The Wild Unknown Tarot - Ace of Cups


Someone mentioned in the Wild Unknown Tarot thread in Tarot Decks (click) that they've been having trouble with the imagery of this card and I have to say, so have I so I decided to sit with it and meditate on it for a while and see what shows up:

Aces are the essence of the suit and they are also the whole of it... One is singular but it's also the whole so an Ace is like a seed - it's the start of the element but it also has the whole of the element's energies within it, waiting, filled with potential.

In most decks the energy of the suit is offered with the Ace, usually by a God-like hand emerging from a cloud, clutching the suit's symbol. The energy is there, offered but it's up to us to grab it and do something with it.

In the Wild Unknown there is no disembodied hand emerging from a cloud. There is just the suit symbol with a bit more symbolism added in.

On the Ace of Cups we see a beautiful goblet - to me it looks like a crystal goblet. The background is shimmery and blue and above and emerging from the goblet is a golden glow. The pattern looks like snake skin or (as someone in the other thread said), a chain-link fence and it's this that has put me off this card at first glance.
With a bit of meditation on it though I'm not seeing chain-link and I'm not seeing snake skin either.. What I'm seeing is a veil of water, a bit like a waterfall and the patterns make me think of one of the qualities of water and that's reflection..

So this is the energy, the pure energy of Water and I think I have to think what that means to me..
Water is so many things; it can be deep, it can be shallow, it can flow or be still, it's more powerful than it looks.
It can represent emotions, the subconscious, the dream world, the unknown (there's so much unexplored and unknown stuff beneath the oceans). It's mysterious and it's not logical - we can't help how we feel. Water reflects - it reflects us and it reflects others. It's cleansing, it washes things clean and it also energises (think of that waterfall and the almost electrical energy that you get when you stand near one).. Water is healing too.

I don't think there's anything particularly deep or confusing about the symbolism of this card in fact the symbolism is really minimal but he card gives a feeling of water washing down over the cup.. The golden glow emanating from it makes me think of healing, as if it comes from 'the source'.

So in a reading I'd say that the energies of the element of Water are there but they need to be used.. This may be the start of something that you need to invest in emotionally.. It may show the need for healing or cleansing or even a good cry... It may mean that the sitter needs to look deeply at themselves, what do they see reflected back at them when they gaze into a pool?

If anyone has any more thoughts I'd love to read them :).


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Some more musings:

I had some more thoughts about this:

As I said earlier, this looks like a veil of water, almost like a waterfall and I'm thinking this could show that when there are so many emotions involved in a situation, it's often difficult to see something clearly.. The water (emotions) distort the view...

I often read the Ace of Cups as an overwhelming amount of feelings or emotions (since most Ace of Cups cards show an overflowing cup) and I think this fits really well with the imagery on this card..


The background to me, looks like a net. What we use to pull things out of the water. The water runs freely through it and returns to the lake, ocean, pool. The cup on the other hand, encloses the water, separates water from water.

I feel like the cup is more solid, not a fragile crystal cup, but a silver goblet. I cannot see through it, to see if the cup is full or empty, whether it is waiting to be filled, or whether it has something for me to drink.

Is the light emanating from the cup, or is light coming down from above, to fill the cup?

Did we just pull the cup out of the ocean, with the net, or are we dipping it in the ocean to fill?


To the back of this card the colour appears to have no form; The colour blue rises to the top of the goblet stem this then turns to a lighter blue as it reach the top of the goblet and spreads out to the edges and top of the card. Central top of goblet is an array of orange green and white. In front of the colour is as I see it, the Spiritual net of life which gives a distorted reflective view of what is depicted behind, looking at it in a distorted view we have a calm blue ocean with a hot burning sun shining down on the sea cause it to vaporise appearing light blue. The Spiritual net of life is made up of diamond (double triangles) shapes; its symbol is suggestive of the journey our souls take as we attain higher understanding. On this path, there will be many labyrinth turns as seen in the angles. However, if we travel the path with honourable hearts, and if we are aware of our actions reflecting in our reality, we will complete our mission of light.

The diamond shape as a connection with the Ingus rune; New beginnings, and fertility. The chalice itself is a symbol of eternal life and immortality, containing magic powers and the Holy Grail. The colours also have their own meaning…


For me the background of the card seems to be the glazier of a gothic window cathedral. I dont know if glazier is ok in english,, sorry. It seems for me that the light of the sun arrives to the cup with his warm colour yellow and gives the cup warm and love, while the rest of the glazier is not yet illuminate by the light and love of the universe, god, or whatever you want to call it.
For me is not a cristal glass as I can not see what is inside the cup, like the misteries of the soul and the universe


Such interesting interpretations! Initially, I saw the background of this card as snakeskin, which for me represents change and transformation. But now I also see the wall of water, as well as the net and stained glass! Beautiful!

To my eye, the golden color seems to be outside of the goblet, not coming from within it, although perhaps it's just a reflective glow from whatever the cup contains.

That said, the goblet looks empty to me, and yet it has this reaching, open quality to it from the long stem to the wide diameter of the brim. It seems to be saying "fill me!"

My sense is that the golden light is pouring into the waiting cup. The cup is surrounded by the serene emotion of the blue water, but the golden light is joyful and uplifting. To me, this card is both one of deep reflection and eager receptivity.


This is really fascinating! I saw the background as fish scales - a shimmering fish that glides by and lets the inner warmth and liveliness of the goblet come alive.

A world under water. Scales and gillies - they belong together and mean that you feel alive in an element that seems unfriendly or threatening to humans.

That was my association...


This is really fascinating! I saw the background as fish scales - a shimmering fish that glides by and lets the inner warmth and liveliness of the goblet come alive.

A world under water. Scales and gillies - they belong together and mean that you feel alive in an element that seems unfriendly or threatening to humans.

That was my association...

YES! Fish scales! That absolutely nails it. Thanks, Nemia!


In addition to receptivity, I also see this card as representing emotional vulnerability. With such a large, wide chalice, almost anything could spill into it, so I see it as saying that it would pay to be cautious about we let in and what we don't.


Funny how we all see different things in the background. I've always seen a sort of mosaic of tiles of sorts. And to me they symbolizes something complex or multifaceted. The complexities of emotions and how sometimes we get stuck on one little piece without seeing the whole picture. That this card urges us to step back and see things in a broader perspective. This of course in relation to the general/traditional meanings of this card.