"... no knight can be brave unless he is in love, love gives the knight his courage." -Lecoy de la Marche, A. La Charre francaise au moyen age
This is one of my favorite art prints. Oh my God, can't you just feel forbidden love's agony? It's called "Meeting on the Turret Stairs" by Pre-Raphaelite artist Fredrick Burton. I'm a sucker for this kind of tragic, uber-romantic codswallop. Sigh. This type of "love" was in fact made an institution in the middle ages: courtly love. A knight would focus his amorous attentions on an unavailable noble lady and seek to win her favor. The affair was often unconsummated, for adultery was viewed with such seriousness that a man could be executed for it. But humans being what we are, I'm sure that little legality didn't stop many. Marriages were often loveless, as they were political and arranged for land and negotiation rather than love. So the emotional outlets were through the practice of courtly love, and, well...emotions are not so easily restrained.
Here enter the Knight of Cups. He is love's passion personified. He is the poet, the dreamer, the great romantic. He may be a sweet-talker but this one actually believes his own drivel. He thrives on it. Roses? Check. Candles? Check. A song written especially for his beloved? Check. He wants to know how you feel and he wants to express his feelings too. This guy not only will go to the chick flick with his date, but rent them himself at the video store. To him, emotions are key to his actions, if he isn't feeling it, he won't do it, or at least not well. He falls in love about every other week, and it's not infatuation for him, it is L-O-V-E. He doesn't seem to understand the ebb and flow of the tides of his own heart, so he doesn't really mean to be so fickle, but as his heart leads there he goes. You might find him in any field of work, but underneath you will find an artist, a lover of literature, music, and film. He dreams big dreams, he lives life passionately, and will sweep the object of his affection off her feet. Problem with foot-sweeping is the fall.
See, being of fire element as a Knight, he may be ripe with passion and energy, impulsive and active, but together with the element of his suit, water, things can get steamy for sure, or all that water just might put the fire out. He is "fire of water" and I'm not quite sure what that is. Wet wood doesn't burn, it just makes a lot of smoke, spits and hisses a lot. Maybe it's much ado about nothing. Basically, if this knight doesn't learn to temper his emotions he finds the fire going out entirely too soon. To him, this is no bother, as he will direct his attention to the next fancy. However, as endearing as he may be, it's hard to get him to actually do anything, much like the unconsummated courtly love affairs of old.
When this knight appears in a reading, he often heralds an ardent romantic admirer. More often than not, this court card usually does represent an actual person who is trying to "court" you in some way and his way of approach is through your emotions. It's a soft sell, but an efficient one, especially if you tend towards the cups inclinations as well. As advice, he often prompts you to consider feelings in the matter, especially your own, but of others as well. He asks you to consider doing what it is you love, what really speaks to your emotional side, and to understand that when you love what you do, you naturally do it well. He also gives a nudge to those who have been admiring someone they fancy from afar and with a knowing wink he says, "Go for it."
Conversely, he could likewise be telling you that you may be apt to lose interest in something or someone too quickly, and to check how deep your emotions in this matter truly go. Because if you are simply caught up in the moment and not truly committed, it won't last. Are you making promises based on something fleeting? Don't. Is your head in the romantic clouds? Come back to earth, please. While being "in love with love" is a wonderful feeling, it can leave the soul unsatisfied when the wanderlust has worn off.
Old English Tarot By Maggie Kneen Published by US Games 1997
Posted by Ginny Hunt at Friday, September 08, 2006