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The Three of Cups in Tarot and How to Read It

Andrea has a background in astrology, Myers Briggs, and pop culture with expertise in relationships and dating.

The Three of Cups is all about friendships. The card is about platonic connections in your life. It represents a social circle; it could be of friends, family, or co-workers.

The Three of Cups is all about friendships. The card is about platonic connections in your life. It represents a social circle; it could be of friends, family, or co-workers.

The Three of Cups in Tarot

The Three of Cups is the card of friendship. Sometimes the suit is called Chalices. The suit represents the element of water, which deals with emotions, relationships, and matters of the heart.

This card is about joyous occasions with friends. It's about getting together and having fun. It's more superficial than the Two of Cups, which is more personal and intimate.

The card is associated with harmony. It can represent a birth: two of the cups represent the parents and one cup represents the baby.

In a reading, the Three of Cups is more likely to be about a birth (or pregnancy) if there are other birth-related cards, like the Empress.

The Three of Cups is associated with celebration. The Three of Cups reminds people of toasts at weddings. Let the wine begin and bring out the roast beef. It's time to party.

The Three of Cups is associated with celebration. The Three of Cups reminds people of toasts at weddings. Let the wine begin and bring out the roast beef. It's time to party.

Card Meaning

The Three of Cups represents groups coming together to accomplish something, maybe for fun or something more emotional. This card indicates that people around you feel a sense of belonging.

Three people may have similar passions. They care about the same things. If they work together on something, it will have positive results. The three of them can nurture any project into being.

This card can also be a signal that you should reach out to an old friend if things have been rough in the past. You can patch up fractured relations. You can find forgiveness in each other's company.

Keep in mind that when the need for support is recognized, it's important that action is taken to give that support. This is something that friends will do. Bad friends run away or are absent when you are struggling.

In the Reversed position, the card indicates isolation from others. You may need to get more involved with your friends or neighbors. Self-reflection is important, and many of us who are busy could benefit from quiet time to ourselves, but you don't want to completely ignore others.

This card will open up questions about how well you're balancing your time with your friends and time for yourself.

Remember the most important verse in the New Testament:

Mark 12:28-31 "One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, 'Of all the commandments, which is the most important?' He replied, 'The most important one is this: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself." All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.'

We can't be expected to fully understand what it means to love God. I think this verse can be non-spiritual. You should love your friends as yourself. This is the golden rule. And in turn, by loving others and putting them first, you are showing an example of what it is to love a higher power. To give respect to the Universe and cosmos.

Other Associations

In the Thoth Tarot deck, the card is called Abundance. It is associated with the second decan of Cancer, ruled by Mercury.

The decans are 36 groups of stars used in ancient Egyptian astronomy. They divide up the 360 degree ecliptic into 36 parts of 10 degrees each. The decans rise consecutively on the horizon daily. The rising of each decan marked the beginning of a new hour of the night for the ancient Egyptians.

The decans were used as a star clock. This first came into use by the 9th or 10th Dynasty, 2100 BC.

When three friends come together with like minded goals, they have the power to accomplish. They are strengthened by each other. Together they can lower human suffering.

When three friends come together with like minded goals, they have the power to accomplish. They are strengthened by each other. Together they can lower human suffering.

Card Alignments

Upright

Celebration, friendship, creativity, collaborations, joy, harmony, constructive socialization, trinity, positive flow, party, togetherness, adoration, kismet, plenty.

Reversed

Independence, self-reflection, alone-time, hermit, too much partying resulting in fatigue, three's a crowd, annoyance, senseless celebrating, out of balance socially.

Description

Three young women dance with each other in a circle. They lift up cups in a toast of joy and celebration. They look like they're dancing at a wedding or another special occasion.

They look to each other with respect, appreciation, and excitement. These are strong friends. They have healthy ties with each other. They like spending time with each other.

These three lift each other up. They are with each other in times of celebration and sorrow. These are friends that will stay together for the long term.

