on 03-04-2003 10:09:
The cups is far gentler, and I think perhaps the energy is flowing past the cups? in the red river?.
Posted by skytwig on 03-04-2003 10:24:
Red River!
Wow, I hadn't seen it as a river until you pointed that out!!! Bespeaks of the Star card, doesn't it? As if we pull passion from the river of Life, or the Passion of life?

I like the idea of flowing, movement, change, continual change, possibilities, always fresh!!!
Posted by wolfen045 on 04-04-2003 01:02:
As for our fishies, according to Barbara Walker (The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets)n, fish are a sexual symbol relating to Venus. since the 2 of cups came to be a card of union of male and female energies, the fish seem appropriate.


More thoughts/questions

WOW, the 2 of Cups sure seams to have been the most intriguing card of the bunch. People had a lot to say. I must say it is very beautiful.

We really got blood out of a stone with this one as it seems all of the questions were answered or perhaps I should say explored.

I would love to see some comments and impressions from jmd as I know he is quite experienced and informed with the Tarot de Marseille (hint hint)



Ohh shucks and thanks Mimers - now the pressure's on! and I was so enjoying reading all these comments everyone makes which only enriches one's own reflections...

A small note just on the twos which has baffled me for some time - and which I'll mention a plausible solution to - but this is all it is. Despite all the written materials about cards, it is (with few exceptions) on the twos that information is written (as mentioned earlier in another thread). The two of coins, of course, usually contains the publisher's details, but the two of cups may also contain details, even as a 'story' (such as on the Vievil deck, upon which the list of Major Arcana cards, 'started' upon the Ace of Coins, is continued on the lower section of the two Cups).

Numerous Marseilles-type decks, then, have this band used for informing the owner of information (usually, again, about the publisher/printer - oft repeated on or from the lemniscated band around the two of Coins).

At one level, it seems that the Aces just do not seem the appropriate place for such information (despite its possibility of usage). Many of the later cards (three onwards) just do not have the sufficient space for clarity of print of such information - which leaves the twos and, specifically, the two of Coins and the two of Cups.

But there is yet another level which the information contained makes symbolic sense for inclusion upon a two.

The 'two', when considered as a number, certainly has a quality of 'balance' - but more importantly, when it is considered following unity (the one/Ace), it has what has already been mentioned: that of reflection. Whereas the two of Coins reflects that which is above upon that which is below (and thus makes it the ideal place for the print-maker to lemniscate his/her name), the two of Cups gifts this now manifested deck onto another, to again reflect the reflection in an act of Love (I have in other threads mentioned that this element of the opening of oneself - through love - is, in my opinion, necessary for the graced act of divine-ation).

That the band has remaind a sometimes solid coloured band below the cups only reminds me that here, one reflects the spiritual which has become manifest.

The band - whether it is plain red (as in the Grimaud) or not (as in, amongst many, the Hadar or the Convers) - it contains a human dimension for reflection (maybe the sanguinity of the red may also be determined to humanise this reflection).

When reading, of course, numerous other aspects may enter...