What’s this Ms Shadowscapes, you think I need to learn more about the Court Cards? I haven’t spent enough time on them lately and you feel I need a little more? Ah, ok, if you think so!!! Today, once again, I drew a Court Card in my daily draw :P. The Knight of Cups to be precise. When I turned him over I was a little frustrated, but then I thought that it was quite appropriate after my night last night. I went out for drinks with a few mates from work and towards the end of the night we were talking about me and my romanticised view of the world. I have to admit, I am a romantic, and often fall into looking at the world through a romantic lens. They were trying to say that perhaps I would be better off if I tried to look at my situation more logically and realise that my idolised wants may be making it harder to find exactly what will make me happy. I didn’t really know what to say to this, for I can’t really do anything about my heart or its power over my thoughts, it’s just so natural for me. I’m a lover. I love love, I live for it! Just like the Knight of Cups. It’s funny because when I first started out studying Tarot I did a few little questionnaires to find which court card best represented me at this stage in my life, and every single one of them came up with around 70% Knight of Cups (with a touch of the Knight of Wands and Queen of Cups). And to be completely truthful I understand why.
The Knight of Cups is the classical ‘Knight in Shining Armour’ off on a quest of love and light, seated upon his white horse of purity and hope. He is absolutely compelled to follow his heart above all else, for good or for ill, looking to his emotions to provide a map for his direction in life. He is someone who follows his heart rather than his head and draws upon his intuition and inner direction rather than thought to make his decisions. He is a romantic and sensitive soul who idealises love and responds so very deeply to life, appreciating beauty in all its forms and understanding both the pain and happiness of others. This can have its downfalls though, as he can be temperamental and over emotional, prone to mood swings, jealousy and melodrama when his feelings and dreams aren’t centred. Also if his emotions aren’t set in action and real life they can often get the better of him and turn into melancholy or depression.
He is also seen as an imaginative dreamer and a visionary in realms of love, emotion and art. What is important to note here however is the difference between imagination and fancy. In Rachel Pollack’s “Seventy Eight Degrees of Wisdom” she says that imagination may lead us to “an awareness of underlying spiritual truth” whereas fancy produces only “fantasies that may excite, but ultimately lack real meaning”. This is definitely a trap that the Knight of Cups can fall into. He could sit for hours upon hours daydreaming about when his prince will come and sweep him off his feet. Or when he will finally get that chance to storm that castle and save his princess from the evil queen.
Above in the Shadowscapes card we see the Knight of Cups in all his glory. Riding through the waves of emotion he spurs his steed on to reach for the grail he sees before him floating just out of reach. He is an idealist in all ways and will never let physical laws stop him from getting where he wants. He does not even think about what may lie beneath the azure depths, and only sees the beauty as it envelopes him. One image I really love in this card is the watery halo around the Knights head. I think this is here to show how his mind is controlled by his emotions, that his heart has the true power over his soul. In this interpretation the more traditional image of a white horse is replaced with that of a Unicorn. Unicorns are seen as the most pure of all beasts, and only those with a purity of heart to match that of the Unicorn can lay a hand upon one, let alone ride upon his back. Here they are companions on an eternal quest for the Golden Grail, which is symbolic of the perfection that he yearns for!
I think it is important to bring up the elemental connections of the Court Cards today, for it really helps to understand this Knight in particular. Knights themselves are linked to Fire, they are committed to action and involvement. But the Knight of Cups is of Water, which symbolises passiveness. This contrast is really difficult for the Knight of Cups to reconcile. Because of Water’s influence it can be easy for him to deny a Fiery commitment to the outside world, which in turn can stop his imagination from producing anything but dreams and fancy. Because of this, things such as action, sex and passion, Fiery qualities in and of themselves, can pull against his thoughts, fantasies and feelings, and disturb his peace. I really like how Rachel links this to a lover who is afraid of, or cannot commit him or herself, who may be seen as attractive, but is “passive, withdrawn and narcissistic”. Without balance between his elements, his desire for love and romance may never actually build into something in reality! I really understand this clash of elements, and feel that it has had an effect on my life at various times, a real pull between Fire and Water!
I think the lack of balance links well to the difference between the Knight and the Queen/King. The Knight is chasing after his dreams, trying to grasp that Grail that is just out of reach. Whereas when you look at the King he holds his Chalice close to his chest, he has become one with all that the Chalice represents. And the Knight storms through the waves with disregard for their dangers, whereas the Queen walks upon the surface with true knowledge of the depths and their power. When the Knight learns to balance his contrasting qualities, he will find much more harmony within himself.
And as for me, well I can definitely see how I am similar to this Knight in some ways, especially the romantic drive and heart before mind style of living. And as I’ve said before I am a lover. Love is very important to me and drives me in many realms of my life. It’s not that I am a love sick puppy or anything like that, and I wouldn’t ever link one person to one court card, for I believe that we are all built from lots of different aspects of these archetypes, but I definitely do feel a lot in common with him. I believe that over this process I have begun to develop more of my other elemental qualities, which is moving me away from an overarching connection to the Knight of Cups and towards a more well balanced person. I know I have a long way to go, but one day I would like to redo those questionnaires, and see a higher percentage of the Queen of Cups. I admire her so :).
So, until next time, live well and keep on searching for that Grail xx