On the ground: flowers, fruits, and a pumpkin. This symbolizes the celebration of an abundant harvest and the goodness of life. The celebration is akin to the wedding party in the Bible where Jesus turns water into wine. It could be seen as the kind of celebration that would take place after Persephone spends six months in the underworld and returns to Earth.

The Three of Cups is about a social circle. When three friends unite, they can collaborate and unify on a particular goal. This card is seen as positive and uplifting. You need the strength and support of your friends.

The Three of Cups is about a social circle. When three friends unite, they can collaborate and unify on a particular goal. This card is seen as positive and uplifting. You need the strength and support of your friends.

Upright Three of Cups

It should be abundantly clear that the Three of Cups is all about friendship. This card indicates that you have a healthy social life and strong friends. This is a great card to appear in a reading.

Where the Two of Cups is about romance, the Three of Cups is about platonic interactions. The Two of Cups is intimate: the people on the card face each other. The Three of Cards is relaxed: the three people give each other space and all face different directions.

The Two of Cups is like a line. The two end points face each other. The Three of Cups is like a circle. Friends give each other space to dance and play.

The Two of Cups is about romance. It's about closing the gap between two points. It becomes indiscernible to identify the two points.

The Three of Cups often comes up for female friends. The card is associated with sisterhood. Even still, this card could come up for three men or people who don't identify as cisgender.

When I see the Three of Cups, I think of bridesmaids. Women can become religious about their friendships. They want to put special meaning into their social connections, they want to nurture their relationships, and they want to support each other.

This card indicates that someone prioritizes their friendships. In their lifetime, friends will be important. They don't want to focus solely on their career track: they want to develop community and work on collaborative projects.

Collaborative Not Competitive

The Three of Cups is associated with collaboration not competition. This water card is peaceful, not aggressive.

Fire and air cards are attack cards in Tarot playing games. Earth and water cards are resource or support cards. The Three of Cups is a support card. It reminds you that you have allies, both friends and family.

A great deal of support will lead to higher levels of success. Celebrate with those who hold you dear; this will be good for your conscious and unconscious. When you have good friends, your mind can rest easy at night. Friendships should be therapeutic.

Meet with Friends

When this card appears in the Upright position, you are encouraged to meet with your closest friends. Talk, laugh, share ideas, and get creative. Some of the happiest times of my life were in my twenties meeting up with like minded people, celebrating life, and not worrying about bills. Those were the golden times. Give yourself space for these kind of golden moments.

The Three of Cups represents a very social period. This could be a wedding, birthday, holiday season, vacation, or reunion. Go to these things and enjoy them. Get fancy, wear the nice makeup, and put on the heels. You should attend formal events.

These times can be ephemeral. Friendship gatherings can be spontaneous. You should rejoice in them because you never know when people have to go their separate ways because of moving, getting a new job, or having to take care of an elderly family member.

You want to be present for these bright and shiny events. These are moments of paradise. They're the way things should be. However, make sure your extravagance doesn't come at a risk to your finances. Don't turn these things into elite events where you put yourself (or others) on a pedestal.

The Three of Cups indicates commonality. You and your friends want to band together. Together you are a creative force to be reckoned with.

Revered Three of Cups

The Reversed Three of Cups encourages you to spend time alone. You may have been partying too much. You might be having trouble discerning what are your own interests vs. the group's interests.

You may have just spent a lot of time with others, like on a two week vacation. You might be struggling to get away and be with your thoughts. You need to attend to your thoughts because if you don't, your mind might become restless.

This card may suggest you're not clicking with your friends right now. This doesn't mean that you and your friends will feel this way forever. Just at the current moment you're not meshing. This can happen because you're growing in different directions or you're getting called to different projects.

The friendship circle is going through a new pattern, essentially. It's best to handle this with grace, so as not to tarnish your friendships. I would encourage seeking time for yourself and giving space to these friendships.

If you feel like things are off with your friends, you are probably right. You have three options: (1) proactively talk about it, (2) get aggressive about it and make things worse, (3) give things adequate space so that people can grow their own ways and have faith that people will eventually reconnect in the future.

