Tyldwick - Knight of Cups


Here is the Knight of Cups, elementally known as Fire of Water. Two dolphin figurines emphasize his watery nature and the fireplace itself his fire. A clock sits on the mantel, and like some of the other knights, he is driven by a need to get things done before time runs out, leading sometimes to a wonderful spontaneous experience and other times to an impulsive disaster. Yet the white flowers in the vases show his motives are generally pure. The dolphin figures speak to his need to be supportive and encouraging. He likes being the "white knight" that sweeps others off their feet with his kindness and help. The downside to this knight can be seen in the ancient Greek painting displayed in the front of the fireplace. It shows a man mixing water and wine in a krater. In ancient Greece, the water quality wasn't good so alcohol was mixed with it to kill the microbes that might cause sickness. While they enjoyed their wine, it wasn't appropriate for everyone (including children) to drink it all day long to hydrate themselves - they needed water. If they only drank wine, they would be constantly drunk and never get anything accomplished. In the same way, the watery aspect of this knight can put out his fire. He can become "drunk" on emotions, spouting poetry and singing love songs but never actually DOING anything useful. Time to water down his wine cup...



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I think I know the exact vase the motif has been taken from. It's a vase from the Louvre, c. 480 BCE. And the youth is not diluting the wine but offering a libation to the Gods. (Which may well contain wine diluted with water.)

My apologies if I sound pedantic but I'm an art historian and being pedantic about details is a professional disease...


Ah thanks Nemia! I searched high and low for that image and couldn't find it. I appreciate you sharing that. :) His offering to the gods makes sense for this knight, as he is such an idealistic fellow who acts from his heart rather than his head.

Here is a Wikipedia link I found with the image explaining the offering (sorry for those who only speak English, you'll have to use Google translate - it's only in French and Spanish).

and here's an article in English about libations:


Your Tyldwick interpretations and explanations are wonderful (I don't own the deck, don't think I'll ever be able to afford it...) and there is very little I can add. But if I can, I do :)


That original vase image is beautiful, Nemia; thanks for tracking it down! In the context of Tarot it is interesting that the figure is also holding a staff. This may be a subtle reminder of the importance of activity, and avoiding taking your "cups" to excess, as BodhiSeed warned about!