“Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon.” – Winnie the Pooh
The 3 of Cups appears in a reading when we are living in a state of joy and pleasure. It is the celebration card. If the Ace of Cups is the seed, and the 2 of Cups is the bud, the 3 of Cups is the blossom. Aleister Crowley titled it “Abundance” and stated it was: “The fulfillment of Will of Love in abounding joy. It is the spiritual basis of fertility.”
In this card, we see pomegranates adorning three cups. The pomegranates represent Persephone, the goddess of the underworld and wife of Hades, the god of the underworld. These are symbolic of marriage, fertility, abundance, and rebirth.
In the myth of Persephone, Hades was madly in love with her and wanted her as his wife, so he tricked her into eating six pomegranate seeds. She didn’t realize that for each pomegranate seed eaten, she would have to spend one month a year in the underworld with Hades.
According to the legend, she lived with Hades as his wife for six months out of the year, and stayed with her mother, Demeter, goddess of the earth, for the other half of the year. Crowley, the true pessimist, gives us a subtle warning with this card that emotional fulfillment may have a shadow side to it: All that glitters is not gold. He states: “The good things in life, although enjoyed, should be distrusted.” Talk about a buzzkill!
In the Thoth 3 of Cups, eight golden lotus flowers are displayed. Lotus blossoms symbolize rebirth, regeneration, and reincarnation. Lotus flowers grow from muddy water. During the day, they open to allow the rays of the sun to give them life. In the evening, they close as the moonlight shines upon them in their deep slumber. Every morning, they are brought back to life by the sun.
The three chalices may represent specific people, emotions, or situations where we experience good times. It may show up in a reading as a girls’ night out, a party, a first date, a committed relationship, or as a message that we need to experience more joy in our lives. It’s the card that tells us not to take life too seriously and to have a little fun. Life is to be enjoyed to the fullest.
In regards to a relationship, after much analyzing and introspection, I’ve realized that the 3 of Cups may represent the two people in the relationship and the separate entity that is the relationship itself. Two people create the relationship. The relationship is their baby, in a sense.
Through their effort, they make the relationship into whatever they choose it to be. It requires both of them to make the union work. Each person must put in the same amount of effort as the other for it to be balanced. All three cups must be flowing with equal amounts of water, otherwise there’s going to be an imbalance in the relationship. Since each chalice is overflowing with water (emotion/love), it may be a message that for a relationship to truly last, each person must love himself/herself first.
It corresponds astrologically to Mercury in the 2nd Decan of Cancer. In the Quabalah Tree of Life, it is Binah through Water.