You first and foremost want to take care of your friendships on an individual basis. The friendship circle may fall apart, but that doesn't mean you need to be on bad terms with anyone. Friendship circles often fade because people have to do new and different things in their lives. It's hard to maintain a whole friendship circle with high school friends, college friends, co-workers, and even family.

This card indicates that space is a good approach at this time. Friendships should feel natural, so you don't need to force social occasions.

Kindly approach talking to your friends about the friendship circle. These conversations could be emotionally charged. Sometimes they're helpful, sometimes they're not. You really need to think about the social dynamics first before trying to get involved in correcting issues.

You really need patience. Wait things out. If something needs to be addressed, address it. Pick your battles wisely. People don't like drama or someone who constantly complains. Your friends want to be with you because they love you, enjoy your company, and want to be there with you for the highs and lows.

Some friendship circles are more superficial than others. Some circles will only last for a season and that is okay.

This card could also indicate your friendships are evolving. Friendships don't always stay the same. You don't own the friendship nor possess it. You get to be a steward of it. You should be honored by the friendship, don't try to take egotistical control of it.

When you try to take too much control of something you will end up losing it. Turn to grace instead of arrogance. Friendships are a testimony of your ability to grow your conscious. The biggest battle for your conscious is ego; when you have matured more you'll understand where to put your ego in relation to friends and family.

You might also feel like you're in the outer circle rather than the inner circle. You feel more like an acquaintance rather than a cherished friend. In a social circle, we all have different positions. You are likely more valued than you realize, and the best way to feel more cherished is to go through the test of time.

The more people know you and experience you the more they'll treasure you. The more you apply yourself in the circle and show grace the more you will be welcomed. The key is to reign in the ego.

Work Social Circles

If you're in a group, try working independently. Some of the best breakthroughs in work come from alone time, not collaboration. Sometimes having a lot of people in the room can stifle creativity. You need to fight for the space that optimizes your creativity.

Your social group may also have become stagnant. They're closed-minded. They do things a certain way. The flow is off because they're blocking things because of old approaches. They're not keen on innovation or change.

Are you willing to sacrifice your creative abilities for the group? Is it worth it to make those sacrifices?

This card could indicate a parting from a social group. You may feel pulled in such a different way that you need to seek a new job or become self-employed. You're feeling like your thoughts and contributions are not welcome. You somehow are not a good fit. Your growth is taking you in a different direction. If you can accept that and go a separate path, it will likely benefit you.

How do you know if you're a bad fit or your social group is off? Consider the amount of stress you're getting from this group. If you feel really stressed then you likely aren't getting the support you need. If it has to do with work, your managers and you may have different goals.

Before you make a hasty decision to quit or put pause on a social group, take some time to recuperate. Journal out your thoughts and consider the reality of your situation. Maybe in the moment you're too stressed or frustrated to see things clearly. After your decompress, you will likely find clarity.

Too Hedonistic

The Three of Cups can signal overindulgence. You may have gone loco at the party. You may have a drinking problem. You have no impulse control when it comes to peer pressure. You're not doing a good job of sticking up for yourself. When you stick up for yourself, you're investing in your self-care.

The Three of Cups may indicate your social circle dynamics are off. You feel like the third wheel. Your other friends are closer and you feel jealous. Couple with the Seven of Swords and you might have a full blown case of betrayal. The Five of Swords would also indicate tensions with relationships, and too many people trying to do things their way.

If you have the Reversed Three of Cups and the Devil then there is a strong indication that your life has turned hedonistic. You're struggling with self-care. You have no impulse control. You buy whatever you want, you eat whatever you want, and you have little tolerance for consequences. Living this way isn't sustainable.

My suggestions would be to:

  • Get some rest. Your mind needs to decompress.
  • Set boundaries for yourself. Know your limits. Know how many drinks you can have.
  • Try to abstain from things that rile you up.
  • Journal your thoughts.
  • Work with a therapist to get yourself into better mental and social shape.
  • Exercise to counterbalance your hedonistic tendencies.
  • Contribute to charities. Get more involved in volunteering. Don't constantly seek the limelight and partying.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2021 Andrea Lawrence

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