My heart leaps in wonder.
Cold, fresh, deep,
I feel the word 'water'
spelled in my left palm.
-Denise Levertov (b. 1923), U.S. poet.
My friend, Jonna, does not read tarot, but she likes to leaf through my decks and choose her favorite cards. When an image strikes her she puts it to the side. From each and every deck I have shown to her she has pulled out the Ace of Cups. Truly, this is her card. She is deeply emotional, she can't even try to hide it. Her emotions bubble up and out and pour over her whether it be joy or sorrow, anger or love. This Ace is like that. It is a flood, a rush of emotion, usually joyous and loving, but not always. We'd prefer that, I'm sure, that the Ace of Cups is always about love and happiness, but it isn't. Sometimes it's a wave of tears gushing forth from a dammed up river of grief.
The suit of Cups represent the emotions, its element is water, a fitting metaphor for these untameable forces that draw us towards and away from people, things, and experiences. The Ace is a solitary number, though, it represents just one. This Ace is a personal emotional force, the swelling of feelings inside one's soul often in response to something seen or experienced. It doesn't necessarily presage falling in love with another, although certainly one may experience the Ace of Cups in that process. It can, instead, represent attending to one's own emotional wellbeing.
This is one of the most welcome cards in tarot readings. As Martha Stewart would say, "It's a GOOD thing." Once or twice I've seen it come up as an emotional storm, like a temper tantrum, or tears on tap, manipulative crocodile tears, but other, surrounding cards brought about those interpretations. All by itself, it's as welcome as a cool spring on a hot day. Aces are rather dramatic, that must be why I like them so much, drama queen that I can be. They're like the switch turned to the ON position and the volume cranked up. They're like the Enterprise on warp speed, and just like Scotty would protest, "She canny take much more, Captain!" aces have a rather short lifespan. They're bursts of power, in this case an onslaught of emotion, which doesn't last. So it's all about striking when the iron is hot with the Aces.
I've had very long emotional dry spells in my life. Quite unwelcome, but there I was in the emotional desert all the same. I had no tears to shed, no joy either, rather like an emotional flatline. Depression can do this to a person, but so can the tedium of life. Too, a person who is very much an emotional giver can find themselves tapped out, with nary a drop left in their own cup to sustain neither themselves nor anyone else. At these times the Ace of Cups is most welcome and often shows up to advise a time of refilling. You can't keep water in a leaky bucket, so how one goes about taking this advice is to first find where the leaks are. Most of us simply go for the filling station and don't pay attention to the leaks and breaks. What then happens is you come back from your holiday feeling wonderfully refreshed, the spiritual retreat was most enlightening, you're bouncing with newfound energy until about the next day when you wake up and find yourself just as bereft and dry as before you went off. If not more. Wha' happened? And so we go from filling station to filling station and never feel full.
Plug up the leaks. Where are you emotionally broken? Where have you been torn open? Set to mending those places before you head off to the filling station. Wot? You mean this isn't a gift? I have to work for it? No...no, 'tis a gift. But if you can't keep it then how will you use it? And how will it spill over abundantly from a leaky cup? I know I'm making sense here whether you like it or not.
Aces, remember, are all about seeds of change, promise for something yet to come. They are the raw energy of the suit, but as yet unusable in its current form. It's the push of the wave under the surfboard, the white water under the raft. But only with the skill of the surfer and the oars in the hands of the rafter can you navigate the direction and the result. So, bring it on, yes! Let the flood come, hallelujah! It's about time, right? But it can wash over you and recede back into the sea, or you can gather it in a water-tight sandpail and actually use it.
The Druid Craft TarotText by Philip & Stephanie Carr-Gomm Copyright © 2004Illustrations by Will Worthington Copyright © 2004Eddison Saad Editions Copyright © 2004ISBN 1 85906 144 3